IMDb > Blithe Spirit (1945)
Blithe Spirit
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Blithe Spirit (1945) More at IMDbPro »

Blithe Spirit -- David Lean's delightful film version of Noël Coward's theater sensation stars Rex Harrison as a novelist who cheekily invites a medium to his house to conduct a séance, hoping the experience will inspire a book he's working on. Things go decidedly not as planned when she summons the spirit of his dead first wife, a severe inconvenience for his current one.


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7.1/10   3,374 votes »
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Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
David Lean (adapted for the screen by) &
Ronald Neame (adapted for the screen by) ...
View company contact information for Blithe Spirit on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 May 1945 (UK) See more »
One Wife Too Many
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Won Oscar. Another 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
ghostly colour rendition ! See more (48 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
David Lean 
Writing credits
David Lean (adapted for the screen by) &
Ronald Neame (adapted for the screen by) &
Anthony Havelock-Allan (adapted for the screen by)

Noël Coward  play (uncredited)
Noël Coward  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Noël Coward .... producer (as Noel Coward)
Original Music by
Richard Addinsell 
Cinematography by
Ronald Neame (photographed in Technicolor by)
Film Editing by
Jack Harris 
Casting by
Irene Howard (uncredited)
Art Direction by
C.P. Norman 
Set Decoration by
Arthur Taksen (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Rahvis (dresses)
Makeup Department
Tony Sforzini .... makeup artist
Vivienne Walker .... hairdresser
Production Management
Anthony Havelock-Allan .... in charge of production
Norman Spencer .... unit manager
Sydney Streeter .... unit manager (as S.S. Streeter)
Herbert Smith .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
George Pollock .... assistant director
Art Department
G.E. Calthrop .... art supervisor: Noel Coward
T. Hopewell Ash .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Sound Department
John Cook .... sound recordist (as John Cooke)
Desmond Dew .... sound recordist
Cyril Crowhurst .... dubbing editor (uncredited)
Roy Day .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Percy Dayton .... boom operator (uncredited)
Anthony J. Kay .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
George Paternoster .... assistant boom operator (uncredited)
Alan Whatley .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Tom Howard .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Charles Staffell .... back projection (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
William McLeod .... camera operator (as Wm. McLeod)
Dennis Bartlett .... focus puller (uncredited)
Wilfrid Newton .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Hilda Collins .... dress supervisor
Editorial Department
Margery Saunders .... assembly editor (uncredited)
Norah Walsh .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor: The London Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Isaacs .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Joan Bridge .... for Technicolor: associate colour director
Natalie Kalmus .... for Technicolor: colour director
George Minassian .... for Technicolor: technician
Yvonne Axeworthy .... assistant continuity (uncredited)
Maggie Unsworth .... continuity (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
96 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1991) (1993) (2003) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:6 (fr 16)

Did You Know?

The play had been a major success, and Noël Coward advised David Lean not to jeopardise this with the adaptation, telling him "Just photograph it, dear boy". In spite of this, Lean made a number of changes such as adding exterior scenes, whereas the play had been set entirely in a single room, showing scenes like the car journey to Folkestone which had only been referred to in the play. Perhaps most importantly, the final scene, in which Charles dies and joins his two wives as a spirit, does not occur in the play, which ends with his leaving his house after taunting his former wives, of whom he is now free. Coward objected strenuously to this change, charging Cineguild with having ruined the best play he ever wrote.See more »
Revealing mistakes: After the séance when Elvira first appears, she flops onto the settee by the fire. As her dress billows you can see wear the green ghostly make up ends half way up her leg, showing normal skin above the make up line.See more »
[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 »
Movie Connections:
AlwaysSee more »


What kind of car was Charles driving?
Is 'Blithe Spirit' based on a book?
Of what significance are the black armbands on Charles' jacket?
See more »
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
ghostly colour rendition !, 17 March 2007
Author: paulfreeman from France

This film was shot using the original 3-negative Technicolor system. Sometime in the 50's/60's when TV was buying up old movies, the negs were called up from the vaults in Denham to make new prints, only then was it discovered that one entire set (the magenta ones) had gone missing.

The re-issue prints were cobbled together extracting the magenta element of the picture using old prints and a sort of optical subtractive process. It was not wildly successful as anyone who watched the movie on TV in the 60's or bought the early VHS can attest. It has a sort of ethereal, greenish, washed-out look to it. I suspect the optical soundtrack master was also missing for the 1st 2 reels (22 mins)

The current TV release (2007 on TCM) and the DVD is a perfect Technicolor print, so either the magenta negative has been unearthed or (more likely) the magic of digital wizardry has recreated the missing component.

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