Bette Davis is an English nanny whose charge is 10-year-old Joey (William Dix), just released from a home for disturbed children where he\'d spent two years undergoing treatment for drowning his little sister in the bath. Shortly after his arrival home, suspicion arouses again when his mother (Wendy Craig) is poisoned. But Joey continues to insist Nanny is responsible, just as she was with the death of his little sister, with only a neighboring friend (Pamela Franklin) believing the young boy.
Bette Davis ... The nanny
Wendy Craig ... Virginia \'Virgie\' Fane
Jill Bennett ... Aunt Pen
James Villiers ... Bill Fane, Queen\'s Messenger
William Dix ... Joey Fane
Pamela Franklin ... Bobbie Medman
Jack Watling ... Dr. Medman, Fane\'s Upstairs Neighbor
Maurice Denham ... Dr. Beamaster
Alfred Burke ... Dr. Wills, Attended Nanny\'s daughter
Harry Fowler ... Milkman
Angharad Aubrey ... Susy Fane, Dead daughter in flashback scenes
Nora Gordon ... Mrs. Griggs, School Matron
Sandra Power ... Sarah
So many people associate Wendy Craig with comedy roles only; many are either too young, or simply don\'t remember that she played along side such diverse actors and Hollywood Greats as Dirke Bogarde and Bette Davis. In this - probably her greatest Movie, she gives an award-winning performance as the neurotic wife of a Queen\'s Messenger with a disturbed ten year old son.
This Movie could not go wrong with such a strong cast which included so many familiar greats as; Maurice Denham, Pamela Franklin and Jill Bennett to just mention one or two of them. Each actor gives their best in this gripping thriller from the outset. This Movie is not least made so great by no less than three wonderful child stars of the time - a feat that cannot be matched today, partly due to the fact that the age of the traditional Child Star has long left us... Angharad Aubrey, who plays the little dead girl Suzy in flashbacks is exceptionally talented at such a tender age, and surprisingly is never seen in Movies ever again. Not so surprising I suppose, when one considers that William Dix who plays Joey disappeared just a couple of years later, along with the famous Pamela Franklin who vanished from the Silver Screen never to return in 1976...
This Movie was difficult to get hold of when on Video release, and has only ever been done on DVD as a \'double\' feature release with \'The Blue Lamp\' which was a cheap and nasty way of issuing any Great British Classics.
I think the least one is told about this film, the better. The Viewer is best kept completely in the dark in order to enjoy it at its best. It\'s certainly a Movie I\'ve savoured in my collection; having viewed it no less than thirty times to date, and still not tired!
There\'s nothing worse than an American attempting an English accent, or the other way round if not truly accomplished, but here, Bette Davis surpasses herself when she acts and sounds truly British. One ought to note that it is far more difficult to \'drop\' an American accent, than it ever is to pick one up. Even the smaller parts are taken by well-known actors such as Alfred Burke and Harry Fowler.
Jill Bennett thoroughly enjoys herself in her dramatic role as the sickly sister; she always said that her idea of heaven was forever rehearsing - what a time she must have had here! Think about that one when you watch her in The Nanny!
Frankly, this movie surprised me. That\'s because apart from Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Davis\' career was definitely in the dumps by the 1960s and never really extricated itself from 2nd (or 3rd)-rate status. She obviously loved acting and reportedly needed the money, so Ms. Davis appeared in a dreadful string of movies that were frankly beneath her abilities. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this little movie was as good as it was--with excellent acting and writing throughout--and a generous helping of creepiness thrown in to boot. As I said, this is a \"little\" film as its only real star is Davis and it just shows that a small budget does not mean the movie is second-rate.
The story involves a nanny who had worked in a home with two kids. Tragedy struck when one of the children accidentally drowns. The story begins some time after, when the surviving child is now terrified of being around the nanny alone.
Having just revisited this movie after quite a number of years I must insist that it rocket immediately into the higher echelon of my favourite movies. It deserves to be up there with Peeping Tom and The Innocents, it\'s such a fine psychological horror/drama.
Bette Davis gives the greatest performance of her career without any of the eye-rolling or razor-sharp dialogue that we\'ve become accustomed to (and that is always thoroughly enjoyable) as she plays the titular character, an elderly woman locked in a battle of wills with a small boy named Joe. Joe has been away from home for two years, after his younger sister tragically died in the household bathtub, and returns with the same bad attitude he went away with. He blames everything on The Nanny and sets out to remove her power at every turn.
What is the reality of the situation? An evil young lad forcing an elderly woman to squirm under his fist or a manipulative old woman doing her best to silence her young charge? The movie is impressively ambiguous for the first hour or so until we get to a finale that manages to shock, disturb and churn a stomach more effectively than many of the most modern releases.
An incredibly brave, complex psychological horror, this movie unsettles in almost every scene, whether it\'s due to the behaviour of an unruly child or watching a sad mother revert to a state more childish than her own son. The supporting cast are solid but this really boils down to an amazing two-hander between a petulant child and . . . for the love of God . . . BETTE DAVIS! Hard to believe that this movie was released by \"the studio that dripped blood\" and even harder to believe that many people may be unfamiliar with it. Classic.