Blithe Spirit - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blithe Spirit Reviews

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January 19, 2018
Blithe Spirit is a disappointing film. It is about Charles and his second wife, Ruth, who are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira. Rex Harrison and Constance Cummings give terrible performances. The screenplay is badly written. David Lean did a horrible job directing this movie. I was not impressed with this motion picture.
½ September 24, 2017
Cowards play holds up well. Margaret Rutherford steals every scene she is in.
½ March 31, 2017
Etheric shenanigans.
½ December 15, 2016
Dr Strangelove and Fargo before black comedy was a thing!
December 15, 2016
A silly comedy, but charming nonetheless.
November 12, 2016
another one of director david lean's 'minor' films but oh so good
October 27, 2016
A comparably middling effort from David Lean, which takes cheesily applied ghost appearances; combines it with good special effects, some smart cinematography and a diverting story; and produces a ghost comedy that's straight out of drama class.
September 6, 2016
If you don't have anything good to say don't say anything at all. Society has lost the quality films that had morals. Today's writers and directors do not know how to even begin to write a wonderful film such as Blithe Spirit.
May 24, 2016
A charming British Colour Film that was based on Noel Coward's hit play on West End called Blithe Spirit.

The story is a clever premise a country side British couple invite a physic for dinner & she accidentally summons the ghost of the husbands ex wife.

The couple spend most of their time trying to remove the ghost & in the process his current wife dies & he is stuck with 2 ghosts. A charming comedy filmed in beautiful technicolor.
½ March 15, 2016
Classic supernatural comedy from Noel Coward is as sparkling and witty today as when it was first devised. Starring the inimitable Rex Harrison, with Margaret Rutherford as the dotty medium, Madame Arcati.
½ March 5, 2014
I'm not sure that Lean made many comedies but this is worth the admission fee. Very funny and very quirky.
½ January 29, 2014
Blithe Spirit (David Lean, 1945)

David Lean is one of those "all the pros are really in love with this guy" directors whose films I rarely seem to get round to watching. This confuses me somewhat, because when I do watch a Lean film, I find it immensely enjoyable; I've only seen two so far, but Lawrence of Arabia, as of this writing, is sitting at #121 on my all-time top 1000 list, and Blithe Spirit entered the list at #541. Both are phenomenal pictures. A stage performance of Blithe Spirit had just closed its run right across the street from where I work a couple of weeks before I sat down to watch the movie; by the time it was over, I was kicking myself for not having gone to see the play. That strikes me as the best recommendation I can give the silly, wonderful thing.

Charles Condomine (My Fair Lady's Rex Harrison) and his new wife Ruth (The Criminal Code's Constance Cummings) have moved back into the old pile after the honeymoon. The only problem is, the ghost of Charles' late first wife, Elvira (Two on a Doorstep's Kay Hammond), is still very much around and causing mischief for the happy couple. Charles, distressed by the goings-on, hires the medium Madame Arcati (the wondrous comic actress Margaret Rutherford) to get to the bottom of things-which just makes Elvira all the more determined to pursue her ulterior agenda...

As you can tell by the first paragraph, I am shockingly unfamiliar with the work of David Lean. But between this and Lawrence, which are such entirely different pieces of work, I find it hard to believe the man could have done anything wrong. Lawrence is a massive four-hour (admittedly quite doctored) biopic, epic in every way, dramatic and sweeping and saturated with those brilliant, brilliant colors. This movie is its polar opposite in every way-lean, slapstick, looking almost colorized, intimate and packed with impeccable comic timing. The ending is a bit of a downer-no, wait, that's the wrong word for it. Compared to the rest of the movie, quality-wise, the ending is a bit of a downer; it's the one place where Lean steps over the line from brilliant slapstick into cheesiness (it's Jerry Lewis as opposed to the Preston Sturges of the rest of the film). But that doesn't matter much, because the rest of it is so good. Well worth your time. *** 1/2
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2013
Considering the strength of the source material, its surprising the film feels so stale. The cast is alright, but one gets the sense that Lean wasn't that invested in directing this movie.
December 8, 2013
Witty, entertaining and good fun overall.
November 1, 2013
According to the IMDb, Noel Coward thought David Lean screwed up his play in translating it to the screen. Probably, it did lose something because it starts out witty and snappy but descends into less funniness. Nevertheless, Rex Harrison, looking young, is the writer who manages to conjure up his dead first wife from the spirit world (with the help of very wacky medium Margaret Rutherford) much to the consternation of his current wife. So, the set up is great (bringing to mind that Robyn Hitchcock song) but the current wife, played by Constance Cummings, is too hard and too unsympathetic to keep the comedy alive. The final pay-off doesn't quite bring the chortles either. Lean was much better in his Dickens' adaptations.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2013
My final David Lean, Noel Coward adaption I viewed was Blithe Spirit. I fell in love with this movie. There's no paranormal movie quiet like this. It's elegant in humor and moves quickly. There are no scares, it's more in depth on the idea of the other world, and a humorous view of how life is after you die. David Lean morphed the dead with the living, when an estranged wife comes to "visit" her husband and his second wife. She terrorizes the family through this, and a quote brought up early in this movie really summarizes it well. " It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit". Not only is it a great line but it is perfect in the film. Harrison, Cummings, and Hamond have great on screen chemistry, making this an amazing feel good comedy.
½ April 18, 2013
A true classic for me, saw it when I was a child and every time I watch it again I appreciate it even more.
½ December 4, 2012
Dame Margaret Rutherford at her very best--A refreshing and humorous movie!!
November 16, 2012
Disappointing. Other than the annoying unrealistically rapid dialogue, the script is verbose, the character of the medium is extremely irritating and the whole thing is very cosy and dated indeed. It's from 1945, but it could just as easily be Victorian. The basic premise is almost amusing and might make for a decent comedy if it was remade and written for a modern setting. As it stands though, it plays like a cross between Randall & Hopkirk and Rentaghost, but not as good as either of them. A tiresome 6/10.
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