… always …
Since Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit is currently on Broadway, it seems like a good time to look at the 1947 film, directed by David Lean.
With an evanescent greenish cast and semi-transparent, a beautiful ghost returns to stir things up with her novelist husband in the midst of his new life with a new wife.
People talking to the ghost in one direction when she’s really on the other side of the room … flowers carried from the table to the mantelpiece with no one carrying them … a seductive ghost … a suave and youthful Rex Harrison .. a terrific “great performance” medium played as an English eccentric by Margaret Rutherford … a common sense Constance Cummings as the second wife puzzling through inexplicably opening and closing doors … that’s a lot.
A broad percentage of the film’s appeal comes from the sheer allure of Kay Hammond as the ghostly first wife, with her throaty voice, ironic gaze, and the cast given by greenish overtones to her red lips. Lounging gracefully over the back of the sofa, she’s completely at home — so amusing.
The title comes from Shelley’s poem “To a Skylark” … “HAIL to thee, blithe spirit! Bird thou never wert — ” The film has a musical theme, “I’ll be loving you, always, with a love that’s true, always … ” Right, “always.” The plot is thin — but the fantasy is powerful!