Review: ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’

This is the story of a girl who falls in love with a ghost - but not an ordinary spook. As that girl, Gene Tierney gives, what undoubtedly is her best performance to date. It's warmly human and the out-of-this-world romance pulls audience sympathy with an infectious tug that never slackens. In his role as the lusty, seafaring shade, Rex Harrison commands the strongest attention.

This is the story of a girl who falls in love with a ghost – but not an ordinary spook. As that girl, Gene Tierney gives, what undoubtedly is her best performance to date. It’s warmly human and the out-of-this-world romance pulls audience sympathy with an infectious tug that never slackens. In his role as the lusty, seafaring shade, Rex Harrison commands the strongest attention.

Philip Dunne’s script lards the R. A. Dick novel with gusty humor and situations that belie the ghostly theme. Dialog makes full use of salty expressions to point up chuckles.

Plot, briefly, deals with young widow who leaves London at turn of century for a seaside cottage. The place is haunted by the ghost of its former owner, Capt Daniel Gregg. The salty shade seeks to frighten the widow away but she’s stubborn and stays. When her income is wiped out, the shade dictates to her his life story; she sells it as successful novel.

George Sanders is in briefly, and effectively, as a married lothario who makes a play for the widow, much to Capt Gregg’s discomfort. Edna Best shows brightly as the widow’s maid-companion. Natalie Wood, as the young daughter, is good, as is Vanessa Brown who becomes the grownup Anna.

1947: Nomination: Best B&W Cinematography

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Producer Fred Kohlmar; Screenplay Philip Dunne; Camera Charles Lang Jr; Editor Dorothy Spencer; Music Bernard Herrmann; Art Director Richard Day, George Davis

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1947. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Gene Tierney Rex Harrison George Sanders Edna Best Natalie Wood Robert Coote
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