Monday, July 26, 2010

creepiest willow

Martin Scorsese says The Innocents, 1961, is one of top 11 scariest horror films of all time. It's based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Directed and produced by Jack Clayton, it stars Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins. It did not do well at the box office at the time, but since then, critics call it one of the best psychological thrillers ever made, and it has received much praise and even cult status over the years. The dark, atmospheric film uses lighting, music, and direction for its effect rather than gore and shock factor.

So, why am I posting on this particular movie? Because it features one of the creepiest willow songs ever. "O Willow Waly", written by Georges Auric and Paul Dehn and sung on the soundtrack by Isla Cameron, was released in the UK following the film, on a Decca single in March, 1962. Simple and chilling, it's one of those earworms that haunts you for days afterwards.

If you're wondering what in the world "waly" means, I had to look it up, as well.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913.
(interj.) An exclamation of grief.


We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow.
But now alone I lie and weep beside the tree.

Singing "Oh willow waly" by the tree that weeps with me.
Singing "Oh willow waly" till my lover return to me.

We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow.
A broken heart have I. Oh willow I die, oh willow I die.

59 comments:

  1. Oh my, major creep factor. I put the movie in my queue but after listening to that song, I'm not so sure I want to watch the movie. I loved the thrillers when I was younger but not so much anymore. Love your new cigar smokin' mamas!

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  2. Do I detect a likeness in appearance between the Willow at Manor with Deborah Kerr? Great movie tip.

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  3. It's my favourite Willow song. And a darn good film.

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  4. Yikes! That is truly eerie. And yet I like it a lot :)

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  5. The movie really is deliciously creepy without a lot of graphic gore.

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  6. What a lovely little song, beautifully sung. Not creepy as it is here.
    I daresay in the context of the film it is.

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  7. That song is so chilling, Willow. I got my shivers down my spine listening to it. "The Innocents" sounds like a truly terrifyingly brilliant movie...I must watch it some time :)

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  8. oh i do like it creepy...occassionally...nice choice...

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  9. In australia a Waly is a fool.

    I must try to watch this film!

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  10. Simon, a fool? Really? That's interesting. Thanks for adding that Aussie tidbit!

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  11. something incredibly creepy about echoing boy soprano's singing in minor key...Get's right into the core...

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  12. This is creepy. I love your cigar smoking ladies.

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  13. Yes, this is intriquing and creepy.
    :-)

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  14. Kerr and Redgrave says it all.

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  15. OK, that's pretty creepy! Will go play some blues to drive the earworm away!

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  16. lookd through a couple top 100 lists, and this was nowhere to be found...still i don't doubt it was creepy...some of these older thrillers aren't very well knowm--unless they're hitchcocks

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  17. The song is creepy. I'll have to get my son to find it on Netflix so that I can watch it with him. While my children were growing up, I allowed them to watch any movie that they requested,(then, movies came from the video store,) as long as I could sit next to them while they watched. We still watch movies together and they are adults now, but it brings back old times to me when we do. It never hurt them a bit.

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  18. The song is creepy. I'll have to get my son to find it on Netflix so that I can watch it with him. While my children were growing up, I allowed them to watch any movie that they requested,(then, movies came from the video store,) as long as I could sit next to them while they watched. We still watch movies together and they are adults now, but it brings back old times to me when we do. It never hurt them a bit.

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  19. I remember that movie it was eerie
    the song is very haunting.
    I remember the children on the roof
    can't remember the whole movie , I'll watch it again. Saw it at the library.

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  20. Haven't seen the movie but the novella is one of the best depictions of pure evil I've ever read.

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  21. I have seen this several times, and other versions of TURN OF THE SCREW, and I do agree--this version is very creepy and eerie! This is exactly the kind of film enhanced by black & white!

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  22. Hi Willow,

    I've been out of the loop but I like the Romaine Brooks up top.

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  24. Haunting tune! I don't care for scary movies, but your blog is looking great. Love the new photos & I was surprised to see your FB link!

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  25. I'm not sure I'd look for this one. Though, I must admit, I admire how you find all these tidbits.

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  26. Oooh...I've never seen this! Now that The Mister doesn't travel so much, I may have to watch it! (and I've stopped looking under the bed before getting in! ha!)

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  28. Though I consider myself a movie buff, I somehow missed this movie or forgot I saw it- so I have added it to my Netflix queue -- and this is a creepy song for sure.

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  29. I remember seeing this movie with a friend of mine on a sleepover when we were about eight. We crept around the playground for weeks afterward, pretending to see shadows in the church belfry. I wonder now if this may have something to do with my overall development?!?

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  30. I think Simon means Wally.

    I expect the word Waly derives from the verb to Wail.

    Is Betsy your sister, or do you just go to the same hairdresser? Don't answer this; too tedious.

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  31. I can't do creepy movies. However, I do recall my introduction to The Turn of the Screw and an unreliable narrator. I didn't get it the first time around.

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  32. But... what do you think of the film?

    This one might have to go in the queue.

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  33. I've just added the movie to the top of my Netflix queue.

    My friend and favorite jazz pianist just released a new CD with a jazz singer friend and, on it, Shota's playing, "Willow Weep For Me." He gave me a copy the other day and I just love it.

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  34. Hello Willow,

    Turn of the Screw is a haunting story/opera that can always leave one feeling uncomfortable. Keep the lights on!

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  35. Truly creepy. I think I remember this one.

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  36. Dear Willow: The young tenor reminds me of a ghost child singing in a graveyard. Creep-O-Meter reading of 10+. This was orginally a short novel or novella; I'd love to read this midsummer evening. The scariest film was "House On The Haunted Hill" of course with Vincent Price. This sounds British; who seem to know how to do the psycho-out quite well.

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  37. Oh, I saw that movie! It's wonderful. And the song is haunting--beautiful in an eerie way. Very ethereal.

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  38. Wow. Creepy. Definitely going on my netflix list! Thanks, Willow ... I think!

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  39. This looks like a great movie... thanks for the review! Let's go have a cigar on the patio!
    :) The Bach

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  40. Yes, let's! Did you bring one for me, too, Bach?

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  41. I saw this movie many years ago, and I had already read the book -- so knew the story, and even so was VERY creeped out by the movie.
    what I love about it is: no blood, no crazy slashers, no shaky cheesy camera work -- the terror is psychological and "hidden" and therefore even MORE scary.
    Great tip for summer movie watching!
    Cass

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  42. Ooohhh....this one is chilling indeed! One of the most frightening films I have EVER seen - and not one drop of blood is shown. (The book is wonderful too.) Wonderfully acted snd directed.....you know, Benjamin Britten wrote an opera on this subject - also titled "Th Turn of the Screw"....although, alas,I don't recall any "Willow Songs" in it....but still worth a listen.

    Hugs from STILL FOGGY (yes, really) San Francisco!

    Hugs.

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  43. This movie does look creepy, and the music matches it. I don't remember it, but that doesn't mean anything - I watch movies now, and then again in a year or two and it's like I've never seen it. I wonder if that is a commentary on movies these days or my memory.

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  44. I've got these tasty little cigarellos that are sooo fashionable! One for you and one for me! :) The Bach

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  45. mmm extremely pleased you dropped by my blog. this one is great! I will be returning.

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  46. the music has a melencholy tone to it.
    I like it

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  47. Willow, You keep giving me movies I must now see! Ai! The list grows. Perhaps I should join Netflix.
    The song is haunting and beautiful. Here's a movie for you: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. It is extremely disturbing, but has a beautiful young boy who sings arias.

    Thanks for the post!
    ~Brenda

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  48. Brenda W, I popped over to add your suggestion to my Netflix...and...darn! They don't have it! I did notice, however, it has two of my faves, Michael Gambon and Helen Mirren. I'm off to see if my library has a copy....

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  49. what an absolutely mesmerizing song! just magnificent! and now i must - absolutely must - see this film! thanks so much for bringing it to us again! always love visiting the manor, dear lady willow - have a glorious day!

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  50. You posted this film is "one of the top 11 scariest horror films" per Scorcese and "Who's Afraid of Tim Burton" posted"Diabolique" is one of the scariest films of all time (paraphrase) only I forgot whom she was quoting.

    Two fine film recommendations today.

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  51. Betsy stopped looking under the bed before she gets in. lol

    It is creepy if you let your mind wander. I guess.

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  52. Just listening to that clip gave me the shivers!

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  53. ok, i'll get it, but I am skeeeert!!!

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  54. You always point me to the best movies. Today you've already lead me to two more. Thank you.

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  55. okay!!!!
    i am creeped out-
    and I HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE.

    i have heard of this film in the past, but had forgotten all about it.
    thanks wills.

    xxx

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  56. Oh that is SO super reepy. Chills. Whoa.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)