When a teenaged girl moves to England, with her brothers and parents into the ancient Canterville Hall, she's not at all happy. Especially as there's a ghost and a mysterious re-appearing bloodstain on the hearth. She campaigns to go back home, and her dad, believing the ghost's pranks are Ginny's, is ready to send her back. But then Ginny actually meets the elusive 17th-century Sir Simon de Canterville (not to mention the cute teenaged duke next door), and she sets her hand to the task of freeing Sir Simon from his curse. Written by
Virginia 'Ginny' Otis:
When a gentle girl can win a prayer from out the lips of sin/when a child gives up tears and the barren almond bears/when the silent chapel bell sounds the ghostly sinners knell/then shall all the house be still, and peace shall come to Canterville.
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A family film in the truest sense - a delight for everyone
This is a little gem of a movie, with lush sets and surprisingly good special effects, in a truly English (as opposed to a Disney/Mary Poppins British) setting and an attractive cast. Patrick Stewart brings the full weight of his Shakespearian background to bear, and creates a tragic and tender ghost, never lapsing into bathos or slapstick. Neve Campbell as the heroine is convincing as a brave, warm-hearted girl embarking on a gentle romance with the well-cast Daniel Betts. Kids will love the ghostly capers, teenagers and older family members will enjoy Ginny and Francis getting closer together, and empathise with the father-daughter conflict, and more mature watchers will be moved by the sad history of Sir Simon. A three-hanky movie. The only fly in the ointment was the entirely wasted presence of Joan Sims and Donald Sinden - "ham" really should have been off the menu in their case, but at least we don't have to see much of them.
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