The Canterville Ghost Film Details
Overview: The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.
Tagline: It puts you in the best of spirits!
Review: The film begins in the 17th century. In an odd bit of casting, portly Charles Laughton (age 45) is the younger brother of Peter Lawford (age 21 at the time of the making of this film). Charles is expected to fight for the honor of his noble family but instead turns and runs. As a result of this infamy, he is cursed to remain a ghost until a relative can perform a brave deed–a tough order to fill because the next 300 years saw coward after coward pass down the family line! Now, cut to 1943 and a regiment of American soldiers in the UK is stationed in Canterville Castle–the place haunted by the sad ghost. Through some coincidences only possible in movies, American soldier Robert Young discovers he’s related to the nice ghost and realizes he can break the curse by performing gallantly at war. THE CANTERVILLE GHOST is an enjoyable film–thanks mostly to a rather saccharine-like yet enjoyable performance by young Margaret O’Brien. On one hand, she’s so adorable that the cynical out there might just dismiss the whole thing. But on the other, at age 6, she was already a better actress than many adult professionals and only a true curmudgeon could hate her! When I was younger, I was not a particular fan of Margaret’s (hence, I was more of a curmudgeon) but over the years I have really come to appreciate her charm and talent. O’Brien is supported by Charles Laughton (as the ghost) and Robert Young. Laughton was often the scene stealer in films with his acting (and occasional over-acting) but here his blustery style was just fine for the ghost. As for Young, he had a typical “nice guy” performance. Considering how well he worked with O’Brien in this and other films, it’s not surprising that he was later cast as “America’s Dad” on television. So with some wonderful performances, most of the movie is lovely–typical MGM family fare with nice directing, writing and the full glossy treatment. The only problem is that towards the end, the film switched gear and became a kooky film–something that tended to cheapen the film significantly. While only a few minutes earlier Young was off bravely fighting the Nazis and the tension was great, just a bit later he was dragging a time bomb across the field in a scene that looked more at home in an Abbott and Costello film. Seeing the jeep jumping about wildly while towing a bomb through the middle of the regiment just looked dumb (and, by the way, this is NOT the best method of bomb disposal). This scene was a sad decision because the rest of the film was delightful. Still, even with this dumb finale, the film is solidly entertaining and you may just find your heart-strings tugged by sweet Margaret. And, if not, you’ll still probably enjoy the movie.
Country: United States
Duration: 95 min
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Also known as: A canterville-i kísértet,El fantasma de Canterville,The Canterville Ghost,Spöket på Canterville,Fantoma din Canterville,Το φάντασμα του Κάντερβιλ,Duch Canterville,幽霊は臆病者,Кентървилският призрак,Le fantôme de Canterville,Lo spettro di Canterville,Fantasmas à Solta,Das Gespenst von Canterville,Кентервильское привидение,Cantervillen kummitus,Beklenen kahraman,O Fantasma de Canterville