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   THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) 

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CAST
Gene Tierney
Rex Harrison
George Sanders
Edna Best
Vanessa Brown
Anna Lee
Robert Coote
Isobel Elsom
Victoria Horne
Natalie Wood

DIRECTED BY
Joseph L. Mankiewicz

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 104 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Comedy

Academy Award nomination for Best B&W Cinematography.


SYNOPSIS: In 1900, a young widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted...and forms a unique relationship with the ghost.

BOTTOM LINE: I expected this film to be fairly silly and boring, but was as surprised as Mrs. Muir to be entranced by this simple love story between a widowed woman and the ghost of a sea captain. The concept is ridiculous in the extreme and yet, Tierney and Harrison have such great chemistry – despite vastly different acting styles and the fact that their characters have absolutely nothing in common – they make you believe the Ghost and Mrs. Muir have found true love. Tierney finally gets the chance to be more than a pretty face and she gives Harrison a run for his money. She plays Lucy, a woman who has finally received her own personal freedom and she's not about to be frightened by a cranky ghost into returning to the life her in-laws think she should be living – one under their control. His antics are played more for laughs than for scares, but if I were here I wouldn't have stayed no matter how pretty the view or handsome the ghost. Her uncompromising attitude, along with her pretty face, softens the resolve of the angry captain who not only allows her and her daughter to live in "his" house, but convinces him to help her achieve financial freedom. Their collaboration on a book about his life at sea causes them to develop more than friendly feelings towards each other even though it's very obvious a real romance is not possible.

Not wanting Lucy to live her life "alone" he encourages her to begin seeing living-breathing men, which only leads to heartbreak when she falls for the unctious charms of a fellow writer (played with sleazy perfection by Sanders). The Captain's disappearance from her life doesn't help. When he convinces her that their interactions were only a dream, she finds a whole in her heart even the happiness of her family can't fill. Unfortunately, once Harrison is removed from her life, the film loses energy and begins to drag. The joy and spark between them is what makes this picture entertaining. It's clear from his first "hello" that Sanders' character is going to be nothing but trouble and he's not really onscreen enough to fill the void left by Harrison. So the final third of the film just has her living out the remainder of her days alone until she dies and can be reunited with her captain. Heartfelt and well-acted, but not very interesting. Though the supporting cast performs their parts admirably, this film only truly works when the Ghost and Mrs. Muir are onscreen together. If you blink, you'll miss Natalie Wood, who plays Mrs. Muir's young daughter. She became so famous I thought she was in the film more, but there's really no need for her to be since this is a romance after all. A classic movie that's better than it has a right to be thanks to crisp writing and perfect, though unusual, chemistry.




"My dear, since Eve picked the apple, no woman has ever been taken entirely unawares."

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