Filled Under: Natalie Wood
THE SPIRIT… so willing! THE FLESH… so weak!
THE ROMANCE… so wonderful!
“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (1947 – 20th Century Fox) is a romantic fantasy film starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison along with George Sanders, Edna Best, and Natalie Wood. Produced by Fred Kohlmar and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the film was based on a 1945 novel of the same name written by Josephine Leslie under the pseudonym of R. A. Dick. In 1945, 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to the novel, which had been published only in the United Kingdom at that time. “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” was filmed entirely in California and released on June 26, 1947. Charles Lang was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White for his work on the film. Academy Award winner Bernard Herrmann wrote the score and while his work for this film was not nominated Herrmann considered his musical score for the “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” to have been his best.
The story line follows a strong willed widow Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) who, with her young daughter Anna (Natalie Wood) and their maid Martha Huggins (Edna Best), start a new life in a small seaside cottage in 1900 England. On their first night, Mrs. Muir is visited by the ghostly apparition of the former owner, a rough looking but harmless sea captain named Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). At first they are hostile towards each other and Mrs. Muir refuses to be scared off. As time goes by Mrs. Muir and Captain Gregg’s ghost grow to respect each other and become friends. When Mrs. Muir finds herself in financial trouble the Captain dictates to her a novel about his life entitled Blood and Swash. His racy recollections make the book a bestseller, allowing Mrs. Muir and her daughter Anna to stay in the seaside cottage and live comfortably. While writing the book, the Captain and Mrs. Muir learn more about each other and become closer, eventually falling in love. Knowing their situation is hopeless, Captain Gregg convinces Mrs. Muir to see ‘real men’. When Mrs. Muir meets Miles Fairlee (George Sanders) and declares her intention to marry him, Captain Gregg decides to disappear from her life permanently. While Mrs. Muir is asleep, he bids her a touching farewell and tells her that when she wakes up she will remember him only as a dream. Shortly afterwards, Mrs. Muir is devastated to learn that Miles is already married and was just stringing her along. She is heartbroken and returns to spend the rest of her life as a single woman in Gull Cottage with her maid Martha to look after her. Mrs. Muir spends a long peaceful life at the cottage. Captain Gregg appears before her at the moment of her death, reaching out, he lifts her young spirit free of her body. The two walk out of the front door arm in arm, into the mist and eternity together.
“You can be much more alone with other people than you are by yourself, even if it’s people you love. That sounds all mixed up, doesn’t it?” ~ Gene Tierney as Lucy Muir