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The Nanny (1965)

The Nanny

Director:Seth Holt
Cast:Bette Davis, William Dix, Pamela Franklin
Genre:Film, Horror

By Tom Scocca | Posted

A David Lynch movie before David Lynch started making them, The Nanny is pervasively, primally creepy--placid on the surface, churning underneath. Ten-year-old Joey (William Dix) returns home from an institution, where he'd been sent after a family tragedy. Father, an Important Man, is mostly absent; Mother is a feckless semi-invalid. So the household is run by the suffocatingly solicitous Nanny (a stiffly smiling Bette Davis). Joey declares that Nanny is trying to kill him, but it looks a lot like he's trying to destroy her. He escapes the domestic tension by ducking up the fire escape to visit his neighbor, Bobbie (Pamela Franklin), an older girl who smokes and talks about boys and peers at him excitedly from under heavy bangs while he tries to enlist her in a conspiracy against Nanny. Every scene, upstairs and down, is laced with Freudian subtext (or just plain text), all parricide and sibling murder and sexual awakening. At one point, Joey flees his bath and goes to Bobbie's bedroom with nothing on but a towel; she gives him one of her doctor father's white coats to wear. That sort of thing--deeply complex but not the least bit subtle--goes on throughout, right up to the horrifying final struggle between Joey and Nanny. Truly, profoundly disturbing. Do not under any circumstances share this with the kids

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