• United Kingdom
  • 1945
  • 96 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #606

Blithe Spirit, David Lean’s delightful film version of Noël Coward’s theater sensation (onstage, it broke London box-office records before hitting Broadway), stars Rex Harrison as a novelist who cheekily invites a medium (Margaret Rutherford) to his house to conduct a séance, hoping the experience will inspire a book he’s working on. Things go decidedly not as planned when she summons the spirit of his dead first wife (Kay Hammond), a severe inconvenience for his current one (Constance Cummings). Employing Oscar-winning special effects to spruce up Coward’s theatrical farce, Blithe Spirit is a sprightly supernatural comedy with winning performances.

Cast

Charles CondomineRex Harrison
RuthConstance Cummings
ElviraKay Hammond
Madame ArcatiMargaret Rutherford
Dr. BradmanHugh Wakefield
Mrs. BradmanJoyce Carey
EdithJacqueline Clarke

Credits

DirectorDavid Lean
ProducerNoël Coward
From the play byNoël Coward
Adapted byDavid Lean, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan
Photographed byRonald Neame
In charge of productionAnthony Havelock-Allan
Musical score composed byRichard Addinsell
Played byThe London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted byMuir Matheson
Film editorJack Harris

Disc Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer of the BFI National Archive’s 2008 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview about the film with Noël Coward scholar Barry Day
  • Episode of the British television series The Southbank Show from 1992 on the life and career of Coward
  • Trailer

Film Essays

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Blithe Spirit: Present Magic

By Geoffrey O’BrienMarch 27, 2012

In David Lean’s hands, Noël Coward’s hit lark becomes deadpan human comedy. Read more »


Film Essays

Current_thumb_345_085_thumbnail

When Noël Met David . . .

By Ian ChristieMarch 27, 2012

In which an already iconic playwright comes to appreciate cinema and a soon-to-be legendary . . . Read more »

Photo Galleries


Film Essays

Currentthumb_263_246_thumbnail

Blithe Spirit: Present Magic

By Geoffrey O’BrienMarch 27, 2012

In David Lean’s hands, Noël Coward’s hit lark becomes deadpan human comedy. Read more »


Film Essays

Current_thumb_345_085_thumbnail

When Noël Met David . . .

By Ian ChristieMarch 27, 2012

In which an already iconic playwright comes to appreciate cinema and a soon-to-be legendary . . . Read more »


News

345_036thumb_thumbnail

Noël Coward in New York

March 07, 2012

A celebration of one of the great cosmopolites of the twentieth century, in one of the . . . Read more »