This is David Lean's 1945 colour adaptation of Noel Coward's play Blithe Spirit. I was planning to cover Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines this week, but then I heard about Blithe Spirit and decided to cap it instead. After all, it has Noel Coward's wonderful use of language and Margaret Rutherford playing an eccentric medium on a bicycle.
This is Charles (Rex Harrison) and Ruth. They've been married for five years and Charles' first wife, Elvira, has been dead for seven years.
I love the jeweled neckline on her dress.
Charles is a novelist and invites the Doctor and his wife over for dinner. He also invites Madame Arcati over to perform a seance so that he can get some atmosphere for his new book and possibly expose her as a fake. Don't you just love her velvet and lace dress.
Madame Arcati goes into a trance and Charles starts hearing a voice that no one else can hear.
But then Madame Arcati faints, the lights turn on and Charles can't believe that he heard a voice. After all, she is a phoney. Right?
Well, at least Madame Arcati is convinced that something did happen, even if everyone else is laughing behind her back.
Meanwhile, look who's dropped by for an after seance drink. It's Elvira.
Check out the huge pearl ring and the buttons on Ruth's sleeves.
Charles however is quite shocked to see his dead wife by the bar.
Particularly since he is the only one who can see and hear Elvira. Maybe he's going mad.
Elvira meanwhile, is insisting that Charles summoned her from the Other Side and decides to hang around for a while since she doesn't like what Ruth has done with the house.
Really Charles, how can you sit there in your paisley tie and tell that you weren't drunk and rude to me last night.
Because I wasn't drunk Ruth, Elvira appeared last night and I was talking to her.
The argument continues over lunch.
Meanwhile, Charles spends the whole day looking over his shoulder waiting for Elvira to show up.
Finally, Ruth decides to humour Charles in case he is going mad.
However, Charles counters by asking Elvira to carry the bowl of tulips around the room to convince Ruth that she's here.
So Ruth goes to see Madame Arcati.
Check out the Joan Crawford shoulders and the print's nice too.
However, Madame Arcati doesn't think that she'll be able to send Elvira back, but she'll keep looking.
Charles, however, is quite amused at the prospect of having both of his wives around.
Love this dress, mostly for the shoulders. Aren't decorative shoulders in at the moment?
Ruth goes to London to see if she can find a medium there to send Elvira back and when she returns, she find that Elvira has injured everyone in the house.
Why is it that whenever cooks or maids storm out of the house with their bags packed, they've always got a ratty fur slung around their shoulders?
Ruth decides to tell Charles the truth. That Elvira is trying to kill him and she's driving down to Madame Arcati's to see if she's made any progress.
However, Elvira was expecting Charles to drive the car and she sabotaged it.
After being haunted by Ruth, Elvira decides that she wants to go back.
Madame Arcati thinks that she's figured out a way involving salt and flowers.
No, she just summoned Ruth to see Charles.
Now that he's haunted by both his wives, Madame Arcati and Charles go back to his place to try every trick and seance in the book.
So, does Madame Arcati succeed or is Charles going to have to live with both of his wives until he dies?
The film is available on Region 2 and is available as part of a multi Region DVD The David Lean Collection. It's also available as an "alternative" free download, which actually downloads quite quickly (just Google it, I forget which site it's on). If you get this version, you have to play it in VLC and select the second track under audio.
Here is the original trailer: