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Sales Rank: 1,333
Actors: Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, Vanessa Brown Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz Rating: Features: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD, NTSC Running Time: 104 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Release Date: April 1, 2003 Theatrical Release Date: June 26, 1947 Studio: 20th Century Fox
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A romance between a young widow and a sea captain's ghost weaves a magical tale of immortal love. Determined to live her life the way she wants, newly widowed Lucy Muir Gene Tierney declines her straitlaced in-laws demand that she live with them and moves with her daughter a young Natalie Wood to the seaside into a cottage haunted by the handsome, blustering Captain Gregg Rex Harrison. A deal is struck between the two in the wee hours of the morning allowing Lucy to stay in the house and the captain to materalize only in the master bedroom. As they gradually get to know each other better, Lucy's spunk and stubborness gains first the captain's grudging respect, then his heart. But when another man woos Lucy, both must face that her future lies with the living, not in the spirit world.
Joseph Mankiewicz's moody classic is less ghost story than romantic fantasy, a handsome 1947 drama of impossible love set on the picturesque turn-of-the-century New England coast. Independent young widow Lucy Muir the luminous Gene Tierney, desperate to escape her uptight in-laws, falls in love with a grand seaside house and moves in, only to discover the cantankerous ghost of the hot-tempered Captain Gregg a histrionically flamboyant performance by Rex Harrison. Lucy refuses to let the bombastic captain frighten her away, earning his respect, his friendship, and later his love. They team up to turn the captain's salty memoirs into a bestseller, but as his affection grows he fades away, leaving Lucy free to undertake a more worldly suitor, notably a charismatic children's author George Sanders at his smarmy smoothest with his own guarded secret. Charles Lang's melancholy black-and-white photography and Bernard Herrmann's haunting score set the tone for this sublime adult drama, and Tierney delivers one of her most understated performances as the resolute Mrs. Muir. Mankiewicz turns this ghost story into a refreshingly mature and down-to-earth romance. --Sean Axmaker