The Nanny

The Nanny

2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5

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In the middle of her ‘60s Grand Dame Guignol period, Bette Davis went to England to make The Nanny, a rather quiet, cautious thriller that gives her more room for characterization than most of her later films. As a “barmy” governess hiding several dark secrets, Davis starts out with a benign expression under incredibly silly beetle brows, with subtle, sinister flashes of malignancy underneath her severe composure. Director Seth Holt lights her harshly, and lingers over the interesting, very British faces of the rest of the cast, especially William Dix, Davis’s bratty child antagonist. Holt creates an atmosphere of gray ominousness and is content to let his measured compositions build atmosphere, but when the plot revelations start, the film’s careful psychological detail is abandoned for melodrama, and Davis is filmed like a ghoul (or “Boris Karloff in skirts,” as she once laughingly described herself in this period). The last scene is perfunctory and unbelievable, but the film is worth seeing for its tense first half, and for Davis’s carefully controlled performance of joyless, sometimes sadistic servitude.

Image/Sound

It's good to finally see The Nanny in widescreen, and it looks beautiful, but the mono sound is often muffled.

Extras

In addition to a trailer and some TV spots, there is also a restoration comparison, as well as poster, lobby card, and still galleries.

Overall

Ultimately disappointing, but Davis gives Mary Poppins a run for her money.

Image 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Sound 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Extras 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Overall 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Single-Layer Disc
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • English 1.0 Mono
  • Spanish 1.0 Mono
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English Subtitles
  • French Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Interactive Pressbook
  • Restoration Comparison
  • Poster, Lobby Card and Still Galleries
  • Buy
    DVD
    Release Date
    April 8, 2008
    Distributor
    20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
    Runtime
    93 min
    Rating
    NR
    Year
    1965
    Director
    Seth Holt
    Screenwriter
    Jimmy Sangster
    Cast
    Bette Davis, Wendy Craig, Jill Bennett, James Villiers, William Dix, Pamela Franklin