Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blithe Spirit (David Lean, 1945) : 85 Screenshots

This is a superb film, for several reasons. One is the beautiful Technicolor cinematography by Ronald Neame. The pictures below are proof, if proof were needed, that there was something really magical about the colour photography of that time which was completely lost by the 60’s (see also The Wizard of Oz, A Matter of Life and Death, On the Town etc). Second is the script by Noel Coward, making fun of its silly posh English characters who say things like ‘what the blazes!’ and ‘perfectly ghastly‘. The story moves with great speed and is frequently very funny. You have also got first-rate performances from Rex Harrison, anchoring it all with his inimitable voice and manner, Constance Cummings as his current wife, Kay Hammond as the first wife who comes back to haunt them, and Margaret Rutherford as a medium. It’s nimbly directed by David Lean, and there’s not a boring moment in it. Lean later made masterpieces like Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia of course, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he made four really excellent films in the 40’s at the start of his career: Blithe Spirit, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and This Happy Breed.

Left-click once on any image to enlarge.


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