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Comedy - Family

Blithe Spirit (2020)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: PG-13, Spain: 7
Source of storyA 1941 play by Noel Coward, and possibly a 1940s film of the same name
DirectorEdward Hall
Writers/ScriptNick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard, Piers Ashworth
StarringDan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Michele Dotrice, E,ilia Fox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Judi Dench,  Leslie Mann, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.4/10 by 7261 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 29% by 77 reviewers . Review2view: 5/10.

Summary: Charles Condomine is a successful playwright who is attempting to write a screenplay at the behest of his wife, Ruth’s, father. There is a spooky element so in order to get background he employs a medium, Madame Arcati and she holds a séance in his house, also attending are his friends Dr and Mrs Bradman. The séance causes Condomine’s former wife, Elvira, who had been killed seven years before in a riding accident to appear. Only he can see her. Thereafter Elvira causes havoc in the house and has the long term goal of killing Charles so that he can join her. There are many misunderstanding as Charles talks to Elvira and tried to get her to tow some sort of line, much to the irritation of Ruth who sees her as a threat. Madame Arcati is at her wits end to solve the dilemma. How can it all end.

 Content: There is no nudity, but a bit of interaction about the use of drugs to improve one’s performance in bed. Some minor drinking events. Much of the drama takes place in the Condomine luxury Art Deco house. The séance takes place and once Elvira has been conjured she is almost always present, always extremely glamorous. Charles is usually out of his depth and it turns out that his best work has been done by Elvira, who now helps him with his screenplay. Towards the end Ruth is killed accidentally. Elvira had booby trapped the family car, with the intention of killing Charles. There are scenes on the film set where Elvira also intervenes.

A View: I watched this outing on a bus travelling from Granada to Madrid, partly because the playreading group of which I am a member had been reading the original play which we had found was a lot of fun. The film allows the world to become much bigger, but it is not better. We see Madame Arcati fail in a theatrical event. The Bradmans are more important and worst of all, Elvira’s clothing keeps changing. What did she have some sort of ghostly Gucci wardrobe? When I saw the first scene I thought it was going to be a wonderful film, the house is great, but when Elvira appeared as an American I knew that it had gone off the rails. A wonderful charming play turned into a filmic disaster. Don’t bother with it.

I can only offer one other film which had been a stage play reviewed on this site. It is Carnage the film of God of Carnage. Absolutely great, no matter what the critics said.

I can only offer one other film which had been a stage play reviewed on this site. It is Chaos the film of God of Carnage. Absolutely great, no matter what the critics said.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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