Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ghost and Mrs Muir, The

US movie (1947). 20th Century-Fox. Pr Fred Kohlmar. Dir Joseph L Mankiewicz. Spfx Fred Sersen. Screenplay Philip Dunne. Based on The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947) by R A Dick (Josephine Leslie). Starring Edna Best (Martha Huggins), Vanessa Brown (adult Anna), Rex Harrison (Captain Daniel Gregg), George Sanders (Miles Fairley), Gene Tierney (Lucy Muir), Natalie Wood (Anna). 104 mins. B/w.

An exquisite Fin de Siècle romantic fantasy. Widow Lucy – with daughter Anna and maid Martha – rents seaside Gull Cottage, which proves a Haunted Dwelling. The Ghost, that of a sea captain, Gregg, tries at first to scare her away as he has done earlier tenants, but she defies him. In due course they fall in love. He dictates to her his autobiography which (TGAMM is fantasy, after all) a London publisher immediately buys on excellent terms. But she also meets suave lothario Fairley (a children's author, "Uncle Neddy"), and falls for him. Gregg does the decent thing and ceases to haunt her, deliberately twisting her Perception of events such that she believes their experiences together were all a Dream. But Fairley proves a deceiver, so Lucy settles down to a life of decent widowhood. Long after, however, the now grown-up Anna confesses that she, too, used to speak with Gregg; Lucy spends her final years expecting her lover to be there to meet her when she dies, which sure enough he does.

TGAMM was one of a spate of filmed romantic Ghost Stories – including Blithe Spirit (1945) and Portrait of Jennie (1948) – and is probably the best, largely because of the screenplay, which has greater depth than most, and includes some interesting speculation as to what ghosts actually are. This movie later inspired a tv series, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1968-1970), starring Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange. [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.