Inasmuch as this is largely a photographed copy of the stage play [by Noel Coward], the camerawork is outstandingly good and helps to put across the credibility of the ghost story more effectively than the flesh and blood performance does.

Inasmuch as this is largely a photographed copy of the stage play [by Noel Coward], the camerawork is outstandingly good and helps to put across the credibility of the ghost story more effectively than the flesh and blood performance does.

Acting honors go to Margaret Rutherford as Mme Arcati, a trance medium who makes you believe she’s on the level. There is nothing ethereal about this 200-pounder. Her dynamic personality has all the slapdash of Fairbanks Sr in his prime.

Kay Hammond, as dead Wife No 1, brings to the screen a faithful repetition of the performance she has been giving in the flesh for nearly four years. As a spoiled darling with murder in her heart for Wife No 2, she is as much a smiling menace as she is wistfully wraithlike.

As Ruth, the very much alive Wife No 2, Constance Cummings more than holds her own in an altogether capable cast – until her death in the automobile accident engineered by Elvira. As a ghost, Cummings is not at all convincing. As Charles Condomine, twice married novelist, Rex Harrison repeats his stage performance, which is so flawless as to merit some critics’ charge of under-acting.

1946: Best Special Effects

Blithe Spirit

UK

Production

Two Cities/Cineguild. Director David Lean; Producer Noel Coward; Screenplay David Lean, Ronald Neame, Anthony Havelock-Allan; Camera Ronald Neame; Editor Jack Harris; Music Richard Addinsell; Art Director C.P. Norman

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1945. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Rex Harrison Constance Cummings Kay Hammond Margaret Rutherford Hugh Wakefield Joyce Carey
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