Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)


“My dear, since Eve picked the apple, no woman has ever been taken entirely unawares.”

            The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a love story but not your typical love story. Yes, like all happy gooey romantic films the two main characters do wind up together in the end. But there is one obstacle that keeps Lucy Muir and Captain Gregg apart- he’s a ghost!
            Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) is a young widowed woman with a free spirit personality which is uncommon in the early 1900s. After the death of her husband the previous year she wants to move away from her in-laws in a stuffy home in London to the sea with her daughter.
            She takes her daughter Anna and her maid Martha to a small seaside town called Whitecliff. Lucy goes to a realtor named Mr. Coomb. He sits with her picking out houses she can afford. One house he dismisses and Lucy sees this so she takes a look at the paper herself. She sees that the house is perfect for her and demands that Mr. Coomb takes her there.
            The realtor is skittish when they pull up to the house. He tries everything he can to persuade Lucy not to buy it but she loves the house as soon as she sees it. Once inside her love for the home grows. The master bedroom has a wonderful window with a telescope facing the sea. All the sudden an evil sounding disembodied laugh can be heard. Mr. Coomb is so frightened he shuts the door with Lucy in the room and runs out the front door. Once outside the realtor tells Lucy that the house is haunted. This makes Lucy only want the house even more.
            A few days later, Lucy comes face to face with the ghost of Captain Gregg. He does not frighten Lucy, she just has to get used to him and him being a ghost. Both human and ghost are just as stubborn as the other. Gregg wants Lucy out of the house  like he has wanted so many other before and she desperately wants to stay in the house she has fallen in love with it. Gregg see that Lucy’s feelings for his home are genuine and he allows her to stay as long as his portrait from the living room can be hung in her room and she allows him to stick around as along he does not bother Anna since she is young.
            Lucy and Gregg become fond of each other. She loves hearing about how he lived such an adventurous life. He likes how innocent and kind she is. One day her in laws make a surprise visit. The sister-in law still thinks she’s a fool for moving to the seaside and the mother- in law is still a weepy pain. They tell her her husbands money has run out she now has nothing to live that now she should give up the house and move back with them.  On top of everything Gregg is still around and he keeps talking to Lucy and she talks backs making it look like she is talking to herself. Her in laws think she is cracking up talking to herself. Gregg tells Lucy to tell them to “shove off” and she does. Gregg then nicely escorts them out the front door.
            With no money left Lucy falls behind with the rent. Gregg says he can help he suggests that she writes a book about his life with him dictating. For a few weeks ghost and human work day and night on Blood and Swash. When the book is done Lucy takes the manuscript to publishers in London. There she meets children’s author Miles Fairley. At first she is repelled by his charm but after a while she falls for him.
            Gregg can see that Lucy is in love with Fairley. He feels he is holding her back from finding real love. At night when Lucy is sleeping he tells her the whole year had been a dream he was never there she was the one who wrote the book and came up with the story. With these parting words he leaves Lucy.


            Lucy has fallen head over heels in love with Fairley. She falls down harder that she wanted when she finds out Fairley is not the man she thought he was.
            I love this film. I have nothing awful to say about it. Gene Tierney was wonderful as Lucy Muir she was perfect. She was not playing a femme fatale or a gorgeous longing woman she was a widow who wanted to live, she wanted excitement in her life. Tierney excellently banters and matches wit with Rex Harrison as Captain Gregg. Never for one moment does she lose that spark of independence, yes she has a moment of weakness when it came to Fairley but other than that she was capable of getting by on her own. Tierney makes Lucy Muir warm and personable.
            Rex Harrison was also prefect in his role as Captain Gregg. The kind of evil laugh he did to scare people was so good it actually does give you shivers. You can really believe Harrison could have been an old cranky sea captain in real life.
            George Sanders in the films I have seen in him just has a knack for playing the slimy guys who are never up to any good. But I must say I probably would have fallen in love with him if I were Lucy, he was such a good smooth talker and that accent with that voice (ok that was weird but hey he was a guy with an English accent what can I say accents make everything sound nice).
            Bernard Herrmann the genius composer behind the Psycho score wrote the score for this film. Herrmann said that this was his favorite film score he had ever made. The score is so beautiful and emotional. You can almost feel the emotion of the music moving you and the emotions of the characters and the sea.
            The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a great love story. It is a different kind of love story that will keep your attention and adoration. The ending is so beautiful; it is the only ending that every time I see I still blub like a baby. This is a film that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and so happy and pleased to have watched.