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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Mystery  -  May 1947 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 9,728 users  
Reviews: 103 user | 64 critic

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

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(screen play), (from the novel by)
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Title: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Edna Best ...
Vanessa Brown ...
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Robert Coote ...
...
Isobel Elsom ...
Angelica - Mother-in-law
Victoria Horne ...
Eva - Sister-in-law
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Storyline

In 1900, strong-willed widow Lucy Muir goes to live in Gull Cottage by the British seaside, even though it appears to be haunted. Sure enough, that very night she meets the ghost of crusty former owner Captain Gregg...and refuses to be scared off. Indeed, they become friends and allies, after Lucy gets used to the idea of a man's ghost haunting her bedroom. But when a charming live man comes courting, Lucy and the captain must deal with their feelings for each other. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ghost | captain | seaside | widow | cottage | See more »

Taglines:

THE SPIRIT... so willing! THE FLESH... so weak! THE ROMANCE... so wonderful! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'aventure de Madame Muir  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1990 there was serious at talk at 20th Century Fox of remaking "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer in the leads, but the poor box-office for The Russia House (1990) killed it. See more »

Goofs

The movie opens at the turn of the century when Anna is about 6-8 years old. About 10 or so years later, when she comes home from college, everyone is dressed as if it were the 1940s. See more »

Quotes

Lucy Muir: Why does he haunt? Was he murdered?
Mr. Coombe: No. He committed suicide.
Lucy Muir: [gasps] I wonder why?
Mr. Coombe: To save someone the trouble of assassinating him, no doubt!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A fabulous two-hour genre tour
15 February 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

After her husband dies, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) decides to move away from London to a small seaside resort. She has to persuade the real estate agent, Mr. Coombe (Robert Coote), to show her the home that sounds most attractive to her--Gull Cottage. At first she can't figure out why he's so reluctant to pursue the home with her, but while she's looking at the "cottage", she experiences an apparent haunting. Both she and Mr. Coombe go running out of the house. To Mr. Coombe's surprise, Lucy decides to rent the Gull Cottage anyway.

Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' The Ghost and Mrs. Muir combines a number of genres in an unusual way, gently poking fun at the conventions of each as they arrive in turn. The film begins as if it will be a somewhat traditional 1940s horror story. The setting is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) and Lewis Allen's The Uninvited (1944). Mrs. Muir's first visit to the home has classic understated "eerie" moments, with Mrs. Muir dressed in a creepy, Gothic black veil, coat and dress (ostensibly, she's still in mourning).

Shortly after, the film quickly moves into more comic territory. A more straightforward dramatic section follows, then romance, back to drama, and finally it ends as a fantasy film. That might sound like a bit of a mess, but Mankiewicz easily unifies the proceedings so that the genre tour is really only apparent on analysis. In a book about the film by Frieda Grafe, published by the British Film Institute, Mankiewicz is quoted as saying that he considered the film to be "hack work", and that his intention was primarily to show the studio that he was capable of delivering efficient craftsmanship. While a quick glance at my rating confirms that I wouldn't denigrate the film as "hack work", the genre parade is interesting in light of Mankiewicz' stated intent.

A central theme throughout The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, directly hinted at a number of times by dialogue about progressivist attitudes in the twentieth century, is that of gender roles. The theme is most overtly realized when Mrs. Muir pens a salty seafaring book and takes it to a publisher. She is dismissed at first with an assumption that she must be presenting shallow, sappy "women's literature", but is quickly published once Mr. Sproule (Whitford Kane) realizes the novelty of the book. Of course, he assumes that she must have been shopping it for her husband, or some other gentleman friend.

The theme is worked throughout the film in countless more subtextual ways, also, and leads to an interesting interpretation of the bulk of the film--is Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison) real? Or is he a figment of Lucy and her daughter's imaginations? There is a strong suggestion that he was just imaginary, sparked in Lucy's mind by his portrait, the house, and the maritime décor still present. Literally, the film suggests at one point that Lucy and her daughter are fooling themselves into believing he was imaginary, but it could be read as a double cross (or a double negation)--we are fooled into believing that they're just fooling themselves, and the reality is that Captain Gregg is a catalyst for allowing the gender role changes exhibited by Lucy and her daughter, who even basically asks her boyfriend to marry her, rather than the other way around.

At any rate, real or not, Captain Gregg is an enjoyable character in an enjoyable, lightly comic film that pleasantly mixes a variety of genres. Fans of the film should be aware that it was based on a novel by R.A. Dick, and spawned a television sitcom with the same title that first aired in the U.S. in 1968 and ran for 50 episodes.


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