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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir title card

Year - 1947
Studio - 20th Century Fox
Stars -Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, Vanessa Brown, Anna Lee, Robert Coote, Natalie Wood,
Director - Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Writing Credits - R.A. Dick (novel), Philip Dunne
Music - Bernard Herrmann

Synopsis

Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) has been widowed about a year and is anxious to start her life anew, moving away from London and from her domineering in-laws. She rents a house by the sea, despite the real estate agent's warnings about its reputation for being haunted. There she moves in with her daughter, Anna (Natalie Wood) and maid, Martha (Edna Best).

The ghost of the previous owner, Captain Daniel Greg (Rex Harrison) soon appears and attempts to scare her away from the house. But Lucy is headstrong and determined not to be intimidated, and makes it clear to the cantankerous Captain that she intends to stay. Eventually they develop an understanding about their relationship and living arrangements, as well as an mutual affection.

Ghost and Mrs Muir poster

When Mrs. Muir's financial situation jeopardizes her ability to continue to rent the house, the Captain proposes that she will write a book, a biography of a sailor's life, dictated by him.

When the manuscript is completed, she takes it to a London publisher who has his own romantic notions about the seafaring life, and enthusiastically agrees to publish the book. At the publisher's office, Lucy meets Miles Fairley (George Sanders), a smooth talking charmer, who confides that his pen name is "Uncle Neddy", a successful author of children's' stories.

Miles pursues Lucy's affections and, not willing to spend the rest of her life as a widow, she believes she will accept his eventual marriage proposal. Martha, however, is not subtle in letting Lucy know about her dislike of Miles' character.

Captain Greg decides that the time has come for him to leave Lucy and, as she sleeps, he plants the suggestion with her that everything between them was something she only dreamed.

After Lucy visits the publisher's office to pick up her advance check for the book, she decides to look up Miles at his London address. There, she is greeted by Miles' wife, who tells Lucy that Miles is at the park with their two children. Seeing Lucy's reaction, the wife confides to her that "this is not the first time."

Disillusioned, Lucy lives out the rest of her life unmarried, with Martha's companionship. When her grown daughter, Anna (Vanessa Brown) visits from college, she tells her mother that she remembers having conversations with the ghost Captain as a child, now believing it to have been a dream. Lucy's memories and emotions about Captain Greg begin to return to her.

As an old woman, Lucy Muir dies peacefully while sitting in her bedroom chair. As life leaves her, Captain Greg appears before her, and she rises, once again young and beautiful, to him. They walk out of the house together, toward the sea.

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