Charles (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings), are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.
Noël Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is ... See full summary »
The Passionate Friends were in love when young, but separated, and she married an older man. Then Mary Justin (Ann Todd) meets Steven Stratton (Trevor Howard) again and they have one last ... See full summary »
Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
Brenda de Banzie
To get background for a new book, author Charles Condomine (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife Ruth (Constance Cummings) light-heartedly arrange for local mystic Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) to give a séance. The unfortunate result is that Charles' first wife Elvira (Kay Hammond) returns from beyond the grave to make his life something of a misery. Ruth too gets increasingly irritated with her supernatural rival, but Madame Arcati is at her wit's end as to how to sort things out.Written by
Kay Hammond did not appear in the original movie trailer; instead doors and windows were shown opening and closing to indicate her presence. See more »
After the séance when Elvira first appears, she flops onto the settee by the fire. As her dress billows you can see where the green ghostly make up ends half way up her leg, showing normal skin above the make up line. See more »
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"
We are quite, quite wrong!
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The voice at the end of the credits page that utters, "We are quite, quite WRONG!" is Noël Coward's See more »
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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