Blithe Spirit


Action / Comedy / Fantasy

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 72%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 4347


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January 20, 2016 at 04:22 AM



Rex Harrison as Charles Condomine
Margaret Rutherford as Madame Arcati
Noel Coward as Narrator
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
673.92 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 1 / 3
1.43 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 1 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jacobs-greenwood 6 / 10

Somehow Margaret Rutherford's hilarious performance was under-appreciated at the time

Just prior to Brief Encounter (1945), director David Lean and screenwriters Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan adapted producer Noël Coward's droll play about a widower husband whose deceased wife 'haunts' his current marriage, taunting his current wife (also a widow) in this Technicolor comedy. Neame was also its cinematographer. Using many of the same techniques found in Topper (1937), it also earned Tom Howard the first of his two Oscars for Special Effects; the other was for Tom Thumb (1958).

It stars Rex Harrison as the widower Charles Condomine, Constance Cummings as his current wife Ruth, and Kay Hammond as his first - now deceased wife Elvira, essentially the title role. Margaret Rutherford plays a marvelously entertaining quirky character named Madame Arcati, who's a spiritualist or medium if you will, with the 'expertise' that summons the ghostly Elvira to the here-and-now, where her presence plays havoc with Charles's and Constance's relationship ... especially since no one can see or hear Elvira except Charles.

Charles has very little conversational discipline - he's unable to control his harsh repartee with Elvira - such that Constance believes he is insulting her, which causes their estrangement. After Charles convinces Elvira to make her presence known to Constance (by moving objects in the room), the situation is further exacerbated when Charles becomes all too comfortable with the arrangement: having both his wives around. But neither Constance nor Elvira like the status quo, which leads to a most unfortunate event, when one of Elvira's schemes to change the situation backfires, making it worse for her.

Reviewed by ksf-2 8 / 10

EARLY version of Coward's story

SPOILERS *** This one won the Oscar for best special effects.. the seance scenes, and Charles' ex-wife, as a ghost. This was one of David Lean's earlier directing gigs. He would go on to win TWO Oscars much later... River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. I had never seen this 1945 version of Blithe Spirit. Usually, movie channels or Turner shows one of the more recent ones... it MUST be a good story; they remade it so many times in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. The 1945 version has a YOUNG Rex Harrison (Charles), Constance Cummings (Ruth), and of course, Margaret Rutherford (was Jane Marple, for MANY years.) She will also get an Oscar for "VIPs". In the story, we meet the medium, Madame Arcati, at dinner, and she's already an odd character. At a seance, Elvira, the ex-wife, talks to Charles, but he's the only one who can hear her. and now that she has been summoned, she won't go away. and the current wife doesn't like it. she FINALLY admits that the first wife has actually come back. It's all pretty good. A hilarious scene where Ruth pulls the door-ringer right out of the wall, and barely even noticing, Madame Arcati takes it from her and puts it right back. Stuff happens, and the two wives antagonize each other. Another thing -- Hammond, the first wife, has a strange way of pronouncing the letter "S", so that's a little distracting. It's noel coward, so of course, the story itself is great. Apparently, Coward did not appreciate Lean's ending, so it does end quite differently than the play. Entertaining stuff. Several versions are available on DVD.

Reviewed by kijii 7 / 10

Noel Coward-David Lean's madcap comedy

This is another of the four Noel Coward-David Lean joint ventures. As I look though David Lean's DIRECTORAL filmography, I see that his career began with these Coward joint ventures, passed though a brief Dickens phase, ran through drama and romance period, and ended with those huge multi-award winning epics like: Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970), and A Passage to India (1984). In any case, I am determined to watch as many of his 18 movies as I can. Although Blithe Spirit was one of Coward's favorite plays, it is far from anything I would expect from Lean. It's probably his main mad cap comedy, in that it is notable for its silliness. It is 'the British version of the Topper movies, with live people forced to interact with playful ghosts from their past.

As the movie begins, mystery writer, Charles Condomine (Rex Harrison), and his wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings)—both previously married and widowed--are holding a party with friends. At the party, Charlie plans to do research (on the tricks of phony psychics) for his next novel. In this case, they hire the local soothsayer, Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford). Madam Arcati is an excited devotee of paranormal arts and practices. However, she is also a novice of her given trade. When the group holds a seance that evening, Arcati gets her incantations mixed up and brings back the spirit of Charlie's dead wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond). As in a Topper movie, only Charlie can see Elvira's ghost, and he looks like a fool to everyone else as he talks and interacts with her while she remains invisible to them.

As the story progresses, Charlie, Ruth, and Elvira's spirit all become upset. Ruth doesn't understand what's going on; Elvira really doesn't want to be there as a ghost; and the mix up of living with two wives—in two different psychic spheres at the same time--frustrates Charlie. Elvira finally gets her revenge on Ruth by killing her in a car accident. NOW the problem becomes that both wives are dead but neither of their ghosts has left Charlie 'to pass over to the other side.' Worst of all, getting rid of these apparitions can only be done with the help of the totally incompetent Madame Arcati. Though she enthusiastically accepts the challenge of getting rid of the ghosts; all of her chants, incantations, and textbook research on paranormal phenomena comically fail her. The plot may seem a bit hackneyed today, but with Rutherford's performance, anything old becomes totally new and refreshing again!!


In summer 1941, Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opened on the London stage, with Coward himself directing. Appearing as Madame Arcati, the genuine psychic, was Margaret Rutherford, in a role in which Coward had earlier envisaged her and which he then especially shaped for her. Later, Rutherford would carry her portrayal of Madame Arcati to the screen adaptation, David Lean's Blithe Spirit (1945). And not only would this become one of Rutherford's most memorable screen performances - with her bicycling about the Kentish countryside, cape fluttering behind her - but as well, it would establish the model for portraying that pseudo-soothsayer forever thereafter. (As Noel Coward had Margaret Rutherford in mind for his Madame Arcati creation, so, it is said, did Agatha Christie have Margaret Rutherford in mind for hers of Miss Marple.) Despite Dame Margaret Rutherford's appearances in more than 40 films, it is as Madame Arcati and as Miss Jane Marple that she will best be remembered.--- From IMDb's Mino Bio for Margaret Rutherford.

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