Friday, February 12, 2010

A Fox Valentine's Day

The Fox Movie Channel usually doesn't do much of a job a programming its lineup. Once in a while, though, they come up with a special block of movies that actually does a fairly good job. This weekend, for example, sees a bunch of more romantic movies, what with the Valentine's Day holiday, and a reasonable mix of old movies and more recent stuff. One of the older movies I haven't recommended before is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which FMC is showing at 12:15 PM Saturday.

The always-lovely Gene Tierney stars as Mrs. Muir, who's recently been widowed and left with a young daughter (Natalie Wood). She takes a vacation on the English coast, and finds a little cottage with which she falls in love. She finds that the house is being sold at a bargain basement price. She buys the place, and soon finds out why it was such a steal: the house is haunted. (Sound familiar?)

The big difference between this ghost and the ghosts in The Uninvited is that this house's ghost (played by Rex Harrison) is at heart not a bad man. The man was a sailor, and died when he accidentally left the gas on. He still thinks the place is his, and only wants to scare away people who want to turn it into something of their own. Mrs. Muir, however, refuses to be cowed, and eventually she and the ghose come to an agreement: he'll stop trying to haunt her, as long as she keeps the place having a maritime theme, and if she'll write the man's memoirs. Mrs. Muir sets out to write the book, and begins to learn that those stereotypes about sailors are apparently true. (Thanks to the Production Code, the salty nature of the memoirs are only implied, although that probably makes the movie work better than if it had more explicit language.) Along the way, Mrs. Muir and the ghost fall in love, too.

That is, until she meets fellow author Miles Fairley on one of her trips to London to meet with her publisher. The two begin to fall in love, and he takes a place by the sea, too, much to the consternation of our friendly spirit back at the cottage. However, Mrs. Muir eventually discovers that Miles may not be the man for her after all.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a charming love story that's got something in it for almost everyone. For the women, it should be obvious: that love story. Younger girls should also enjoy the romantic story and the fantastic nature of it. I don't think teenagers would like it that much -- especially the boys -- although younger kids who enjoy boats or ghosts may tolerate it. As for the adult men? Well, they've got Gene Tierney to look at!

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is available on DVD, as is the soundtrack, which is a score by Bernard Herrmann. Amazingly, the DVD is cheaper than the music.

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