Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Blithe Spirit

UK movie (1945). Two Cities/Noël Coward-Cineguild. Pr Noël Coward (1899-1973), Anthony Havelock-Allan. Dir David Lean. Spfx Tom Howard. Screenplay adapted by Havelock-Allan, Lean, Ronald Neame from the play Blithe Spirit (1941) by Coward. Starring Constance Cummings (Ruth Condomine), Kay Hammond (Elvira Condomine), Rex Harrison (Charles Condomine), Margaret Rutherford (Mme Arcati). 96 mins. Colour.

Novelist Charles, married to Ruth after the death of Elvira, hires batty medium Mme Arcati to hold a Séance, expecting a fraud. To his horror, the Ghost of Elvira arrives and refuses to leave; there develops a bizarre love-triangle, with Ruth seeking Exorcism to banish Elvira and Elvira seeking Charles's death so they can be reunited. But the car crash Elvira rigs kills Ruth instead, so now two shades covet the luckless writer . . . BS, though based quite closely on Coward's stage play (in which both Hammond and Harrison had starred), is very cinematic, thanks to fine camerawork and spfx. The dialogue is as barbed as one could wish. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.