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Blithe Spirit (1945)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Fantasy | 14 May 1945 (UK)
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.

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

David Lean (adapted for the screen by), Ronald Neame (adapted for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rex Harrison ... Charles Condomine
Constance Cummings ... Ruth Condomine
Kay Hammond ... Elvira Condomine
Margaret Rutherford ... Madame Arcati
Hugh Wakefield ... Dr. George Bradman
Joyce Carey ... Violet Bradman
Jacqueline Clarke ... Edith (as Jaqueline Clarke)
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Storyline

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 J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Elvira - what man wouldn't love her! What woman wouldn't hate her! She's that alluring. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 1945 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Uma Mulher do Outro Mundo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Crazy Credits

The voice at the end of the credits page that utters, "We are quite, quite WRONG!" is Noël Coward's See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Screaming Skull (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Always
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Jacqueline Clarke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Ectoplasmic!
15 January 2006 | by SpondonmanSee all my reviews

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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