In 1900, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney), widowed for one year, decides to move out of her controlling in-law's house in London to the English seaside with her adolescent daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) and their long devoted maid Martha (Edna Best). Despite the rental agent trying to dissuade her, Lucy decides to rent Gull Cottage at Whitecliff-by-the-Sea. She learns firsthand before she makes the decision the rental agent's hesitance is because the cottage is haunted, supposedly by its now deceased former owner, seaman Captain Daniel Gregg (Sir Rex Harrison). After she moves in, she does meet the spirit of Captain Gregg face-to-face. Because she refuses to be scared away by his presence, the two come to an understanding, including that he will not make his presence known to Anna. As time progresses, the two develop a friendship and a bond. Despite his statements to her that she needs to live her life including finding another husband, Daniel seems not to approve of any of the men that enter ...Written by
For the purpose of speeding up production (and keeping to budget) it was decided not to use special photographic effects when Captain Daniel Gregg (Sir Rex Harrison) appeared. See more »
Before the last scene, Martha puts a glass of milk on the table next to a now-old Mrs. Muir. Martha leaves the bedroom and seemingly closes the door behind her. In the next shot of Mrs. Muir, the door is wide open. See more »
Gene Tierney is an impoverished widow who manages to find a suitable seaside cottage for herself, her maid and her daughter (Natalie Wood), only to discover that its former occupant is a strong-willed, salty sea captain (Rex Harrison) who is opposed to anyone else living at Gull Cottage. How their relationship grows and changes is the basis for the rest of the fantasy.
Tierney has her best role since 'Laura' as the lovely widow, engaging in many witty dialogs with Harrison's ghost with their relationship ultimately leading to a wistful ending. The mood of the period fantasy is enhanced by Bernard Herrmann's exquisitely sensitive score, capturing the atmosphere of the seaside cottage at the edge of a cliff. George Sanders has an amusing role as a man who almost convinces the widow that he's not a married man. Touches of humor abound in early scenes of Tierney with her relatives who are opposed to her independent decision to find her own lodgings.
Later remade as a TV series in the '60s which never captured the charm of the original story filmed with such tender care by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz from a screenplay by Philip Dunne. A delightful movie that will remain fresh and young forever.
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