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Blithe Spirit (1945)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Fantasy | 14 May 1945 (UK)
Charles (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings), are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

David Lean (adapted for the screen by), Ronald Neame (adapted for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rex Harrison ... Charles Condomine
Constance Cummings ... Ruth Condomine
Kay Hammond ... Elvira Condomine
Margaret Rutherford ... Madame Arcati
Hugh Wakefield ... Dr. George Bradman
Joyce Carey ... Violet Bradman
Jacqueline Clarke ... Edith (as Jaqueline Clarke)
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Storyline

To get background for a new book, author Charles Condomine (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife Ruth (Constance Cummings) light-heartedly arrange for local mystic Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) to give a séance. The unfortunate result is that Charles' first wife Elvira (Kay Hammond) returns from beyond the grave to make his life something of a misery. Ruth too gets increasingly irritated with her supernatural rival, but Madame Arcati is at her wit's end as to how to sort things out. Written by J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Noel Coward's Super-Naturally Spicy Screen Entertainment See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 1945 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Uma Mulher do Outro Mundo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kay Hammond did not appear in the original movie trailer; instead doors and windows were shown opening and closing to indicate her presence. See more »

Goofs

After requesting, and drinking "Dry Martinis" the liquid in the glasses is distinctly brown instead of clear. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
words on a Victorian sampler: "When we are young / We read and believe / The most fantastic things. / When we are older / We learn with regret / That these things cannot be"
Narrator: We are quite, quite wrong!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The voice at the end of the credits page that utters, "We are quite, quite WRONG!" is Noël Coward's See more »

Connections

Featured in The Art of Directing: David Lean (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Always
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Jacqueline Clarke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Spiritual mirth is a joyous thing.
4 March 2008 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Blithe Spirit is directed by David Lean and adapted from by Noel Coward's play by Lean, Coward, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan. The title Blithe Spirit was devised out of the poem by "To a Skylark" written by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The film stars Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond and Margaret Rutherford. Music is by Richard Addinsell and Neame is the photographer. Plot finds Charles (Harrison) and his second wife Ruth (Cummings) haunted by the ghost of Charles' first wife, Elvira (Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Rutherford) is enlisted to try and help. Things get colourful to say the least...

Written by a maestro and directed by someone so gifted, Blithe Spirit is a fantastical comedy that gladdens and lifts the spirits (no pun intended) to the point that this viewer always wears a grin 12 hours after watching it. Noel Coward's witty approach is given perfect treatment from David Lean and a cast clearly having fun with the material to hand. Rex Harrison is all fresh faced and youthful, whilst some of his mannerisms of incredulity and cheek are a joy to behold, while Constance Cummings & Kay Hammond bounce off each other with electrical mirth. However, it is Margaret Rutherford's show all the way, her portrayal of the batty, almost maniacal, medium Madame Arcati is a lesson in visual and well delivered oral comedy, it is something that on its own is worth watching the film for.

Ghostly goings on with a cracking turn of events at the hour mark, mark this out as a truly delightful movie, thankfully we get an ending that is perfect and in tune as regards the fun that has gone before it. Essential viewing for the classic comedy fan. 9/10


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