The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

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A widow, through the mourning period, decides to uproot with her daughter and start anew in a house no one has been able to stay in.  They claim a ghost lives there.  The previous owner, Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), apparently committed suicide 4 years prior to Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) and her daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) moved in.  The captain reveals himself to Lucy and the two form a friendship, though rough at times, and Lucy eventually writes a book about Gregg’s life.  They have an argument as Lucy takes interest in another man, a living man, and Daniel makes Lucy believe that her interactions with him were all just a dream and she came up with the story all on her own.  The film then quickly skips through Lucy’s life: Anna grows up and has kids of her own, one of which is engaged to be married by the end, and finally Lucy dies, bringing about an interesting twist to end the film.

This movie was pretty straightforward.  I like how older movies rely more on acting and storytelling in contrast to today’s films, which rely more on gimmicks and special effects.  There’s almost a purity in performance with older films like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  It was a time when talent carried a movie as opposed to things like sex appeal.  Though Lucy eventually falls in love with another man in a  cliché way, the fact that it doesn’t play out helps, and eventually Lucy finds the one she wanted to end up with.

I haven’t seen very much of Rex Harrison, actually only My Fair Lady, but he does such a good job in this film being intimidating but vulnerable.  Honest and to the point, but never too over the top.  While the act of seeing and interacting with a ghost seems impossible, his acting and interaction with Lucy seems very real.

In a way this film was refreshing, specifically within the romance genre.  Today’s films are so cookie-cutter and predictable, plus being a guy I have to be in the right mood to somewhat enjoy, or at least tolerate, this kind of film.  The older look and era simplifies the story without being cliché and predictable.  The ending was sweet, I will admit that much.  Unfortunately I had read what would happen before seeing it, so the allure and surprise was lost for me.

I liked The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, but probably won’t see it again.  It’s one of those films that you can watch once and be okay with not watching again.  I have nothing against it: the film was well done, the acting was top-notch, the cinematography was appropriate for the subject matter.  It’s worth seeing, I’d recommend it.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

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