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.