Thursday, January 27, 2011
THE NANNY (1965)
THE NANNY (1965). Director: Seth Holt. Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.
A ten-year-old boy, Joey Fane (William Dix), suspected of being responsible for the drowning death of his younger sister, comes home from an institution and gets into a battle of wits with the middle-aged nanny (Bette Davis, pictured) -- in the process testing the patience of his stern father (James Villiers) and fragile, emotionally-devastated mother (Wendy Craig). But does his hatred of the nanny perhaps have a basis in reality? This very suspenseful movie keeps you guessing nearly until the end, and Davis' excellent performance [for once her latter-day affected style works to her advantage] doesn't give it away. Little Dix, a remarkably confident and talented child actor, is more than a match for Davis, and the other performances, including that of Jill Bennett as his aunt with a weak heart, are all very effective. Pamela Franklin is also good as a young upstairs neighbor who wonders if it's nanny or little Joey who's nuts. Very interesting story with a moving finale. Dix later appeared in Doctor Doolittle but his career did not continue into adulthood.
Verdict: One of Hammer studios' best pictures. ***1/2.