Reviews for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ( 1947 ) 720p

A delightful, warm-hearted ghost story

By: that_ealing_feeling
Although I don't generally care for Rex Harrison's films - his typical role is that of a slick, sophisticated, superficial snob* - in The Ghost and Mrs Muir he projects a very engaging, masculine warmth and heart as the ghostly mariner, attractive to women and likable to men. He does it so well that I wish he'd done more work of the same kind, instead of swanning around in Mayfair drawing-rooms on stage and screen. Gene Tierney is infinitely lovable and vulnerable as Mrs Muir, and George Sanders is as delightfully devilish as ever (he played the same role all his life) in playing her lover. It's a pity that Hollywood seems to have lost its knack for warm-hearted, good-humoured ghost stories like this since the 1950s.

*Noel Coward, author of Harrison's greatest success, Blithe Spirit, once told him: "If you weren't the best light-comedy actor of your time, you'd be fit for nothing but selling second-hand Rolls-Royce cars in Curzon Street."** ** For the benefit of readers outside Britain, I should explain that this is an extremely high-class commercial street in the West End of London, formerly the centre of the up-market end of the used-car trade.

Romance From Plane To Plane

By: bkoganbing
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.

For Lovers of both Land and The Sea.

By: Cinema_Fan
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.

Great performances in an excellent fantasy film

By: The_Void
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!

"In my opinion, you are the most obstinate young woman I have ever met."

By: bensonmum2
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.

Romantic film about a supernatural love story

By: ma-cortes
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 .

This ole house is haunted

By: jotix100
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.

A childhood favorite that withstood the test of time

By: AnOKMovieNut
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.

A fabulous two-hour genre tour

By: BrandtSponseller
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 d├ęcor 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.

Ghost Writer

By: BumpyRide
I picked up this DVD because I just had to have it for some reason. I'm so glad I found it! From the opening scene I was hooked and I was off on a great adventure. Gene Tierney must have been the most beautiful actress ever to grace the silver screen, and she is stunningly beautiful here. The scene where she looks at Gull Cottage for the first time is beautifully photographed with great music as we enter the "haunted house." The only thing I found puzzling was why or how Mrs. Muir could rent the cottage for like 40+ years! I have one other criticism and that is that Gene plays Mrs. Muir as a saint. I'd love to see her lay into her husband's mother-in-law and sister-in-law but that didn't happen. Rex is great, strong and yes, virile! There did seem to be some missing scenes, especially with Natalie Wood. She's barely seen throughout the film. Despite all of my comments, this is a movie I'll watch over and over again.

Gruff sentimentality and subtle comedy

By: moonspinner55
The ghost of a manly sea captain, haunting his old seaside digs, is pleasantly surprised when an unfettered widow, her child and housekeeper move in and promise to bring new life to the place. Glossy romantic comedy isn't smothered with sentimentality, but rather uses it to a proper advantage (by disguising it in sly ways, as with Captain Gregg's salty machismo--which quietly gives way to very human feelings). Gene Tierney is appropriately proper and pinched (it's a period piece, after all), but she subtley blooms and has great chemistry with enchantingly buffoonish Rex Harrison, who isn't afraid to look like a windbag and yet makes points on Mrs. Muir besides. My only complaint would be in the second-half, in which the ghost decides to exit and leave Mrs. Muir to the human men of her choice (and after one failed dalliance, she gives up on love!). Otherwise, this is a first-rate fantasy, lovingly detailed and well-filmed, with the barest minimum of special effects (which enhances the emotions). Made into a very decent TV-series in the late 1960s. *** from ****

Enchanting, Comical, as well as haunting love story.

By: Mike-764
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.

Exquisite romance, like fine china

By: lora64
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.

Perhaps the greatest love story of all time

By: medusa41163
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.

I discovered it because of the music, but love it for the story

By: jackboot
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.