The Ghost and Mrs Muir

1947 movie

If you haven’t seen it:

In The Ghost and Mrs Muir a young widow finds herself sharing her home with the ghost of a handsome sea captain.

At first the pair do not get on, but soon they develop an affection for each other. When another man comes onto the scene though, their relationship seems doomed.

On the surface this might appear to be a 1940s version of “Ghost” but without the funny psychic, the home-made pottery, the Richeous Brothers, or Patrick Swayze’s naked torso. However it is a very different film – there are some comic moments in The Ghost and Mrs Muir, but this is a fantasy romance movie rather than a comedy.

If you have seen it:

Scroll down for more.


SPOILER ALERT: The plot summary and comments below contain details that might spoil your enjoyment of the movie if you have not already seen it.

Plot:

The Ghost and Mrs Muir tells the story of widowed Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) and her daughter Anna (Natalie Wood), who decide to leave their stifling in-laws, and rent a house by the sea. The house is haunted however, by the ghost of the former owner, Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), who refuses to give up the house. Lucy and Daniel agree to share the house, keeping his existence a secret from Anna. In doing so they get to know each other well, and become close.

the-ghost-and-mrs-muir
Left to right – The Ghost, Mrs Muir

When Lucy has financial problems, Daniel offers to help by dictating his life story (“Blood and Swash”) to Lucy, which she writes down and takes to a publisher. The book is a success, but at the publishers Lucy meets Miles Fairley (George Sanders) who starts to woo her. When Daniel realizes that Lucy is also attracted to Miles, he decides to bow out and so that Lucy can have a chance at happiness.

However, Miles soon turns out to be a cad, with a wife in London, and Lucy ends the relationship. Daniel does not return though. Years later, Lucy believes she dreamt the captain up, until Anna (now grown up) reveals she remembers him too.

Years later still, Lucy is an old lady. She dies peacefully, and the captain is there, waiting for her. The spirit couple hold hands and go out into the sunshine together.

 

Trivia Trish Says:

  • “Muir” is Gaelic for “the sea.” There is a saying that all sailors are married to the sea.
  • The Ghost and Mrs Muir was remade as a sitcom in the late 1960s, set in contemporary times.
  • There were plans to remake it again as a movie in 1990, with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer, just after the pair made The Russia House. However, when that movie failed at the box office, the plans were cancelled.
  • When Anna Muir’s name is carved onto a post on the beach, for all ships to see, it is carved on the side facing the shore, the wrong side.

 

Steve Sunday Says:

Not my cup of tea, to be honest. The reason it is being recommended on this site is that Mrs Sunday is a big fan and has watched it many times. A lot of people love The Ghost and Mrs Muir – it has dozens of five star reviews on Amazon. Here are some genuine quotes:

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“Daniel’s farewell to his Lucia is one you will never forget and it’s easy to understand why Harrison was called Sexy Rexy back in the 40s”

“This is such a lovely wonderful film and it’s number four on my favourite films list!”

“I am able to excuse Gene Tierney’s difficulties with acting and watch the great talents of Mr Harrison and Mankiewics”

“By the end of the movie you sit there with a lump in your throat and you wish that you too could be haunted by a dashing sea captain!”

and of course…
“They truly do NOT make movies like this any more.”

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It is true that the movie has an old-fashioned charm, and the concept and ending are unusual. However I felt that the movie was too understated for my tastes, and it missed some opportunities – the comic potential of the house sharing arrangement is not realized, and also potentially dramatic circumstances surrounding Daniel’s death are hinted at but never explored.

Also, there is no such thing as ghosts.

 

Main Cast and Crew:

Gene Tierney … Lucy Muir
Rex Harrison … Capt. Daniel Gregg
George Sanders … Miles Fairley
Natalie Wood … Anna Muir as a Child
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