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Blithe Spirit (1945)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy  |  14 May 1945 (UK)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,254 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 36 critic

Adapted from a play by Noel Coward, Charles and his second wife Ruth, are haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira. Medium Madame Arcati tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.

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(adapted for the screen by), (adapted for the screen by), 3 more credits »
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Title: Blithe Spirit (1945)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Constance Cummings ...
Kay Hammond ...
Margaret Rutherford ...
Hugh Wakefield ...
Joyce Carey ...
Jacqueline Clarke ...
Edith (as Jaqueline Clarke)
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Storyline

To get background for a new book, author Charles and his second wife Ruth light-heartedly arrange for local mystic Madame Arcati to give a séance. The unfortunate result is that Charles' first wife Elvira returns from beyond the grave to make his life something of a misery. Ruth too gets increasingly irritated with her supernatural rival, but M.Arcati is at her wit's end as to how to sort things out. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One Wife Too Many

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 May 1945 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Uma Mulher do Outro Mundo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Lean and cinematographer Ronald Neame decided not to use double exposure to create Elvira's ghostly appearances. Instead, Lean created an enormous set that allowed Kay Hammond to move freely in each shot. Hammond wore fluorescent green clothes, makeup, and a wig, with bright red lipstick and fingernail polish. Each time she moved, a special light would be directed on her, allowing her figure to glow even in dimly-lit scenes, and giving her an otherworldly appearance. See more »

Goofs

After requesting, and drinking "Dry Martinis" the liquid in the glasses is distinctly brown instead of clear. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
words on a Victorian sampler: "When we are young / We read and believe / The most fantastic things. / When we are older / We learn with regret / That these things cannot be"
Narrator: We are quite, quite wrong!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: When we are young We read and believe The most Fanastic Things When we grow older and wiser We learn, with perhaps a little regret, That these things can never be. See more »

Connections

Version of Blithe Spirit (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Always
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Jacqueline Clarke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Ectoplasmic!
15 January 2006 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

I taped this from UK Channel 4 on 20th Dec '90 - it has a better soundtrack than the admittedly budget DVD from Carlton. The Technicolor is still sumptuous, clever and thought-provoking however and overall it doesn't need remastering - just turn the volume up! Noel Coward's witty play transferred to the ghastly green screen perfectly, in 1945 it was as wildly old-fashioned as "Brief Encounter" was in 1936 on stage as "Still Life". But same as that film and almost everything Coward did from the '20's to the '40's, it remains eminently watchable and a riveting experience.

Basically Rex Harrison's dead 1st wife is summoned back in a séance to the "real world" much to his and his 2nd wife's consternation. A marvellous cast mainly depicting erudite and splendidly eccentric English so-called "middle-class" - because they had to work for a living hence they were all highly paid working class - an amusing concept Coward would have violently and amusingly disagreed with. Margaret Rutherford takes the prize for the most eccentric performance as ever flailing never failing Madame Arcati the lively spiritualist. The dialogue is urbane, brisk and witty throughout, so a thorough knowledge of English language and English customs up to 1945 is essential to getting the most from this.

That can also mean that although it helps you don't have to be English and live in England to enjoy it. A previous non-blithe commenter with apparently no sense of humour from the UK displayed a complete non-understanding, non-interest and non-acceptance of anything British and must desire complete separation from anything to do with Britain - probably apart from the passport. What would the ghosts of 1945 say if they could come back today and realise that a classic such as this can be dismissed so negatively?


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