Winter Driving Best Books of the Month Valentine's Day Shop Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon King easycohice_2016 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty V-Day Valentine's Day Cards Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer chiraq chiraq chiraq  Amazon Echo All-New Fire Kindle Paperwhite Prime Exclusive Savings in Video Games Shop Now Sale

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars167
Format: DVDChange
Price:$17.49+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on February 26, 2003
Based on a short story by non other than the legendary Oscar Wilde this version of the "The Canterville Ghost" makes really delightful viewing boasting top notch production values, a superb cast in fine form, and a terrific look that gives the film an appealing and enjoyable appearance.
Being in theory a ghost story the story is full of much well seasoned comedy and really is a film suitable for the whole family to enjoy. I tend to watch this film around Christmas each year and never fail to enjoy the high spirited carryings on of Charles Laughton in what I feel is one of his most appealing roles. "The Canterville Ghost", set in one of those far off misty castles that only MGM could cunger up, tells the story of how Sir. Simon de Canterville through an act of cowardice is walled up in a room of the castle and is doomed to walk the face of the earth for all eternity unless a relative can commit an act of bravery to lift the curse from him. The story jumps ahead a few centuries to the present (1944) where the castle is occupied by visiting soldiers involved in the war. Among them is Sir. Simon's distant relative Cuffy Williams (Robert Young at his most endearing) who is the one selected to perform the brave deed to free his ancestor from his ghostly imprisonment. The tale is an amusing one as Laughton's character first tries to scare and then win over his cynical relative to help him. Charles Laughton is wonderful as the cowardly ghost appearing out of nowhere, screaming, rattling chains and showing his own failings only too obviously. He is surrounded by a terrific supporting cast beginning with gifted child actress Margaret O'Brien as Lady Jessica de Canterville the present owner of the castle. O'Brien, at the peak of her career around this time with triumphs in "Journey for Margaret", and "Meet Me in St. Louis", is a cute delight as the spunky little girl who is not afraid of Laughton's over the top bellowing and corny scare tactics. Robert Young in his last MGM film is also in top form as the young soldier who first is in danger of falling into the same habits as Sir. Simon but who in the end comes through to succeed in freeing his ancestor from his ghostly sentence by an unselfish act of bravery.
"The Canterville Ghost" is about as English a tale as you can get and came along during the war years when all things British were revered in Hollywood. Keeping company with such British outings as "Mrs. Miniver", and "The White Cliffs of Dover", "Canterville' also boasts a superb supporting cast of stalwart British performers so popular in Hollywood during these years. Headed by Laughton himself the film contains great work by the likes of Reginald Owen, Una O'Connor and Peter lawford who give just that right British feel to a production which because of the war had to be filmed in the USA. Technically the film is a superb achievement with Laughton's ghostly special effects a remarkable effort. The sight of Laughton disappearing through walls and flying across a room remind one of that great 1930's ghost story "Topper". Being a product of MGM the film boasts top flight production values in every department and has superb settings with the castle interiors appearing wonderfully spooky and beautiful on the eye.
Among the many versions filmed of "The Canterville Ghost", I feel this is by far the best. Centred on Charles Laughton's unforgettable ghost the production is enjoyable and a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Before computers created all the special effects this film proved what the old Hollywood was capable of achieving. A totally delightful film to be enjoyed by the whole family.
11 comment73 of 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon April 29, 2010
Having read the reviews I'm reminded of my reaction when I first saw the movie "Dune" which was based on the book of the same name written by Frank Herbert; I felt any similarity between the book and the movie was strictly coincidental. I will now confess that I have never read the short story from which this version of "The Canterville Ghost" was taken so I cannot make that comparison.

I will add, however, that I made peace with the movie "Dune" as I came to realize that although it didn't measure up to my memory of the book, it was, on its own, an interesting and worthwhile creation. Having made my peace with the movie I have been able to enjoy it for many years.

I first saw this version of "The Canterville Ghost" many, many years ago; I would guess it was shortly after it was released in 1944 (I'm one of a diminishing number of Americans who can remember where they were, and what they were doing when the announcement came over the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor). Patriotism was running high in the United States in those days and the people of this country were solidly behind the war effort.

A movie such as this, that featured our soldiers, had a built in advantage in the minds of Americans in those days; I doubt that influenced my decision to see the movie the first time, as I was always intrigued by ghost stories. The movie left an impression on me that did not go away for the following 66 years so when I decided recently to buy the DVD I was looking forward to seeing it all over again.

You can imagine my disappointment when large portions of the DVD wouldn't play even when tried on several DVD players. I was able to watch enough of it to rekindle my fires of enthusiasm for the movie. I have returned the DVD and Amazon is sending a replacement which I hope will work successfully all the way through.

As for the movie itself I found those portions I was able to watch just as charming 66 years later as I did in 1944; it may be my memories of World War II or my memories of America fighting for its life that influences my perception of the movie but never the less I enjoyed it!

Margaret O'Brien and Charles Laughton are the stars of the show to me; their ability to express their emotions with their faces contributes so much to the movie. One of the scenes that impressed me most as a child was the scene when the ghost makes his first appearance and is welcomed with machine gun fire.

In comparison with the later version starring Patrick Stewart I must confess that this version is still my favorite. If approached objectively the movie stands on its own merits as a worthy classic from the World War II era.

Update May 4, 2010
I left the earlier review with my defective DVD on its way back to Amazon; I'm delighted to report that Amazon came through with stellar service and promptly shipped me a DVD which has now played perfectly all the way through. One of the main reasons I keep buying from Amazon is their willingness to jump through hoops to satisfy their customers! Congratulations Amazon, please keep up the great work you're doing!
0Comment19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 22, 1999
By far the Best version of the many made of Canterville Ghost! Robert Young plays his part so well! And the little girl is an inspiration! Many laughs!
0Comment26 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 22, 2010
Listen Warner Bros.If you are going to put out Classics please do it right.Do you know how long ive waited for this movie to be put on dvd.By my suprise its a dvd-r bootleg quality cheap packaging and a really expensive price for a bootleg quality dvd.These Archive collection is great and titles that are finally be put on dvd is amazing,but i will not buy for the fact they are dvd-r a non collectible format which i hear doesnt last forever.It just would not feel right in my collection knowing it bootleg quality.anyway the movie gets 5 stars,and hopefully a real pressed copy will be put on dvd someday,Listen to ur customers nobody wants dvd-r.
1111 comments53 of 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 7, 1999
This is a movie that could cure a rainy day. Great story, great cast, fun SFX (even by modern standings). I think this is the kind of movie they're trying to make again, with mixed success. Funny without being coarse, outrageously sentimental without being cloying, and, my goodness--the "chemistry"! Entertainment you don't have to feel guilty about enjoying.
0Comment21 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 11, 2010
In my opinion,this was the best rendition of the story.Charles Laughton with Robert Young,Capt.Bligh with Dr.Marcus Welby! But most of all the theme of this movie rings true for every generation.This marks this rare film,finally onDVD,well worth the wait!"Try it ,you'll like it"(sorry,Mikey)
0Comment11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon September 8, 2007
When 17th Century blowhard Sir Simon de Canterville, born of a pompous but cowardly stock, finds himself in a duel he cannot win, he naturally chickens out. Challenged by the enemy to wall up a potential hiding place, Sir Simon's father unwittingly bricks him into his tomb. But, before the last brick is in place, Simon gives up and begs to be freed. His cruelly proud father refuses and sets a curse upon his doomed son to haunt the castle of the Cantervilles until a descendent baring the family birthmark wears Simon's ring while performing an act of courage. Only then will Sir Simon's ghost be allowed to rest.

Flash forward to WWII, when a group of U.S. soldiers are sent to Canterville Castle to be housed. Six-year-old Lady Jessica de Canterville is the present owner and is eager to greet the Americans she expects to be cowboys and Indians. Acting as a proper and charming host the soldiers are immediately endeared to, Lady Jessica soon finds herself telling the men of the castle's ghostly presence. One young soldier in particular, Cuffy Williams, is not so quick to believe the strange tale, but the soldiers soon see the specter for themselves and hi-jinks ensue. After Cuffy and Lady Jessica befriend the frazzled spirit of Sir Simon, he relays to them his plight, and upon discovering the birthmark on Cuffy's neck, the pair agree to help set the old ghost at rest. This proves more difficult than it sounds, for everyone wonders if his first encounter with the Nazis will cause Cuffy to turn coward in the finest Canterville family tradition!

1944's "The Canterville Ghost" puts a wartime spin on the Oscar Wild tale with very pleasant results. The movie is about as 1940's as it gets, with wonderfully clean humor and plenty of heart, a delightfully swingin' party scene, U.S. vs. Nazi action, and an extremely charming and recognizable cast headed by Margaret O'Brien, Robert Young, and Charles Laughton. O'Brien is really the star of the show and at her very sweetest as little Lady Jessica, but Young and Laughton are not to be overlooked as the extremely likeable Cuffy and the humorously winning Sir Simon respectively. If you have a taste for 30's and 40's family fare, this is one for your shelf. It's sure to make you smile a lot. A shame it is not yet available on DVD!
11 comment8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon October 15, 2006
In England, there is a castle that belonged to the Canterville family, a family known for their cowardice. During the 1600s, one such member Sir Simon of Canterville (Charles Laughton) fled from a duel to defend his brother's honor. His father was so ashamed with his son, that he walled him up to die in the castle. Since then, he was cursed to roam about a night until a member of the family performed a brave act in his honor.

We come to the present day (1943) when a little girl named Jessica (Margaret O'Brien) owns the castle. Her aunt decides to be charitable and in the wake of World War II invites some of the American army to stay in the castle. Cuffy Williams (Robert Young) takes a liking to Lady Jessica and also inspires his troupe to scare the Canterville ghost right back the way he scares them. Soon he learns the ghost's sad story and learning he is a decendant of the ghost's brother, takes it upon himself to perform an act of bravery to save the ghost's soul.

This film is a gem from old Hollywood, one that can be watched by both young and old. The performances are all very good. O'Brien's wide eyed innocence might be a bit saccharine, but one cannot help but fall in love with her. Laughton is wonderful in any part where he can show some vulnerability, and that is what his character is all about. Young is a masculine every-man, a part that anyone can love and admire. His scenes with O'Brien are particularly enjoyable. It is hard to imagine a young soldier ever being sweeter to a little girl.
0Comment5 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 17, 2014
I don't recall who did the casting for this movie, but they should have received an award of their own! Charles Laughton is the title character. What an outstanding actor! He has played a hunch back, a barrister, and so much more, and he is wonderful as the ghost who needs to be released from this world by some brave deed done by a family member. There is Robert Young who plays a WWII soldier stationed in England who is being housed with his fellow soldiers in an old English castle. And then there is the scene stealer, Margaret O'Brien....how does a child star get so cute! She plays the mistress and owner of the castle to the surprise of Young and the other soldiers. When she tells them that the castle is haunted, they laugh at a little girls imagination...or so they think. Without being a spoiler, as the story unfolds, a close relationship between these three main characters grows, a relationship that is both funny and very heartwarming. Worth every penny of the price to see if the old ghost is finally given peace and rest. I know it's been said a million times, but this is very much a film for the entire family. So get out the popcorn....and maybe a hanky....and just enjoy!
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 27, 2010
If you're an Oscar Wilde purist, then don't bother watching this movie. In fact, don't watch any movies. If, however, you enjoy old movies that just make you feel good then, by all means, get this one. You won't regret it.
0Comment7 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.