Blithe Spirit
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The Noel Coward/David Lean combination which turned out such dramas as Brief Encounter and This Happy Breed sets its sights on the viewer's funny bone with Blithe Spirit. Rex Harrison plays a novelist, newly married to straight-laced Constance Cummings. Via a seance, Harrison accidentally summons the spirit of his first wife, Kay Hammond. Believing that Hammond wants to ruin his marriage, Harrison enlists the services of local medium Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) to exorcise Hammond's spirit. She fails, and in time, Harrison's second wife is killed; now he has two playful… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Inasmuch as this is largely a photographed copy of the stage play [by Noel Coward], the camerawork is outstandingly good and helps to put across the credibility of the ghost story more effectively than the flesh and blood performance does."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"... a lightweight comedy built on witty remarks and upper-class smugness (which Rex Harrison so perfectly embodies), but comedy is not Lean's strong suit."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"As the medium Madame Arcatti, Margareth Rutherford stole every scene in David Lean's screen adaptation of Nowel Coward's witty play."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"It remains somewhat theatrical."
‑ , Film4
"Nifty special effects for the time, and plenty of Coward's inimitable wit and repartee."
‑ , Time Out
"Blithe Spirit is beloved by so many people that I feel like a curmudgeon handing it a mixed review. But when it comes to supernatural comedies starring Rex Harrison, I much prefer Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1947 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"A quicksilver cocktail."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Worth it just for Margaret Rutherford as a sort of girls' school gamesmistres-style psychic!"
‑ Nell Minow, Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
"Passably good, but it should have been better, what with Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, and Margaret Rutherford reading the Noel Coward lines."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"While Coward's witty dialogue and pungent take on the mores of the British upper crust can't help but elicit some smiles, as a whole Blithe Spirit feels like a film that is just going through the motions."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"[A] deliciously cheeky Noel Coward concoction..."
‑ MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
"The last word in witty repartee of the most civilized kind - the sort of thing Noel Coward was known for, and nobody did better."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Blithe Spirit on Rotten Tomatoes