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Blithe Spirit Movie Review

hammond kay rutherford elvira

Condomine (Rex Harrison) lives in the country with second wife Ruth (Constance Cummings), but the spirit of his delectable first wife Elvira (Kay Hammond) turns up to make mischief. Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) tries to return Elvira to the spirit world where she belongs, but Elvira has other ideas. As you might expect from director David Lean and that cast, this tale by Coward is deliciously well paced and played and the film even won an Oscar for special effects, which were state of the art by 1945 standards. If Rutherford had done nothing else in her career, she would reign in immortality as THE Madame Arcati. Instead, she's also THE Miss Letitia Prism, THE Duchess of Brighton, THE Miss Jane Marple, et cetera. (For the record, THIS Kay Hammond is NOT the Kay Hammond who played Mary Todd in D.W. Griffith's Abraham Lincoln 15 years earlier. Why do you think so many actors have three names today? Film historians have been trying to unravel the filmographies of same-named actors, like the Misses Hammond, for far too long.)

1945 96m/C GB Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond, Margaret Rutherford, Hugh Wakefield, Joyce Carey, Jacqueline Clarke; D: David Lean; W: Noel Coward, Anthony Havelock-Allan; C: Ronald Neame; M: Richard Addinsell. Academy Awards ‘46: Best Special Effects. VHS, DVD

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