horror: Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit

A movie adaptation of Noel Coward’s play featuring some of the original theatrical cast.

Seeking background information for a new book, author Charles and his second wife Ruth (Constance Cummings) light-heartedly arrange for local mystic Madame Arcati to hold séance. But the séance has an unexpected result: Charles’ first wife Elvira (Kay Hammond) returns from beyond the grave to make his life something of a misery.

Charles is reluctantly driven to ask Madame Arcati to get rid of Elvira but instead of one ghostly wife he ends up with two – both determined to hang on to Charles for eternity.

Apparently Coward – despite having chosen David Lean to adapt the play for screen and to direct it – was not at all happy with the result. According to IMDb, he later asked Lean: ‘How the hell did you fuck up the best thing I ever did?’

The makeup

Tony Sforzini was the makeup artist.

Elvira’s colouring seemed to change from shot-to-shot as a result of using coloured lighting to ‘enhance’ her makeup.