Blithe Spirit 1945 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(85) IMDb 7.1/10
Available in HD
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David Lean's delightful film version of NoŽl Coward's theater sensation stars Rex Harrison as a novelist who cheekily invites a medium to his house to conduct a sťance, hoping the experience will inspire a book he's working on. Things go decidedly not as planned when she summons the spirit of his dead first wife, a severe inconvenience for his current one.

Starring:
Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings
Runtime:
1 hour 37 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Blithe Spirit

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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Comedy
Director David Lean
Starring Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings
Supporting actors Kay Hammond, Margaret Rutherford, Hugh Wakefield, Joyce Carey, Jacqueline Clarke, Marie Ault, Noel Coward, Johnnie Schofield
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

The disk played for about 15 minutes, then quit.
Richard Raun
Hopefully, nah, make that "surely" this will happen some time in the future, as it almost always does.
"cinescoper"
I'm so glad I purchased it instead of just renting it!
Madison Skye

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Noel Coward's popular stage comedy BLITHE SPIRIT comes to the screen with considerable charm and notable performances from Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, and Margaret Rutherford in this fantasy of a married man whose seance party inadverdently summons up the ghost of his first wife--who promptly moves in, turning him into an "astrial bigamist."
The Coward script, which zips along with cool one liners, is well played in the best British 'throw-away' tradition, quick, light, and more than a little acid. Harrison is neatly cast as the hag-ridden husband, Cummings is particularly charming as the terse second wife, and Dame Margaret Rutherford steals the show as the slightly dotty medium who conjures up the ghost of Harrison's first wife and then can't get rid of her. Fans of cool English comedy will enjoy it considerably; others, however, may find it all a bit too restrained for their tastes.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2004
Format: DVD
This is a review of the script, acting and direction; not of the DVD. This is vintage, brittle Coward. It will obviously not appeal to young, brash kids, who will not be able to believe that English people between the two World Wars actually spoke, thought and behaved like this. However, they did. Or some of them did. In fact, I can remember them doing it: they were just exactly like the older members of my own family. The writing is brilliant, precise and accurate. Strange as it may seem, there actually were people like Madame Arcati: eccentric English spinsters repeating the mannerisms and slang of their schooldays. The plotting is extremely clever: you continually wonder how Coward is going to keep the plates spinning in the air, and are constantly surprised at his deftness and dexterity. The lines are poised and sharp, if slightly one-note. The direction is faultless, but then this kind of play almost directs itself. I feel sorry for those who cannot appreciate the theatrical skills displayed in this performance, or the verbal and mental adroitness being displayed. Modern film technology and techniques are no substitutes.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jill Kalter on October 22, 2001
Format: DVD
I purchased this DVD without ever having seen the movie, but I figured I couldn't go wrong with David Lean, Rex Harrison, and Noel Coward. Unfortunately, I didn't take DVD production values (or lack thereof) into consideration.
This is probably a wonderful movie, but the DVD is unwatchable. The sound is absolutely abysmal. I wasn't able to make out Noel Coward's dialog at all. Don't bother getting this DVD; wait for a better transfer.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is the film adaptation of Noel Coward's comedic play. It is a fast-paced, drolly funny, comedic fantasy of the kind in which the British always excel. The screenplay is sharply acerbic and witty, with the actors engaged in the rapid-fire delivery of its lines. As they say, timing is everything, and here, the timing could not be better.

The plot revolves a well-known novelist, Charles Condomine, played by the ever urbane Rex Harrison. He has been married to his second wife, the no-nonsense Ruth (Constance Cummings) for the past five years, after having been a widower for seven. They live in a lovely house in the English countryside. As part of his research for a new novel that he is writing, he has arranged for a small dinner party, inviting another couple as well as an eccentric medium who calls herself Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford).

After dinner, Madame Arcati conducts a seance. She makes a series of rather odd and funny attempts to speak to the spirit world, and something changes, but the only one who knows it is Charles. It seems that Madame Arcati has conjured up the spirit of his long dead wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond), but the only one who can see and hear her is him.

Of course, the re-appearance of Elvira creates all kinds of mischief in the household, both upstairs and downstairs. Needless to say, Ruth is not happy, when Charles reveals what has happened, and while initially skeptical, she quickly becomes a believer when she sees things happen that are otherwise inexplicable.

When it becomes clear that Elvira is not going to go willingly, and Ruth is not going to let her rival stay without putting up a fight, Charles is caught in the middle.
Read more ›
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "cinescoper" on November 22, 1999
Format: DVD
This delightful movie by David Lean deserves a much better transfer/print than the one present in this DVD. Hopefully, nah, make that "surely" this will happen some time in the future, as it almost always does. If you can't wait to own this film on DVD, go for it. But beware, the colors are either washed out, too yellow or too green, and the sound is very poor (despite the Dolby Digital Mono) and most of the dialogue is practically incomprehensible. The quality of this DVD is in fact so poor that it is completely distracting, such that you spend more time struggling to imagine what the film would look and sound like in the right version than enjoying what it is.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: DVD
Blithe Spirit is a bright, sophisticated comedy. The film is brilliantly acted and the humor still holds up today. Unfortunately, whatever the source is of this DVD transfer, the soundtrack sounds as if it is playing at munchkin-like speed and lip-sync is seldom achieved. See it on PBS where a better copy is shown. If you buy this disc it will wind up gathering dust after the first viewing - it isn't watchable.
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