Blithe Spirit Film Details
Overview: A man and his second wife are haunted by the ghost of his first wife.
Review: Having seen BLITHE SPIRIT several times since I was a kid and having seen it recently again, I finally realized why I never thought much of this film: the story just doesn’t make any sense at all. The set-up is excellent. Had the movie stayed at the same level as the beginning, it would have been a classic but somewhere in the middle, the film is derailed beyond repair with plot points that belie the whole set-up. The idea of a séance that accidentally beckons the ghost of a deceased wife, who then proceeds to start haunting her still living husband, who’s now married to a new wife, is filled with potential and the way it’s achieved in the first act is actually quite fun. But the second and third act don’t jibe at all: in the second act, Ruth and Charles realize that Elvira the Ghost wants Charles for herself and Elvira is planning on killing him so she can live for all eternity with her husband. But Elvira’s plan backfires as she inadvertently kills Ruth instead, who, when once dead, runs after Elvira and torments her (Charles doesn’t see the dead Ruth yet). With Ruth out of the picture, we only see Charles and Elvira the Ghost talking and reminiscing of their relationship. Suddenly, Elvira hates Charles, has always hated Charles and his boring life, and she even admits she had a fling with another man when she was still married to Charles. The two bicker on and on, and the comedy steams from the “how can I get rid of this annoying ex-wife from hell who is haunting me” plot line. This is when the story falls apart because the story doesn’t make any sense: if Elvira hated Charles so much and even had an affair with another man, why would she want to kill Charles so she can stay live with him permanently in the afterlife? Her actions of wanting Charles all to herself ended up with Ruth getting killed and yet Elvira loathes her husband? Plot point #1 that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Having lost a wife again and being haunted by a wife he despises, Charles is now desperate about his situation and wonders how to get rid of Elvira the Ghost. As he’s trying to get rid of Elvira with the help of the medium who started the whole mess, Madame Acarti (wonderfully played by the eccentric Margaret Rutherford) inadvertently summons the ghost of Ruth. Now Charles is haunted by two ex-wives, Elvira and Ruth. More wacky comedy ensues. As the story moves along, the medium finally realizes who is actually summoning these dead wives, because Charles is certainly not the one doing it: it’s the maid. Huh? Why? Why would the maid, who has psychic powers of some sort, summon Elvira and then Ruth? No explanation is ever given for this out-of-left-field storyline. I’m sure it has something to do with the very British “working class tormenting the upper class” thingy but even so, this makes plot point #2 that doesn’t make any sense. When they figure out who is responsible for the appearance of the two dead wives, the medium exorcises the house and the ghosts are banished. But at the very end of the film, the house is still haunted by some unseen ghost and the two dead wives weren’t really banished. Instead they deliberately cause a car accident which kills Charles, and at the very end, we see a ghostly Charles sitting in between Elvira and Ruth on some bridge. The whole comical conclusion belies the whole set-up: the only time we saw the ghosts of Elvira and Ruth occurred after some sort of séance and yet we now see Charles, as a ghost, sitting next to his dead wives, without having been summoned by anyone. Plot point #3 that doesn’t make any sense at all. The film is fun, sharply directed and the cast is wonderful and game but the story is completely bonkers. The whole thing feels like a play you’d see at a summer theater, the type of play no one really pays any attention to the story, a trifle little thing to see on a warm summer evening after downing a few gin and tonics. This film had the potential of being a classic but alas the story is so inconsistent with what it’s trying to set-up that it only works as a cute little movie with a cute cast and a cute idea that’s never fully realized.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English, Spanish
Duration: 96 min
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Also known as: Seans,Веселото привидение,Vaimoni kummittelee,Min fru går igen,Het schalkse spook,陽気な幽霊,Blithe Spirit,Un espectro travieso,Uma Mulher do Outro Mundo,Spirito allegro,Un espíritu burlón,Geisterkomödie,Ein lustiger Spuk,Ben Çağırmadım,Spot niet met spoken,Веселое привидение,L’espiègle revenante,Веселий привид,Abracadabra,Vidám kísértet,L’esprit s’amuse,Noel Coward’s ‘Blithe Spirit’,Elvira går igen,El espíritu burlón,Radosni duh,To poniron pnevma