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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) starring Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders
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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) starring Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a strange, touching love story. A widow (Gene Tierney) develops a friendship with the ghost of a cantankerous sea captain (Rex Harrison). He haunts her seaside house – until a flesh-and-blood suitor turns up. But that man’s hiding a secret …


  • Gene Tierney (Laura) … Lucy Muir. A widow, trying to raise her young daughter. She simply can’t stand living with her mother-in-law any longer. So, she’s rented an inexpensive house on the coast. Inexpensive, because it’s supposed to be haunted. But she won’t be able to afford it for long …
  • Rex Harrison (Blithe Spirit) … Captain Daniel Gregg. The blustery, cantankerous sea captain. Who’s also a ghost. He initially doesn’t want Lucy (“Lucinda”) in his house, but he softens. He not only helps her financially, by dictating to her his autobiography, he gives advice, and cares for her. Greatly. And fears for her, when she starts spending time with Miles.
  • George Sanders (The Picture of Dorian Gray) … Miles Fairley. A children’s book author. On the one hand, he makes it possible for Mrs. Muir to see his publisher, with the Captain’s biography. But on the other hand, his motives are … questionable. Which the Captain sees. But Mrs. Muir doesn’t. At first.
  • Edna Best (The Man Who Knew Too Much 1934) … Martha Huggins. Lucy’s “servant” and best friend.
  • Vanessa BrownAnna Muir as an Adult
  • Anna Lee (Bedlam) … Mrs. Miles Fairley. Mrs. Muir’s quite surprised, when she pays a surprise visit to Miles, to find that he’s married. With children.
  • Robert Coote (Theater of Blood) … Mr. Coombe. The realtor, who’s clearly afraid of ghosts. But enamored with Mrs. Muir.
  • Natalie Wood (The Silver Chalice) … Anna Muir as a Child
  • Isobel ElsomAngelica Muir
  • Victoria HorneEva Muir

Editorial review of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir courtesy of

Joseph Mankiewicz’s moody classic is less ghost story than romantic fantasy, a handsome 1947 drama of impossible love set on the picturesque turn-of-the-century New England coast. Independent young widow Lucy Muir (the luminous Gene Tierney), desperate to escape her uptight in-laws, falls in love with a grand seaside house and moves in, only to discover the cantankerous ghost of the hot-tempered Captain Gregg (a histrionically flamboyant performance by Rex Harrison). Lucy refuses to let the bombastic captain frighten her away, earning his respect, his friendship, and later his love.

They team up to turn the captain’s salty memoirs into a bestseller, but as his affection grows he fades away, leaving Lucy free to undertake a more worldly suitor, notably a charismatic children’s author (George Sanders at his smarmy smoothest) with his own guarded secret. Charles Lang’s melancholy black-and-white photography and Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score set the tone for this sublime adult drama, and Tierney delivers one of her most understated performances as the resolute Mrs. Muir. Mankiewicz turns this ghost story into a refreshingly mature and down-to-earth romance. –Sean Axmaker

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