The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.
The first part of the film shows the incident where Sir Simon turns tail and runs from a duel he got involved in. Out of shame and embarrassment, his father bricked him up in a room in the manor and pronounced the aforementioned curse upon him.
Breaking that curse is easier said than done because the cowardice was passed down several generations from Stuart England to World War II.
Enter a platoon of American rangers quartered at the manor house where the current lady of the manor, Margaret O'Brien is like so many in Great Britain in those years, playing host to American GIs. One in that platoon is a distant cousin from America, Robert Young. Will he perform the deed that frees Charles Laughton? Watch the film and find out.
Robert Young and Margaret O'Brien are fine, but it is the multi-talented Mr. Laughton who carries this film. This is a difficult part and only an actor of real talent and skill could carry it off. The comic elements are nicely done, but Laughton also has to project an air of resigned sadness at the fate he's been cursed with. And Mr. Laughton bares the tortured soul of Simon de Canterville for all to see.
This is a story originally written by Oscar Wilde and nicely updated for World War II moviegoers. And it's still a fine piece of film making for today's audience.
- Mar 2, 2005