The Witches (1966)

UK, USA, 1966
35mm, Technicolor

A British/American horror film directed by Cyril Frankel.

Plot Summary

While working in Africa, school teacher Gwen Mayfield crosses the path of local witch doctor and, as a consequence, suffers a nervous breakdown. She returns to England and takes a teaching post in a small country town, hoping that the tranquility of her new surroundings will help her recover. But those hopes are dashed when she discovers that the village is run by a coven of witches who are planning to sacrifice a young local girl…


Directed by: Cyril Frankel
© MVMLXVI [1966] Hammer Film Productions Limited
A Seven Arts-Hammer Film production
Produced by: Anthony Nelson Keys
Screenplay by: Nigel Kneale
Based on the novel ‘The Devil’s Own’ by Peter Curtis [real name: Norah Lofts]
Director of Photography: Arthur Grant
Supervising Editor: James Needs
Editor: Chris Barnes
Music Composed by: Richard Rodney Bennett
Sound Recordist: Ken Rawkins
Wardrobe Master: Harry Haynes
Wardrobe Supervisor: Molly Arbuthnot
Make-up: George Partleton
Hair Stylist: Frieda Steiger
Production Designer: Bernard Robinson
Produced at Bray Studios, England
Casting: Irene Lamb

Joan Fontaine (Gwen Mayfield)
Kay Walsh (Stephanie Bax)
Alec McCowen (Alan Bax)
Duncan Lamont (Bob Curd)
Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies (Granny Rigg)
John Collin (Mr Dowsett)
Ingrid Brett (Linda)
Leonard Rossiter (Dr Wallis)
Michelle Dotrice (Valerie)
Carmel McSharry (Mrs Dowsett)
Martin Stephens (Ronnie Dowsett)
Ann Bell (Sally)
Viola Keats (Mrs Curd)
Shelagh Fraser (Mrs Creek)
Bryan Marshall (Tom)

Alternative Titles

Bajo la sombra del infierno – Spanish title
The Devil’s Own – US title
As Ördög maga – Hungarian title
Pacte avec le diable – French title
Der Teufel tanzt um Mitternacht – German title



  • The Daily Cinema no.9295 (16 November 1966) p.5 – review
  • Film and TV Technician vol.32 no.259 (December 1966) (UK) – credits
  • Film Daily vol.130 no.3 (5 January 1967) p.4 – review
  • The House That Hammer Built no.6 (December 1997) pp.294-296 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Kine Weekly vol.586 no.3055 (21 April 1966) p.18 – note (Production review)
  • Kine Weekly no.3085 (19 November 1966) p.17 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.34 no.396 (January 1967) p.14 (UK) – credits, synopsis, review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.237 no.1 (4 January 1967) p.647 – review
  • Sight & Sound vol.36 no.1 (Winter 1966/1967) p.47 – review
  • Variety 30 November 1966 p.6 (USA) – credits, review


  • English Gothic by Jonathan Rigby p.127 – note
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.99 – credits

Other sources

  • British National Film Catalogue vol.4 (1966) (UK) – credits, synopsis