Response to Peary’s Review:
David Lean’s adaptation of Noel Coward’s popular play is a uniquely comic look at life-after-death, one which makes good use of marital insecurities. Never before has a deceased wife caused so much trouble for the woman who has replaced her! As Peary notes, Harrison’s ego is inevitably stroked when he realizes he has two women fighting over him; despite his henpecked consternation, there’s a part of him that’s downright tickled. However, the highlight of the film is undoubtedly Margaret Rutherford as the sincere but trouble-making medium, Madame Arcati: from the moment she appears onscreen, riding her bicycle down the street with a satisfied grin on her face, she is enchanting, giving a strong and memorable character performance. Watch for the plot twists — things suddenly take an interesting turn — and then another…
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Margaret Rutherford’s outstanding performance as the irrepressible Madame Arcati
- Jacqueline Clarke as Edith, the bewildered maid who plays an unexpectedly important role in affairs
- The unusual but effective ghost makeup
Yes, simply for Rutherford’s performance.