Blithe Spirit is a 1945 British fantasy-comedy film directed by David Lean. The screenplay by Lean, cinematographer Ronald Neame and associate producer Anthony Havelock-Allan, is based on actor/director/producer and playwright Noël Coward's 1941 play of the same name, the title of which is derived from the line \"Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert\" in the poem \"To a Skylark\" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The song \"Always\", written by Irving Berlin, is an important plot element in \"Blithe Spirit\".
Ruth seeks Madame Arcati's help in sending Elvira back where she came from, but the medium confesses that she does not know quite how to do so. Ruth warns her disbelieving husband that Elvira is seeking to be reunited with him by arranging his mortal demise. However, ghostly Elvira's mischievous plan backfires; as a result, it is Ruth, not Charles, who drives off in the car she has tampered with and ends up dead. A vengeful Ruth, now too in spirit form, harasses Elvira to the point where she wants to depart the earthly realm.
In desperation, Charles seeks Madame Arcati's help. Various incantations fail, until Arcati realises that it was the Condomines' maid Edith who summoned Elvira. Arcati appears to succeed in sending the spirits away, but it soon becomes clear that both have remained. Acting on Madame Arcati's suggestion, Charles sets out on a long vacation, but he has a fatal accident while driving away and joins his late wives as a spirit himself.
The play had been a major success, and Coward advised Lean not to jeopardise this with the adaptation, telling him \"Just photograph it, dear boy\". In spite of this, Lean made a number of changes such as adding exterior scenes, whereas the play had been set entirely in a single room, showing scenes like the car journey to Folkestone which had only been referred to in the play. Perhaps most importantly, the final scene, in which Charles dies and joins his two wives as a spirit, does not occur in the play, which ends with his leaving his house after taunting his former wives, of whom he is now free. Coward objected strenuously to this change, charging Cineguild with having ruined the best play he ever wrote.
The play had been a major success, and Noël Coward advised Sir David Lean not to jeopardize this with the adaptation, telling him, \"Just photograph it, dear boy\". In spite of this, Lean made several changes, such as adding exterior scenes (The play had been set entirely in a single room.) and showing scenes like the car journey to Folkestone (which had only been referred to in the play). He also filmed several moments of Ruth's point-of-view while Elvira is in the room - Charles talking to no one or a bowl of flowers crossing the room by themselves - which would obviously have been impossible on the stage. Perhaps most importantly, the movie's final scene, in which Charles dies and joins his two wives as a spirit, does not occur in the play. It ends with Charles leaving his house after taunting his former wives, of whom he is now free. This addition may have been due to the insistence of the censorship board. Nonetheless, Coward objected strenuously to this change, charging Cineguild (and Lean) with having ruined the best play he ever wrote.
Hammond, in her floaty green chiffon gown, green hair and pale make-up, is a sexy and mischievous Elvira, employing her throaty, theatrical drawl to good comic effect. The American actress Constance Cummings' Ruth, by contrast, is brisk and sensible. Margaret Rutherford's performance of Madame Arcati has passed into theatre legend and she recreates the role of the eccentric and rather incompetent medium effectively for film. Her joy at the realisation that she has actually managed to summon up a spirit is beautifully judged.
Synopsis: Charlie and his second wife, Ruth, are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira. Medium Madame Arcati tries to help things out by contacting the ghost. (IMDB)
It was only four years after being written that a version was prepared for screen with an impressive cast. Rex Harrison (yet to be cast as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, which would earn him an Oscar) was chosen to play the novelist and aristocrat, Charles Condomine (in the new adaptation, played by Dan Stevens), with the very beautiful Constance Cummings, as Ruth Condomine, his wife (played by Isla Fisher in the new version). Kay Hammond was cast as Elvira Condomine, the ex-wife whose spirit returns to haunt her former husband; aesthetically not far off Leslie Mann who is cast in the 2020 version (think: blonde curls and red lips). The clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, was played by Margaret Rutherford in the original and this time round, by Dame Judi Dench.
Movie Viewing Guide Questions and Graphic Organizers for Blithe Spirit (1945). Rated G. Satirical Comedy based on the play by Noel Coward. Great extension activities for Film Studies, Comedy, Theater, Characterization, or Dramatic Analysis Lessons. This resource contains a full pdf file of the product and links to Google Drive Documents/Slides that can be used with Google Classroom. Assign in Google Classroom or Print and leave as Sub Plans.
A spiritualist medium holds a seance for a writer suffering from writers block but accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife which leads to an increasingly complex love triangle with his current wife of five years.
Sir Rex Harrison was a star of stage and screen for sixty years, known best for his role as Professor Henry Higgins in the musical play and film My Fair Lady, a role that brought him a Tony (1957) and and Oscar (1965). Harrison began on the English stage in the 1920s and appeared in his first film in 1930. By the end of the '30s he was a leading man, especially good as a witty sophisticate in British black-tie comedies. After World War II -- Harrison was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force -- he began making movies in America as well as in Britain, including Blithe Spirit (1945, directed by David Lean), Anna and the King of Siam (1946) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947, with young Natalie Wood). He was also a hit on Broadway and won a Tony in 1949 for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in the play Anne of the Thousand Days. He became an international star by the early 1960s, thanks to the huge success of My Fair Lady on stage in New York and London (1958-62), an Oscar nomination for his role as Caesar in the Elizabeth Taylor film Cleopatra (1963) and an Oscar win for the film version of My Fair Lady (1964, co-starring Audrey Hepburn). His other films include Midnight Lace (1960, with Doris Day), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965, starring Charlton Heston ) and Dr. Doolittle (1967). 59ce067264