Blithe Spirit (1945)

BLITHE SPIRIT (1945)
Article #768 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-22-2003
Posting Date: 9-19-2003
Directed by David Lean
Featuring Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond

A married couple invites a medium over to hold a seance, and she accidentally conjures forth the ghost of the husband’s first wife.

This is the ghost story as cynical romantic comedy. It’s also a fairly classic production, directed by David Lean and based fairly faithfully on the play by Noel Coward (I had a copy of the play handy and couldn’t help but notice that much of the dialogue is word-for-word). Margaret Rutherford steals the movie as the medium; she is dotty, hilarious and a joy to watch every moment she’s on the screen. The story definitely takes some interesting turns, especially towards the end, but quite frankly, this is one of those movies that has to catch me at the right moment for it to really engross me, and it wasn’t really the right moment this time out; I’m not particularly partial to British comedies of manners. Nonetheless, it has its fair share of atmosphere. Despite its sophistication, it still couldn’t help but to sneak in a few common ghost jokes, including a sequence where a cop sees a car being driven by no one, and a moment where someone who can’t see the ghost walks right through her.

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