The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) Poster

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Perhaps the greatest love story of all time
medusa4116330 July 2001
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was a very original story; The authoress, Josephine Aimee Leslie Campbell was the daughter of a sea captain. The study of the two main characters is very interesting; you have a rather gruff sea captain, who has led a man's life and is proud of it. He makes no excuses for himself; he is a man who takes responsibility for his actions. He is an honest man. Marriage is not for him- although he has two demanding mistresses; his ship and the sea. Mrs. Muir is a true product of her time; she has done what society expects of her; she has married, and bore a child. Her husband is a respected man. She has fulfilled her obligation. We see that Mrs. Muir is more than an average fin de siecle woman. She is deeper; we can see from her brief description of the late Mr. Muir that he was mediocre. From here the love story begins; we see the mutual respect and admiration that Captain Gregg and Mrs. Muir have for eachother.The love is pure and true,on a higher plane; not hindered or comprimised by sexual intimacy.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a love story that like its characters transcends time.
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Exquisite romance, like fine china
lora6417 December 2001
If I may say so this film is one of the most haunting and lovely romances ever on screen - ghost and all. Once you step back in time into that prim, Victorian world it is hard to turn away. That's what makes for great movies.

Gene Tierney is perfect in her role as Lucy, a young widow, very strong-willed and with a mind of her own. She decides to leave the home and relatives of her late husband to find a new life of independence for herself and her daughter. She is shown "Gull Cottage" by an agent and is determined to rent the seaside cottage although it's known to be haunted by the ghost of a sea captain.

Eventually, once settled into her new surroundings, she is confronted by the apparition of Captain Daniel on a blustery stormy night. Their acquaintance does not get off to an easy start but he decides she can stay and won't trouble her with his houndings which would have ordinary people put to flight and making a hasty retreat. Her amusing exchanges with the captain, played by Rex Harrison, are a delight. I particularly liked her expressions which were corrected by him, such as: (she describes) sheets bellying in the wind, (he, correcting her) sails billowing; (she, in a flurry for him to be gone, asks him to) decompose, (he haughtily retorts) dematerialize, madam!

When she develops an interest in a certain outsider, Miles Fairley, suitably performed by that perennial ladies' man, George Sanders, well the captain becomes very annoyed and tells her, "I said you should see men, not perfumed parlor snakes," which I thought was amusing and a very apt description.

I think the overall tone of the story tends to confirm a universal belief in an afterlife form of existence, a conviction as old as mankind itself. However, in this story the emphasis gradually shifts to supplanting the experience of a ghostly dialogue exchange with that of a dream state as being the source of reality, in effect Lucy dreamed it all, even the writing of the book, which is something I would question but that's another matter.

The exquisite music throughout the film sets the mood beautifully in expressing the many changes varying from haunting, romantic atmosphere to frolicsome (when the captain is up to his pranks), as well as the churning turbulence of the majestic waves along the shore.

I've recently acquired the DVD and appreciate having the subtitles now which brings out more details of the dialogue. This is a very special movie one doesn't easily forget, and so well done, pure artistry on film.
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Love Can Transcend Death
Noirdame7922 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is a gloriously charming romantic comedy/fantasy, that should be shared with everyone.

Gene Tierney gives a tender performance as the widow, Lucy Muir, who decides to leave the home of her stifling, controlling in-laws to make a new life for herself and her young daughter Anna (Natalie Wood). She chooses a seaside cottage, although she is warned not to take it, and when she visits the residence she finds out why she has been cautioned - the place is haunted by a grumpy sea captain, Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), who very much wants things his own way. Despite her delicate femininity, Lucy refuses to let Gregg intimidate her, and moves in. Their relationship, at first a bickering one, becomes one of mutual interest and it blossoms as Lucy (whom Gregg christens Luchia) finds that she is bankrupt and can't afford the house, so helps her write a novel based on his seafaring adventures. As they fall in love, it becomes very complicated, as he is a ghost and she is among the living, and when George Sanders' untrustworthy rake comes into Lucy's life, Gregg makes the painful decision to leave and tells Lucy as she slumbers that it was all a dream - she wrote the book, she dreamed him up, although there is regret as he takes one last longing look at her. Lucy resumes her life, having completely forgotten about Daniel, only to discover that her flesh and blood suitor has a wife and children, and Anna Lee shines brightly in her small role of Sanders' long-suffering but understanding wife.

As time passes, Lucy every now and then has a tinge of remembrance, but it's not until her now grown daughter (played by Vanessa Brown) comes home for a visit and talks of a handsome sea captain who engaged her in conversation when she was a little girl . . . . . . . .

Although she again dismisses it as a dream, Lucy appears to be serenely at peace, and time passes and she becomes elderly, she dies in her sleep in her favorite chair, only to be greeted by Daniel, who extends his hand to her, and her young and vibrant spirit exits the cottage with him . . . . .

I can't think of a lovelier ending for this movie, or a better revelation that young Anna also made Gregg's acquaintance. Bernard Herrman's score, somewhat echoing some of his work for Hitchcock, fits the story beautifully. You can't help but love Daniel's references to his monkey puzzle tree, and the sense of humor when he advises Lucy to tell her in-laws to "shove off!". Everything in the film echoes the influence of the ocean and its romantic associations - even the surname of "Muir" is symbolic, since translated from Gaelic it means the sea. I don't think that was a coincidence, and the fact that Gene Tierney was of Irish descent makes this film all the more perfect . . . . . . . . .

Into the sea of love divine, where it is no longer a dream . . . . . .
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I discovered it because of the music, but love it for the story
jackboot12 March 2000
I discovered this movie when a friend recommended that I listen to a recording of the score - by the vernerable Bernard Herrmann - and his score is indeed fine! But what keeps me coming back to this film is its heart and soul - and it is odd to be able to say that about a very proper Victorian mannered tale. It is a carefully structured story that would really be well suited for the stage. In particular, I love the comic relief in this film and its colourful supporting characters. Our heroine, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney), is blithely courageous, though naive and against all advice lets a cottage on a bluff overlooking the ocean. The location is eerily remote and I'm continually struck by how spooky the setting is in the plain, bright light of day. The ghost of Captain Gregg (Rex Harrison) is at first brash and frightening but we come to find that he is a salt of the earth man of high principles.

Get over slick and callow modern film making and take a few steps back in time to watch this most charming and romantic of love stories well told on all sides: an ornate confection of a story, carefully and lovingly photographed, acted with aplomb and riding on top of a musical score that is as moving and powerful as the tides that beat throughout this film.

I find a personal connection to this story in that it takes me back to the days I lived on a northern island that was similarly beautiful though tinged with the bittersweet loneliness of a remote place awash in the deep undercurrents of sorrow and melancholy.
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Charming fantasy set in a seaside cottage...
Doylenf21 June 2001
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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Enchanting, Comical, as well as haunting love story.
Mike-7646 October 2002
Lucy Muir, a widow of one year, decides to start life anew, with daughter and faithful housekeeper, in a cottage by the sea, despite the warnings by the real estate salesman that the house is haunted by the ghost of its former owner, a seaman, Capt. Gregg. After Mrs. Muir encounters the ghost, the two strike an eerie, yet deep relationship, which grows even more when Lucy, forced to earn the money for payment of the cottage, writes a book about the captain's sea encounters. When Lucy sells the manuscript, she meets and falls for a fellow writer, a relationship, which does not sit well with the housekeeper, the daughter, and especially the captain. Will Capt. Gregg have to roam again to find eternal happiness? A beautiful film from all standpoints, with brilliant performances by Tierney and Harrison, who play extremely well off each other with tender, humorous, and bickering encounters, and Sanders, who is as usual, his charming self. A touching and romantic ending set this film off as one of the all time great cinematic love stories. Rating, 9 of 10.
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This ole house is haunted
jotix10023 May 2005
Joseph L. Mankiewicz was the right choice for directing this film. He created a film that survived the passage of time. The R. A. Dick's novel was adapted by Philip Dunne. "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is blessed with one of Bernard Herrmann's best film scores. The music greatly enhances what one is watching on the screen. Charles Lang's cinematography gives the illusion we are somewhere on a remote spot of England, when in reality the film was shot in California!

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" gave its star, Gene Tierney, one of the best roles of her career, after "Laura". Ms. Tierney had the fragility to portray Lucy Muir, the plucky young widow that decides to move to the coast against her in-laws wishes. The idea of the film plays well as it unfolds because obviously, it's all in Mrs. Muir's mind all what she is experiencing.

Rex Harrison's Capt. Daniel Gregg was also one of his best opportunities as a leading man in the movies. Mr. Harrison is perfect as the crusty old seaman that refuses to abandon his beloved home overlooking a beautiful view of the sea. Mr. Harrison plays well opposite Ms. Tierney; their chemistry works well because it combines his rugged good looks and her beauty.

The supporting players are good under Mr. Mankiewicz' direction. George Sanders, Edna Best, Natalie Wood, Robert Coote, Vanessa Brown, all give good performances and enhance the film.

This film will always be a favorite for fans, young and old.
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Great performances in an excellent fantasy film
The_Void6 April 2006
The Ghost and Mrs Muir reunited the Dragonwyck lead actress Gene Tierney, and its director Joseph L. Mankiewicz for an even better film. The Ghost and Mrs Muir, while a little pretentious at times, stands out as one of the finest romance films of Hollywood's golden period, and an interesting and entertaining fantasy film to boot. Over four decades before Demi Moore fell in love with a ghost in the sentimental, sappy trash flick 'Ghost'; Gene Tierney was doing it in far better style with this film. As you might expect from a film that features a woman falling in love with a spirit; there's more than a few plot holes on display. However, the film has this great ability to make the audience believe in it - and that is mostly down to the fabulous performances from all concerned. The plot follows a widow who moves into a house by the sea in order to escape her meddling in-laws. She knows that the house is haunted before she moves in, but the idea of living in a haunted house fascinates her; and she's fascinated further when she finds herself falling in love with the ghost of the previous owner.

It has to be said that, with the characters, what you see is pretty much what you get. Gene Tierney, whom I'm becoming a bigger fan of every time I see one of her movies, is the headstrong widow - while Rex Harrison is the cantankerous seaman. The characters mostly bathe in their own traits, but this helps the film immensely as it means that it's their relationship that always takes centre stage, and that is the biggest draw of the film. The film is very romantic, but it never gets dull or sappy. The ending brilliantly shows the film in its best light, as it's as heart-warming and tragic as the film deserves. Aside from romance, there's a strong comedy element in the film - and the best is often made of that, most notably in the hilarious sequence that sees the in-laws visit our heroine's new house. One thing I love about old films is the way that they show how different things are nowadays - this is best shown here by the fact that, in one scene, Rex Harrison is told off for swearing; after saying 'blast'. Overall, this is an excellent and criminally under seen movie that comes with high recommendations!
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A fabulous two-hour genre tour
BrandtSponseller15 February 2005
After her husband dies, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) decides to move away from London to a small seaside resort. She has to persuade the real estate agent, Mr. Coombe (Robert Coote), to show her the home that sounds most attractive to her--Gull Cottage. At first she can't figure out why he's so reluctant to pursue the home with her, but while she's looking at the "cottage", she experiences an apparent haunting. Both she and Mr. Coombe go running out of the house. To Mr. Coombe's surprise, Lucy decides to rent the Gull Cottage anyway.

Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' The Ghost and Mrs. Muir combines a number of genres in an unusual way, gently poking fun at the conventions of each as they arrive in turn. The film begins as if it will be a somewhat traditional 1940s horror story. The setting is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) and Lewis Allen's The Uninvited (1944). Mrs. Muir's first visit to the home has classic understated "eerie" moments, with Mrs. Muir dressed in a creepy, Gothic black veil, coat and dress (ostensibly, she's still in mourning).

Shortly after, the film quickly moves into more comic territory. A more straightforward dramatic section follows, then romance, back to drama, and finally it ends as a fantasy film. That might sound like a bit of a mess, but Mankiewicz easily unifies the proceedings so that the genre tour is really only apparent on analysis. In a book about the film by Frieda Grafe, published by the British Film Institute, Mankiewicz is quoted as saying that he considered the film to be "hack work", and that his intention was primarily to show the studio that he was capable of delivering efficient craftsmanship. While a quick glance at my rating confirms that I wouldn't denigrate the film as "hack work", the genre parade is interesting in light of Mankiewicz' stated intent.

A central theme throughout The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, directly hinted at a number of times by dialogue about progressivist attitudes in the twentieth century, is that of gender roles. The theme is most overtly realized when Mrs. Muir pens a salty seafaring book and takes it to a publisher. She is dismissed at first with an assumption that she must be presenting shallow, sappy "women's literature", but is quickly published once Mr. Sproule (Whitford Kane) realizes the novelty of the book. Of course, he assumes that she must have been shopping it for her husband, or some other gentleman friend.

The theme is worked throughout the film in countless more subtextual ways, also, and leads to an interesting interpretation of the bulk of the film--is Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison) real? Or is he a figment of Lucy and her daughter's imaginations? There is a strong suggestion that he was just imaginary, sparked in Lucy's mind by his portrait, the house, and the maritime décor still present. Literally, the film suggests at one point that Lucy and her daughter are fooling themselves into believing he was imaginary, but it could be read as a double cross (or a double negation)--we are fooled into believing that they're just fooling themselves, and the reality is that Captain Gregg is a catalyst for allowing the gender role changes exhibited by Lucy and her daughter, who even basically asks her boyfriend to marry her, rather than the other way around.

At any rate, real or not, Captain Gregg is an enjoyable character in an enjoyable, lightly comic film that pleasantly mixes a variety of genres. Fans of the film should be aware that it was based on a novel by R.A. Dick, and spawned a television sitcom with the same title that first aired in the U.S. in 1968 and ran for 50 episodes.
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Romance From Plane To Plane
bkoganbing14 May 2008
Anyone who remembers the television series based on this film that starred Hope Lange, Edward Mulhare, and Charles Nelson Reilly from the late sixties will not get that at all in this film. All that you can say is that this The Ghost And Mrs. Muir have as the lead characters, the ghost of a dead sea captain and a widow named Muir.

The recent widow Muir played by Gene Tierney has decided to rent a cottage by the sea in Edwardian Great Britain, party for solitude and grieving and partly to get away from her interfering in-laws played by Victoria Horne and Isobel Elsom. She insists on seeing a lovely cottage as she's motoring with rental agent Robert Coote. But even despite the fact that it's former owner is haunting the place, she insists on taking it.

The late owner is irascible sea captain Rex Harrison. Harrison became the first word in irascibility when he portrayed Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. But there's a whole lot of difference between Captain Daniel Gregg and Professor Henry Higgins. Both may be irascible, but Gregg is by no means an intellectual snob. But they're both solitary souls and don't like the world intruding.

Even though physical consummation is impossible this romance between individuals on a different plane of existence is as charming today as it was back in 1947. Tierney has a daughter played at different stages by Natalie Wood and Vanessa Brown who also experience Harrison's ethereal presence.

There's a strong resemblance between this and the romance suggested in Maytime between the late Nelson Eddy and the aging Jeanette MacDonald. Harrison's character has quite a bit more bite to him than Nelson's does, wit replaces baritone high notes here.

George Sanders has a nice supporting part as a living individual much interested in Gene Tierney as well, but who turns out to have a lot less character than meets the eye.

The film has been proposed for a remake a few times, maybe it will be some day, but to find players of the ability of Rex Harrison, Gene Tierney, George Sanders and the rest will be a considerable challenge.
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One of the most wonderful classic romantic films of all time...
jem13224 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be one of the best classic romantic films of all time. Few classic films with a period setting have as much ambiance as THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR, which is remarkable given that it was very much a studio product with with very little location shooting. Instead, Gothic interiors are lovingly created, Hermann provides one of his most beautiful and haunting film scores, Lang's black-and-white cinematography shimmers, the script is both salty and tender, and, best of all, Tierney and Harrison play off each other marvelously. There is very little to fault in this superb picture.

Mankiewicz effortlessly makes us believe in this fantastical notion- that a widowed woman could fall in love with a ghost- and audiences have been swept away since it's initial release by the sheer wistful longing of it all. Who hasn't, after watching this film, fantasized about living out this plot? The film is remarkable in that it makes us believe entirely in it's characters and it's setting.

As I said earlier, the film has so much atmosphere that we really do believe that the stunning Gene Tierney and the gruff yet very sexy Rex Harrison (in probably his best screen performance, I always thought he was much better here than in MY FAIR LADY)are having this wonderful deep relationship (close, but never consummated for obvious reasons) by the English sea. And it's an intelligent love story too- not once do we have the resilient, beautiful, independent yet sadly alone Tierney faint in a swoon over her dilemma (loving a man that to others doesn't exist) or cry out "Oh, darling I love you!". The script is so strong in every nuance and small detail.

I also enjoyed the supporting performances of a large cast, namely George Sanders doing his usual caddish bit (yet could anyone do silky Enflish cad better than Sanders?), a very young Natalie Wood as Tierney's daughter, Edna Best as the housekeeper Martha, Robert Coote as Mr Coombe, a very lovely Anna Lee who shares such a poignant late scene with Tierney and the gorgeous Vanessa Brown as the daughter when she grows up.

Anyone who can sit through this film without a shed of tear or feeling a rush of emotion as Harrison farewells a sleeping Tierney ("What we've missed Lucia....what we've both missed") must truly be a cynic. And that's a real shame, because you are missing out on a wonderful film experience. However, I am a romantic and the sight of Tierney, painfully alone, walking along the shores (with Hermann's lyrical score dragging us further and further into the mood of the film) with no earthly or unearthly companion always sends me into romantic delight.
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A childhood favorite that withstood the test of time
AnOKMovieNut31 March 2005
I first saw this movie when I was very young - maybe 9 or so - when my mother rented it. I remember watching it over and over again. When I saw that the DVD had come out I didn't even hesitate; I bought it right away. I'm glad I did.

There are many themes that find their way into this movie: feminism, romance, the supernatural, etc. The one that struck me the most was a longing for something that could never be while maintaining the practical to survive. There is a constant tension between Gene Tierney (Mrs. Muir) and Rex Harrison (Captain Gregg) that is never really satisfied. Words of love are never spoken, not even in the passionate monologue from Rex Harrison. But they are unnecessary because the undercurrents are so strong. Through this tension they work and live normally because what else is there to do? Because of this there is a layer of sad acceptance in the actions of Mrs. Muir and Captain Gregg, which is understandable to all of the audience - this is an emotion that all people are forced to feel at one point or another.

From a technical standpoint, the film is obviously in black and white which does nothing to detract from the story. The cinematography was nominated for an Oscar, and should have won in my opinion. I also am one of many that want to rebuild the house and live there forever. The passage of time should definitely be noted, as it was masterfully portrayed.

On the whole, it is a wonderful movie which I would recommend to anyone.
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a charming old romance--be sure to have a box of tissues nearby!
MartinHafer6 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It is important to note that other than the title and a few names here and there, this movie really has nothing in common with the television series. It is NOT a comedy but a very touching romance about a woman (Gene Tierney) and her daughter (played by a young Natalie Wood) moving into the home of a deceased sea captain. Unlike the lightweight TV series, the Captain (Rex Harrison at his dashing best) is smitten with Mrs. Muir and an unrequited romance begins to grow. Finally, because their love cannot be (after all, he IS dead), the captain lets go and makes Mrs. Muir forget.

The part of the movie that always gets me bawling is the end--after Mrs. Muir herself passes. You just have to see it to understand. It's simply beautiful and rips your heart out due to the masterfully way it is handled.

A must see tearjerker.
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"In my opinion, you are the most obstinate young woman I have ever met."
bensonmum211 February 2006
Delightful is the best word I can think of to describe The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It's got everything - drama, comedy, romance, fantasy, good acting, solid direction, interesting cinematography, a beautiful score, atmosphere, nice sets, and a well-written script. It's taken me a while to finally get around to watching The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. From what some friends of mine (whose opinions I am now highly suspicious of) warned me that it was a sappy, sentimental movie and not my kind of thing at all. They couldn't have been more wrong. In short, it's very nearly a prefect movie.

While I could write pages about most every aspect of this film, I'll instead just mention a couple of areas that really stood out to me. First, the acting. Over the past couple of years I've become something of a Gene Tierney fan. I've still got a way to go see all of her films, but I sincerely doubt I'll enjoy her performance in anything as much as I did The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (and that includes Laura). I can't imagine anyone doing a better job of bringing life to Lucy Muir. It was easy to forget I was watching a character on a screen and not peeping into the life of a real person. Well done.

The second area I'll mention is the score. Bernard Herrmann's music fits every frame of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir flawlessly. The music adds immensely to the emotional roller coaster that is the plot. There are very few scores I would rate any higher than this one.
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Romantic film about a supernatural love story
ma-cortes7 October 2005
The picture deals with a beautiful widow (Gene Tierney) and her daughter (Natalie Wood) who acquire a haunted cottage on the English coast . The ghost (Rex Harrison) of a sea captain will appear and is romanced with the attractive woman but the jealousy incarnated for a suitor (George Sanders) spoil the relationship .

It's an agreeable romance story in which the protagonist duo is magnificent . Gene Tierney is wonderful and charming with her sweet and enjoyable countenance . Rex Harrison as the enticing and ironic ghost is top-notch . The storyline by Philip Dunne relies heavily on the continued relationship among them but it doesn't make boring , however the film is pretty amusing and entertaining . The picture is a brilliant romantic tale and although is sometimes slow moving , isn't tiring . Excellent and sensitive score by Bernand Herrmann though is added Samuel Barber's classic musical . Exceptional and awesome cinematography by Charles Lang . The film is correctly directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz , author of several classics cinema . Many years later is followed by a Television sitcom series . The flick appeal to romantic movies fans . Rating : above average . Well worth watching .
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A Love To Last Through Time
Harold_Robbins3 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film I can't see too many times - I probably watched it 3 times the week the DVD came out - it only gets better. Gene Tierney wasn't the greatest actress in the world, but she was a very competent and sincere one, as well as beautiful, and she had the great good luck to be in excellent films such as this and THE RAZOR'S EDGE, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN and, of course, LAURA. She and "Sexy Rexy" (Rex Harrison) are a perfect match in this film, although only through her death are they finally able to - to, um, to do whatever it is ghosts in love do! When anyone's confused about what happened to Old Rose at the end of James Cameron's TITANIC, this is the film I refer them to - the final scene of MRS. MUIR never fails to get my tear-ducts going. There really isn't anything I don't like about this film - Bernard Herrmann's haunting score, the photography, wonderful performances.. .and a love to last through time, the kind we'd all like to believe is possible. . .
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I cannot help it, I cry every time
MissSimonetta11 March 2016
Eschewing grand proclamations of passion and overblown romance, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) is a lovely, quiet little film that gets under your skin. I have watched it multiple times over the years and it never gets old. Due to the lovers being a living woman and a ghostly man, their attraction is based more on intellectual and emotional affinity than sexual passion, though that does not stop the sexual tension from being there. The atmosphere is windy and moody, conveyed to perfection through the black and white cinematography and music score by Bernard Hermann. Combined with Gene Tierney's performance as the independent young widow and a very virile Rex Harrison as the ghostly sea captain who inspires her to write a book about his adventures, this is one of the best cinematic romances out there.
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"What we've missed, Lucia...."
movibuf196217 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The true beauty of "The Ghost And Mrs. Muir" is that the romance which ultimately springs forth from its two stars is fully realized, fleshed out, and consummated without them ever having physical contact. I won't spoil anything by going over too much of the plot, but suffice it to say that what begins as a verbal battle between the sexes never disappoints as it gradually turns into the most thoughtful and sensitive banter betwixt a man and woman. And even though there are no kisses or exchanges of "I love you's," the friendship, longing, and love which passes between Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison is smoldering, even bewitching. (Consider, in particular, the exchanges of dialog between Lucy and the Captain: he accurately sums up her practical, but somewhat loveless union with her late husband; she asks about his life as a sailor and what made him go to sea in the first place, and so on.) Every exchange they have is like two concert instruments playing in perfect harmony. And yet there is an unspoken yearn for them to take their friendship to the next level. Add to this a positively stunning music score by Bernard Herrmann, whose orchestral crescendos begin weaving a spell as soon as the Fox logo appears on screen. There are later, equally glorious, scenes- like Lucy and the Captain, at the end of their pen collaboration, gently revealing their affection for each other for the first time ("what's to become of us?"); Harrison's late-night departure from a sleeping Tierney which will make your heart race and simultaneously bring tears to your eyes; and a particularly moving epilogue (which I think often goes unappreciated) of a middle-aged Mrs. Muir with her beautiful college-age daughter, who has her own revelations about the salty sea captain. At once lovely and bittersweet it is. And that *still* isn't the climax of the film!!
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"No woman has ever been the worse for knowing me."
ackstasis4 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Few motion pictures can boast a love story that echoes through an eternity, but here is a film that certainly can. In the earlier years of American cinema, the role of ghosts and supernatural apparitions was traditionally not to frighten, but rather to aid and educate their earth-bound contemporaries. For at least the first few minutes of the film, 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)' seems as though it might be treading dark and menacing territory. An independent but lonely widow, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney), still grieving one year after the death of her husband, rents an old and isolated cottage by the coast, where she can live peacefully with her young daughter, Anna (Natalie Wood), and her housekeeper, Martha (Edna Best). From the moment of her first visit, Lucy senses a supernatural presence in the house, but her tendency towards common sense proves dominant. The haunting manifestation turns out to be the home's previous owner, Capt. Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), a gruff and roguish seaman, whose accidental death was misattributed to suicide.

After Capt. Gregg's first appearance, an absolutely stunning entrance from the darkened corner of the room, we find it difficult to keep our eyes off him, a man of rugged looks and personality. Despite his salty and often-crude disposition, the ghost soon comes to respect Lucy's independence and conviction, the two striking up an intimate relationship that inevitability sprouts into love. However, after Capt. Gregg dictates his bawdy memoirs to be published, Lucy attracts the attention of a suave suitor, Miles Fairley (George Sanders). Not wishing to interfere with her romantic desires, Capt. Gregg nobly retreats for an entire lifetime, leaving Lucy to discover that her all-time love may not actually be flesh-and-blood at all. It is this protracted ending that gives 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir' the bulk of its emotional power, offering a sense of resolution that surpasses that of almost every other romance ever made. Though Lucy Muir lives the remainder of her life alone and isolated, her memories of Capt. Gregg reduced to a vague inkling of a dream once had, she can never overcome the fact that he is her one and only love. For Lucy, death is not an occasion to be feared, but rather the moment in which her youth is reinvigorated and she is reunited with Capt. Gregg, with whom she can now spend an eternity.

Contributing to the success of 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir' is how director Joseph L. Mankiewicz {who also directed the fantastic 'Sleuth (1976)'} triumphantly blends so many cinematic genres. The film contains noticeable elements of fantasy, horror, drama and comedy, but never loses sight of its main role, which is that of a touching romantic fairy-tale. Both Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison dominate the film with their strong performances, sharing an intense, but always enjoyable, chemistry. Additional praise must also go to cinematographer Charles Lang, for his excellent use of shadows and light to evoke mood, and who fittingly received an Oscar nomination for his work. The film is accompanied by a haunting musical score from none other than the great Bernard Herrmann, and the set decoration of the sea-side cottage (by Thomas Little and Stuart A. Reiss) is also notable. 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir' is a film that I enjoyed substantially more than I had initially anticipated, and it truly is a triumph of inspired film-making. The combination of clashing genres might easily have resulted in disaster, but somehow Mankiewicz made it all work, and very well at that.
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Simply great, a movie that can bring a man to tears....
kayfabe1 July 2002
I saw this movie for the first time when I was sixteen, now almost thirty years have passed and I still cry every time I think about the film. . My favorite image is the deteriorating pier with her daughters name carved into it...what a beautiful and sad way to convey the passing of time.I recently watched it again and the lump in my throat has not passed as of yet.So sad, So beautiful!
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A truly romantic story
wnterstar16 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is the story of a young widow named Lucy Muir (Tierny)who decides to make it on her own, away from her overbearing in-laws. She moves into the former residence of a deceased sea captain named Daniel Gregg (Harrison)named Gull Cottage. From the first day she steps foot into the home, she realizes that the captain never left.

The romance that follows is both heart warming and tragic-if they stay together, Lucia, as the Captain calls her, will sacrifice any chance at a relationship with a live man.

Daniel does the noble thing and leaves quietly while Lucia slept, making sure he will only remember it as in a dream.

I couldn't imagine this movie being any is subtle and sweet.

Rex Harrison is great at being gruff and sexy at the same time. Gene Tierny is sweet and lovely. She makes you want to take care of her, but still conveys a quiet competence that you can't deny.
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Weaves an intriguing spell
ALauff18 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This supernatural love story snuck up on me and has left a lingering imprint that's somewhat difficult to place. Part of the impact no doubt derives from the third-act twist that I didn't see coming, because I was sure the film would take the clean, conventional route. But this is a much wiser, world-weary film than one might assume from its glossy premise. Rex Harrison plays the seaman ghost as a bawdy pleasure-seeker, but his cackling laughter and stern mien can't hide his desire for mortality, or his regret over the ludicrous accident that ended his life; Gene Tierney's widow buys his old seaside manor to make a life for herself and daughter Natalie Wood apart from her nosy, old-maid relatives. They strike up an instant rapport that leads to mutual attraction when she types his seafaring life story. At this point, it's a fairly standard—albeit sophisticated and enjoyable—Hollywood romance. Then, George Sanders begins wooing Tierney to Harrison's dismay, and the film employs a well-executed false ending of real gravity. Philip Dunne's script features many nicely observed moments of quiet disappointment, doing so without lugubriousness but with a low-key honesty that lays the groundwork for the powerful conclusion. The film certainly weaves an intriguing spell. I'd like to see this again with adjusted expectations, as I think I may have underestimated some of what came before the false ending.
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For Lovers of both Land and The Sea.
Cinema_Fan14 May 2006
Written under the pseudonym of R. A. Dick by Josephine Leslie, who wrote the 1945 novel The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and muir also being Gaelic for "the sea" . This publication was bought by 20th Century Fox, who then turned the helm over to Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Mr. Mankiewicz has the credit of directing this quaint little love cum ghost story, set around the fictitious English coastal area of Whitecliff-By-The Sea and its rustic Gull Cottage around the time of 1900. With the guest of honour going to the very beautiful Gene Tierney, as the head strong and fiercely independent young widowed mother, Mrs. Muir. Also piped on board is the charismatic and extremely talented Rex Harrison, as The Ghost. The ever suave and sophisticated actor George Sanders, as Miles Fairley, meets this three-way split love triangle at one point.

With a young child, Anna, on board, played by an exceptionally young Natalie Wood, as well as her maid, she sets sail and looks for her new life, away from London and her demanding and "blasted" in-laws.

Besides the early observations of Lucy's independent mind, the most noticeable piece in this movie is the beautiful musical score of one Bernard Herrmann.

Mr. Herrmann was born in 1911 in New York City, and whose work consists of Citizen Kane, The Day The Earth Stood Still, including, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo. This was to also include greats such as North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Jason and the Argonauts and the 1976 movie Taxi Driver, which was to be his last work before he passed away on Christmas Eve, 1975.

The score here has to be one of the most emotionally driven film scores I have had the pleasure to listen too. With its driving winds that highlight the ghostly suspense to the feeling of a ship lost in the doldrums of loneliness. This work has weighed anchor and cast adrift to the seas of emotion and the complexity of Love that only Old Father Time can Captain. Breathtaking and heart-warming.

To govern this toward the horizons in the light of day and with the stars at night is Charles Lang, with his sextant as his visual guide, a cinematographer who has set the course to stunning, majestic, haunting and most certainly atmospheric, to help propel this story of two love birds flying over the oceans of companionship. He has worked on The Magnificent Seven, How The West Was Won and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice amongst others. His work on Mrs. Muir was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White in 1948.

Adapting the novel to a level of emotional audience participation has been the work of Philip Dunne, who has the pedigree of The Last of the Mohicans and The Robe. This script has set sail to lands of intelligence, wit and humour, then to set anchor, occasionally, to remind us of the forbidden love and the seemingly impossible future, that a living being can fall in love, and be the recipient of love with a soul passed over. This is a script that will have your heart in the storms of both love and loss. Mr. Dunne has opened the heartstrings and made us look into the future, and the significance of the human need for Life. A powerful and deeply touching and mature script to set sail to.

In all, the name of this ship The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, is a ghost story, a love story that concerns both sea-lovers, land-lovers and with nothing but sea-grit, we are never to be shipped wreaked and marooned on the island of solitude. With a story this powerful, the sea-change will have us in our own vessel, to tick away the hours, the days, the months and the years of self-sacrifice, searching for that inevitable box of tissues.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a Grand Old Lady, sail upon her, and set the right course for Life.
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A Beautiful Romantic Fantasy
willowgreen17 February 2003
This 1947 film is a timeless delight for fans of classic Hollywood romantic films. Gene Tierney is stunningly beautiful as the independent widow Mrs. Lucy Muir, who takes her daughter (Natalie Wood) and housekeeper (Edna Best) along with her to live in the seaside abode known as Gull Cottage. The rumours of the cottage being haunted don't bother this rather bold young lady one whit - in fact, she's quite amused by the idea. As Captain Gregg, Rex Harrison is suitably manly and gruff: the chemistry between he and Tierney make the film work - in less capable hands, the film would appear ridiculously ludicrous in some ways. Edna Best is fine as Lucy's loyal companion/servant and Anna Lee is memorable as the uncommonly empathic wife of a roving cad - who is played with expertise by George Sanders. The black and white photography is exquisite and the special effects are first-rate. The ending will bring a "happy tear" to many an eye, so be forewarned & keep a tissue handy!
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A hidden but precious gem
pzanardo16 May 2000
"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is a hidden but precious gem. It is essentially perfect from every point of view: the direction by Mankiewicz, the acting by Gene Tierney (Mrs. Muir), Rex Harrison (captain Gregg), George Sanders, the performances by the supporting cast, the beautiful cinematography and the evocative setting on the lonely shores of Southern England. The basic idea in the plot is simple but original. The script is brilliant and sharply written: typical English wit and subtle humour, mingled with a nonsensical, funny, yet truly romantic love story. An amusing touch is one of the motives of the movie: the way captain Gregg's raw language affects Mrs. Muir's perfect manners. In the very opening scenes she utters "My blasted in-laws": nothing scandalous, but a bit strong for the mouth of a dignified English gentlewoman, isn't it? Remarkably, this movie is just Heaven for Gene Tierney's fans: she is on the screen from the first scene to the last one. Her beauty is like Mozart's music: it is both exciting and relaxing. Gene Tierney's presence is a worthy crown upon this little masterpiece, a pattern of good taste, well-used talent and professionality.
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