“I have roamed these halls for three centuries, and I am so tired — if only I could rest.”
A cowardly ghost (Charles Laughton) doomed to haunt his family’s castle until a descendant commits a brave act in his name hopes that a long-lost American kinsman (Robert Young) — with the help of the castle’s pint-sized owner, Lady Jessica (Margaret O’Brien) — will free him from his sentence.
- Charles Laughton Films
- Jules Dassin Films
- Margaret O’Brien Films
- Peter Lawford Films
- Robert Young Films
- World War II
Loosely adapted from an Oscar Wilde short story, The Canterville Ghost was updated to incorporate the arrival of American G.I.s in England during the height of WWII, emphasizing the importance not only of overcoming cowardice, but of Brits and Americans working together towards a common cause. It remains successful primarily as a light-hearted vehicle for the inimitable Charles Laughton, who is perfectly cast as the portly, forlorn ghost with outsized whiskers and striped bloomers. Equally enjoyable is his precocious co-star, Margaret O’Brien, who showcases her estimable acting chops at the ripe age of 6 (a year before she starred in her most famous film, Meet Me in St. Louis). Together, these two performers make this rather predictable and dated adventure worth sitting through.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Charles Laughton as Sir Simon de Canterville
- Margaret O’Brien as young Lady Jessica
- The American G.I.s breaking into “woogie boogie” (as Sir Simon charmingly refers to it) during a town dance
No, but it’s an enjoyably innocuous flick and worth checking out once.