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4.8 out of 5 stars175
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 3 December 2005
The idea that love lives on after death has always appealed to the imaginations of cinema-goers as has been shown, in recent years especially, by the success of such movies as Ghost and Truly, Madly, Deeply, but fifty- odd years before these supernatural love stories were released, there was The Ghost and Mrs Muir.
Released in May 1947, and based quite closely on the 1945 book of the same name, The Ghost and Mrs Muir tells the story of Lucy Muir a young widow who decides she's had enough of having her life led for her by other people and sets off to make her own way in the world. Choosing the Cornish coastline as the location in which to begin her new life Lucy rents the charming Gull Cottage claiming the stories of its being haunted to be nonsense. However, when the ghost of Captain Daniel Gregg manifests itself in her kitchen Lucy is forced to start believing in the supernatural and, despite their differences, she and Captain Greg strike up a friendship which eventually turns to love.
The Ghost and Mrs Muir is an utterly enchanting film with much of its magic lying in the stunning performances given by its top-notch cast. Rex Harrison's plays the surly and argumentative Captain Gregg whose temper and demeanour softens as his friendship with Lucy grows. Harrison is wonderful as the Captain playing him as a strong masculine figure, a genuine man's man and man of the world, although his seaman's accent is a little over the top at times. Gene Tierney's Lucy Muir is beautiful and headstrong yet gentle and naive; the perfect foil to Harrison's Captain Gregg and the chemistry between the two is a joy to behold. George Sanders, too, is ideally cast as Lucy's smarmy suitor Miles Fairley.
However, despite their excellent performances, the actors take second place in this film to Charles Lang's gorgeous cinematography which earned him a well deserved Oscar nomination. The views of the foam topped waves crashing against cliffs which marks the passage of time in the film and the shots of the countryside surrounding Gull Cottage are given a moody, eerie beauty by the two colour Technicolor in which The Ghost and Mrs Muir is filmed and it is scene like these which make this film truly special. Together with Bernard Herrmann's haunting score, which echoes the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs, these scenes give the movie a wonderfully atmospheric feel.
The Ghost and Mrs Muir is by turns comic and tragic; comic because of characters like Mr Coombe the superstitious estate agent and tragic because we watch the relationship between the Captain and Lucy grow into something more than friendship, yet all the while we are aware that nothing can come of their relationship for, as the Captain himself says, he 'is spirit' and the scene in which he leaves his Lucia (his pet name for Lucy) is heartbreakingly poignant. Ultimately, however, The Ghost and Mrs Muir is romantic, though the romance is beautifully understated as the love between the two protagonists is never confessed or confirmed but merely implied through glances and gestures.
Despite it's few minor flaws such as the fact that it does not follow the book on which it is based quite as closely as it could have, Rex Harrison's rather grating accent and the long drawn out sea metaphors sometimes used by the Captain, The Ghost and Mrs Muir is a touching romance, lovingly made, which tells the story of two people perfect for each other who were never given the chance to be together in this world. It is a tale of impossible love, a love which can never be consummated and it is this which makes that final scene all the more moving and The Ghost and Mrs Muir a true classic.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2000
I love movies about impossible love, and this is one of my favourites. Lucy Muir, a young widow with a daughter, moves into Gull Cottage by the sea, and encounters the ghost of the former owner, Captain Gregg. He tries to frighten her into leaving, but she stays, and they fall in love. The beautiful soundtrack is full of the sounds of the sea, the seagulls and the melancholy of a love story which can't be resolved. Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney are perfect in their roles, and the supporting cast are wonderful, particularly Edna Best as Martha.
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on 26 August 2007
I challenge anyone to engage fully with this movie and not be moved to tears. Forget George Sanders in his trademark cad role - wonderful though he is. The real heart of this movie is the relationship between Gene Tierney's determined widow and Rex Harrison as the ghostly sea Captain. There's something about this etheral love that simply transcends description and touches the immortal nature of love as a meaning for life. Watch it. Get involved. But keep the tissues to hand.
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Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison capture our hearts, George Sanders tries to steal them away, but Rex Harrison is a ghost, slowly fading into non-existence. This is an impossible love story that cannot fail to move us.

The stunningly beautiful photography from Charles Lang was nominated for the 1947 Academy Award, and the outstanding score by Bernard Hermann should also have been. The direction by Joseph L Mankiewicz is excellent and the characters and their actions seem entirely natural, especially the abrasive sea captain who cannot quite control his coarseness in the presence of a genteel lady.

The Amazon summary and synopsis almost tell us too much, but having watched the film on TV a couple of times, we knew the story and still bought our own copy to be able to continue to enjoy it, especially since there is less and less worth watching on any TV these days.

The print is only B&W and shown in 4:3 with 2.0 `Stereo' sound, but the quality is as good as one might expect from 35mm, and one soon forgets this as the story and characters come to life and take a firm grip on our attention.

We find that a dark and wet and windy winter's night makes the perfect backdrop to watching this in the snug of our living room, and we always have tears in our eyes at the end.
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on 25 October 2005
This is a beautiful movie that works on many fronts. Lucie is a a strong independent lady living in an age where such women are not accepted by society.
Despite this she follows her true heart in first rejecting the inferior position her in-laws would have her accept, and then betraying all conventional wisdom by falling in love with a Ghost. The Ghost (Rex Harrison) is the only person who really understands her, but in his own way is really also a reflexion of her.
The Moral: be true to yourself.
The Story: A beatiful love story - for true romantics only.
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on 5 June 2005
Edwardian widow, Gene Tierney, flees her overbearing in-laws to buy a small cottage by the sea. With small daughter and maid in tow, the formidable Mrs Muir sets up home in this idyllic setting. However, the house is haunted by the ghost of a sea captain, who doesn't much care for women invading, what he still sees, as his home.
At first, the uncouth captain (played with bearded handsomeness by Rex Harrison) tries to scare off the beautiful widow, but to no avail. She is tough and unmoving. A bickering friendship then begins to develop between the prim lady and the worldly-wise sailor. She agrees to write the captain's memoirs for him (a great success). Gradually unspoken feelings begin to deepen between the two, despite the obvious impossibility of their relationship.
Eventually Mrs. Muir meets a charming writer who manages to seduce her. You know this guy is no good, because he's played by George Sanders (the arch cad of many Hollywood films).
What I love about this film is that it starts off as a light comedy, but as the film progresses, the mood darkens, and then darkens again. The years roll by, while Bernard Herrman's romantic and doom-laiden music, crashes like waves on a beach.
The ending is tragic, uplifting and very, very moving.
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Recently widowed Lucy Muir {Gene Tierney}, decides she has had enough of her overbearing in-laws and moves herself and her daughter out to Gull Cottage. A lovely place atop of a cliff and overlooking the sea, Gull Cottage has one other significant factor, it has the ghost of the previous owner and builder of the cottage, Captain Gregg {Rex Harrison} in residence.

Long before Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore were apparently putting the supernatural romance on the map, came this sweet, tender and funny Joseph L. Mankiewicz directed beauty. Adapted from the novel by R. A. Dick {alias Josephine Leslie}, The Ghost And Mrs Muir successfully blends a number of genre strands {romance/sci-fi/fantasy/comedy} to give us a throwback to when Hollywood knew what worked for its audience.

The first half of the picture is light and airy, as first Lucy and Gregg banter and bicker, only to find themselves drawn into a loving and warm relationship in spite of the impossibility of the situation. Any potential suitors to Lucy are unceremoniously dispatched by supernatural forces, as are the interfering in-laws. Here the chemistry between Tierney and Harrison is first class, and thus it really sets us up for the second half as Mankiewicz, adroit director as he was, is about to start pulling away at the old heart strings. Enter George Sanders {Miles Fairley} in suitably caddish mode. With he having designs on Lucy and she in a reality check reciprocation, the Captain Gregg and Mrs Muir bond is surely destined to fizzle away? Maybe? Perhaps? All of which is leading us to one of those finales, the kind that have been known to have the strongest of individuals reduced to mallow.

Technically the piece is as stunning as the story is. Mankiewicz threads it together neatly, tasteful and mindful in approach to the nature of the piece, he knew how to utilise Tierney and Harrison's sexual magnetism. Some of the framing of the pair inside Gull Cottage is a treat for the eyes. Bernard Herrmann scores it beautifully, at times it's rightly whimsical, at others it's poetic orchestration, a truly fabulous score from a man who has many other pieces of work on his CV. The photography from Charles Lang is lush and atmospheric {particularly the exterior seaside shots} and the art direction from George Davis fuses nicely with Mankiewicz' vision.

A bona fide gorgeous and moving film that comes from a truly fine decade for movies. 9/10
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on 11 March 2009
I first saw this film years ago and it always stuck in my mind. I bought this disc becasue it was offered at such a low price. Also, I was curious to see if the film was as good as I remembered, bearing in mind that I was around 9 when I first saw it on the television as a kid. I'm pleased to say that I absolutely loved the film and shed a little tear or two at the end. In fact I think it is a better film then I remembered, but as an adult I probabaly just appreciate it in different way. This film is very of its era, so if you don't like black and white movies, you are not going to like this one. I think this film has somethig for pretty much everyone though and if you are a fan of old films this really is one for you. Rex Harrison is wonderful and George Sanders is a usual the perfect cad. What a wonderful voice!
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on 23 November 2007
A lovely gentle way to spend the evening. Rex Harrison is marvellous as the ghost with his deep and expressive voice. George Sanders is splendidly caddish with the voice that my 11 year old daughter immediately recognised as Shere Khan. Gene Tierney was very decorative but put into the shade by the other two leads.

The cinematography was lovely and deserved its oscar nomination.

A nice gentle story.
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on 27 January 2014
I had been looking for this title on Blu Ray for some time as it is one of my favourite films but I was initially put off of purchasing this version as it it was a US import and I thought that it would require a region A blu ray player to be able to play the film in the United Kingdom. I purchased the film anyway as I intended to eventually buy a multi-region blu ray play but on loading this disc into my bog standard region B (UK) blue ray player I was amazed that it played and I was so impressed with the picture clarity.
So if you have you have considered buying this title on blu ray but have been put off because it says it is a US import, do not let this discourage you as it should play on your UK blu ray player and I'm sure, like me, you will not be disappointed.
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