- This article is about the 1945 film. For the play on which it was based, see Blithe Spirit .
(1945) is a British fantasy comedy film
directed by David Lean
. The screenplay by Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan
, Ronald Neame
, and Noël Coward
is based on Coward's 1941 play of the same name
. Its title is derived from the line "Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert" in the poem "To a Skylark
" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Seeking material for his fictional exposé of a criminal psychic, novelist Charles Condomine (Harrison) invites eccentric medium
Madame Arcati (Rutherford) to his home to conduct a séance
. As Charles, his wife of five years, Ruth (Cummings), and their guests the Bradmans restrain their laughter, Madame Arcati performs peculiar rituals and speaks with a propensity for clichés
. Upon its conclusion, Arcati obviously is concerned about an unexpected turn the session has taken, although the author and his guests are dubious anything extraordinary occurred.
Unknown to everyone, Madame Arcati has accidentally summoned the spirit of Charles' first wife Elvira (Hammond) during the séance, whose voice Charles can now hear, and Arcati faints during her trance. After Madame Arcati and the Bradmans have left, and Ruth has retired for the night, Elvira takes visual form. Charles, who is the only person capable of seeing Elvira, becomes both dismayed and amused by her sudden and unexpected presence. Complications ensue when Ruth... Read More