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Our Mother's House

Our Mother's House
Mark Lester

Mark Lester

Screen Time: 60%
Role: Jiminee Hook
Age: 7 years old
Pamela Franklin

Pamela Franklin

Screen Time: 70%
Role: Diana Hook
Age: 15 years old
Margaret Brooks

Margaret Brooks

Screen Time: 85%
Role: Elsa Hook
Age: 13 years old
Louis Sheldon Williams

Louis Sheldon Williams

Screen Time: 70%
Role: Hubert Hook
Age: 15 years old
Phoebe Nicholls

Phoebe Nicholls

Screen Time: 70%
Role: Gerty Hook
Age: 7 years old
Gustav Henry

Gustav Henry

Screen Time: 60%
Role: Willy Hook
Age: 5 years old
John Gugolka

John Gugolka

Screen Time: 65%
Role: Dunstan Hook
Age: 12 years old

 

Our Mother's House

1966
Rating: 8 (3 votes)
Directed: Jack Clayton
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Thriller
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062089

Summary

Dirk Bogarde is a no-good rotter who returns to his family after several years' absence. Only his seven children are present to greet Bogarde as he enters his shabby London home, and they're somewhat vague as to the whereabouts of the mother. What Bogarde doesn't know is that his wife had died some time ago. The kids (including future stars Pamela Franklin and Mark Lester) decided amongst themselves that they didn't want to be broken up and sent to orphanages; thus, they secretly buried their mother and went on about their business, pretending that mom was still alive. Money-hungry Bogarde threatens this cozy set-up, leaving the children little recourse but to prepare a second grave.

Movie Reviews

This is, I suppose, a thriller. It is set in a bleak old Gothic mansion, and it has dead bodies and communication with the spirit world and all that. But it is a ghost story without ghosts: the best kind. And the spirits speak only in the minds of the children. In the end, nothing supernatural can match the horror that the kids find in their own, real, everyday world.

The house in inhabited by seven more or less typical British kids and their dying mother. She has turned to a fanatic religious fundamentalism, refuses the care of a doctor and gets the kids hung up on morbid theories of guilt and punishment before she dies. To escape the orphanage, the children decide to keep her death a secret, and after they bury her in the garden, they hold gloomy seances. All this is in contrast to the ordinary activities of their daytimes, when they go to school, buy groceries and succeed in cashing a forged check.

The kids develop into very believable personalities, especially Elsa (Margaret Brooks) and Diana (Pamela Franklin). There is also a very small and curly-headed little brother (Gustav Henry) who somehow manages to be appealing and precocious without overdoing it. The other four children are also splendidly cast.

Then their father (Dirk Bogarde) turns up and helps them continue the deception. He seems to be an appealing rogue, and the kids mostly like him until they get to know him better. Then things start to close in, the guilt and punishment complex starts to operate and the movie becomes one of the most suspenseful of recent years. It isn't phony "who goes there?" suspense but suspense based on real personalities trapped in an impossible situation.

Clayton, whose credits include "Room at the Top," "The Pumpkin Eater" and "The Innocents" directs with firm restraint. Bogarde turns in a competent performance not quite up to his best, but it really isn't his picture anyway. It belongs to the kids, and they are very real kids.