The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In 1900, a young widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted and forms a unique relationship with the ghost.

  • 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 her life, including the most serious, children's author Miles Fairley (George Sanders). Because of his feelings for her, Daniel eventually has to decide if being a part of her life is more a benefit or hindrance to her in carrying on with the living, regardless of perhaps not being able to carry out his initial goal of realizing his vision for Gull Cottage if he leaves.

  • In 1900, strong-willed widow Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) goes to live in Gull Cottage by the British seaside, even though it appears to be haunted. Sure enough, that very night she meets the ghost of crusty former owner Captain Daniel Gregg (Sir Rex Harrison), and refuses to be scared off. Indeed, they become friends and allies, after Lucy gets used to the idea of a man's ghost haunting her bedroom. But when a charming live man comes courting, Lucy and the Captain must deal with their feelings for each other.

  • Living in a haunted house by the sea is a less frightening prospect for Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney), a young widow with a small daughter, than continuing to live with her in-laws. At first Captain Daniel Gregg (Sir Rex Harrison) plays the same tricks on Lucy he used to get rid of previous tenants. This ghost, who loves solitude, soon comes to admire her spunk and, to make it possible for her to afford to stay in the house, decides she'll write a best-seller, his memoirs. When Lucy visits a London publisher, she also impresses a famous author of children's books, Miles Fairley (George Sanders). Can a ghost be jealous?

  • An independent widowed woman Mrs. Muir (Gene Tierney) and her young daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) in Victorian England, find a new life in a small English seaside town, and Gull Cottage. With this new lease of life comes a catch, an old sea dog named Captain Daniel Gregg (Sir Rex Harrison) still resides there, but as a ghost, who won't let go of his home. Coming to an arrangement, they learn to get along, just. All is not well, eventually, her finances become low and to make ends meet, Lucy is forced to be ghostwriter to Captain Gregg's autobiography. In the meantime being charmed by cad Miles Fairley (George Sanders), who's only in it for the ride. With a beautiful score by Bernard Herrmann and cinematography by Charles Lang, this movie is a tender love story of patience, fortitude, and longing.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • 1900: Having had enough of living with her late husband's mother and maiden aunt, young widow Lucy Muir decides to move with her young daughter Anna to a place of her own by the sea. Her eye falls on the picturesque coastal village of Whitecliff where she finds a unique house Gull Cottage. The leasing agent tries his hardest to dissuade Lucy from taking the cottage, telling her that all the previous tenants have moved out just as quickly as they moved in. Lucy soon discovers the reason for the landlord's warnings when she sees windows and doors open on their own, candles blown out and hears disembodied laughter. Unlike the previous tenants, strong-willed Lucy refuses to be scared off by the hauntings and demands that the ghost reveal himself. He appears and Lucy recognises him immediately as Captain Daniel Gregg, the cottage's previous owner whose portrait hangs above the mantelpiece. The ghost agrees to restrict himself to the master bedroom if Lucy will move his portrait into the room and Lucy agrees including sharing the room. Initially hostile towards one another, Lucy and the Captain develop a mutual respect that quickly becomes admiration. When Lucy eventually finds herself in financial difficulties, in order to raise money the Captain (or Daniel as he asks her to call him) suggests they publish a memoir of his life. While writing the book, Daniel dictates and Lucy objects to the language and phraseology and through the banter they become closer. When the book is finally finished and ready to be published, Lucy realises she's fallen in love with Daniel, and he with her. Both know that the situation is hopeless, and Daniel tells her that he wants her to experience life including meeting real men. Lucy reluctantly agrees, and while visiting a publisher in London, Lucy meets the smooth-talking Miles Fairlie, an author of children's books. Miles takes a fancy to the attractive widow, assists her and tries to court her. Daniel is not at all happy at Lucy's choice and tries to warn her off but Lucy is enchanted by Miles and thinks Daniel is just being jealous. When Lucy ultimately declares her intention to marry Miles, Daniel decides to disappear from Lucy's life permanently. While Lucy is asleep, Daniel bids her a touching farewell and tells her that when she wakes up she will remember him only as a dream. Shortly afterwards, Lucy is devastated to discover that Miles is already married with a family and was just stringing her along and she was not the first.

    The years pass, and Lucy continues to live at Gull Cottage with no memory of Daniel until one day Anna, who is now grown up and engaged, mentions that as a little girl she used to regularly spend time with the ghost of Captain Gregg. This jogs something in Lucy's memory when she realizes they both had the same experience so it wasn't just her own dreams. For the next thirty years Lucy resides in Gull Cottage while Anna grows up and has children of her own. One night Lucy tells her maid that she is feeling unwell, drops her night time drink and falls unconscious in her armchair. Daniel appears, takes her hands and tells her that she'll never be tired again and lifts her out of the chair. Lucy, young again, takes Daniel's arm and the two ghosts walk out into the night, together at last.

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