Raised by their Bible-obsessed, invalid mother, seven children care for her and one another in a gloomy Victorian house. The mother dies, and the children, terrified of being separated and even more terrified of the outside world, build a graveside shrine to her in the backyard and carry on as if nothing has happened. When their long-lost father shows up, he seems to fall in with their plans. Then the children begin to realize he has a different plan altogether. Dirk Bogarde is marvelously menacing as the father, a smiling charmer one moment and seedy sharpie the next, but the children give this eerie, hypnotic film its icy heartbeat, Commenting on directors coaxing powerful performances from child actors, Roger Ebert wrote, "Peter Brook did it with his castaways in Lord of the Flies; J. Lee Thompson did it with Hayley Mills in Tiger Bay, and now Jack Clayton has done it superbly in Our Mother's House."