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Blithe Spirit (1945)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Fantasy | 14 May 1945 (UK)
Charles and his second wife, Ruth, are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira. Medium Madame Arcati tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.

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(adapted for the screen by), (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:
... Charles Condomine
... Ruth Condomine
... Elvira Condomine
... Madame Arcati
... Dr. George Bradman
... Violet Bradman
... Edith (as Jaqueline Clarke)
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Storyline

To get background for a new book, author Charles and his second wife Ruth light-heartedly arrange for local mystic Madame Arcati to give a séance. The unfortunate result is that Charles' first wife Elvira returns from beyond the grave to make his life something of a misery. Ruth too gets increasingly irritated with her supernatural rival, but M.Arcati is at her wit's end as to how to sort things out. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One Wife Too Many See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 May 1945 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Uma Mulher do Outro Mundo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Noël Coward had turned down offers from Hollywood to sell the film rights to his play, stating that previous American versions of his plays had been "vulgarized, distorted and ruined". The rights were instead sold to Cineguild, one of the independent companies supported by the Rank Organization. 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

Opening credits: When we are young We read and believe The most Fanastic Things When we grow older and wiser We learn, with perhaps a little regret, That these things can never be. 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Spiritual mirth is a joyous thing.
4 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

Blithe Spirit is directed by David Lean and adapted from by Noel Coward's play by Lean, Coward, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan. The title Blithe Spirit was devised out of the poem by "To a Skylark" written by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The film stars Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond and Margaret Rutherford. Music is by Richard Addinsell and Neame is the photographer. Plot finds Charles (Harrison) and his second wife Ruth (Cummings) haunted by the ghost of Charles' first wife, Elvira (Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Rutherford) is enlisted to try and help. Things get colourful to say the least...

Written by a maestro and directed by someone so gifted, Blithe Spirit is a fantastical comedy that gladdens and lifts the spirits (no pun intended) to the point that this viewer always wears a grin 12 hours after watching it. Noel Coward's witty approach is given perfect treatment from David Lean and a cast clearly having fun with the material to hand. Rex Harrison is all fresh faced and youthful, whilst some of his mannerisms of incredulity and cheek are a joy to behold, while Constance Cummings & Kay Hammond bounce off each other with electrical mirth. However, it is Margaret Rutherford's show all the way, her portrayal of the batty, almost maniacal, medium Madame Arcati is a lesson in visual and well delivered oral comedy, it is something that on its own is worth watching the film for.

Ghostly goings on with a cracking turn of events at the hour mark, mark this out as a truly delightful movie, thankfully we get an ending that is perfect and in tune as regards the fun that has gone before it. Essential viewing for the classic comedy fan. 9/10


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