The Ghost & Mrs. Muir

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Ghost & Mrs. MuirThe Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1947) is based on a short novel by "R. A. Dick," pseudonym of Josephine Aimee Campbell Leslie. The film, like the book, is a romantic ghost story very like some of the works of Robert Nathan, but from a female perspective.

The ghost of Captain Grey lingers at Gull House, which he designed & built by the sea. He died in a little sooner than he intended, & just cannot leave his beloved home.

As played by Rex Harrison, he is gruff, poetic, demanding, attentive, exceedingly handsome, & a true romantic. He may have been scaring off tenants for the last four years since his death, but when the widowed Mrs. Muir stands up to him, friendship is certain.

Mrs. Muir as played by Gene Tierney is not as complex a character as the Captain but it certainly is convincing that she has fallen in love with a ghost.

The Ghost & Mrs. MuirEven Captain Gray does not think this is a fulfilling path for a beautiful young widowed mother with every chance of marrying again, unless she remains obsessed with the dead.

For much of the film it seems at least possible that Mrs. Muir is mad as a hatter & Captain Gray is her Imaginary Lover who keeps her from dealing with reality, as it seems he is never really perceived by the maid or Mrs. Muir's daughter. But by the end we've enough independent confirmation to fully believe in Captain Gray if we want.

Captain Grey's main haunt is Mrs. Muir's bedroom. Several scenes are barely this side of salacious.

The world-wise Captain is with her waking or sleeping, dressed or undressed, & by right of being a ghost he gets away with insinuations that would've been censored from any 1940s film wherein desires of the flesh could've been more easily fulfilled. Often they behave as a married couple with all domestic privileges with one another.

A tale that could so easily have become mawkish never is. The black & white cinematography is about as good as such cinema gets. The set design & restrained costuming & score & the wit of the script all reflect Hollywood at its best.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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