Genre: Romantic fantasy
Plot: an early 1900s story of a young widow who moves to an English seaside village despite the disapproval of her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. She rents Gull Cottage, with a reputation for being haunted. Here she takes up residence with her young daughter and her maid. A friendship forms between the ghost, and the young widow. She meets an author who captivates her, but she finds he has a wife and children. On her death, the Captain returns.
Characters: Lucy, the widow (Gene Tierney), Captain Gregg, the ghost (Rex Harrison), Anna, the daughter (Natalie Wood), Martha, the maid (Edna Best), Miles Fairley, an author (George Sanders).
Location: Set in a seaside village in England, although filmed in California.
Other: Filmed in 1947 in black and white.
Review: On-line reviews differ in discussion around the genre of the film. One review suggested it covered a range of genres – thriller, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy. We decided that perhaps romantic fantasy best described the movie. We all agreed that it was a good portrayal of the period, the early 1900s, with the expectation that the young widow would live with family, not move out on her own. The music was atmospheric, and the scenery spectacular. Although much of the movie was filmed in America, one member thought the scenery was typical of Cornwall. We also had a brief discussion as to whether we notice mistakes in movies, and whether they matter. The answer to both questions was NO. The reason for the question was because in one scene in the movie, a kettle seems to magically move from the left of the stove to the right. No-one else noticed this.
An enjoyable movie, appreciated by us all.
With all the movies we watch we can look at them as literature – literature in a different medium, that of film. This helps to focus the discussion, covering ideas around genre, characters, plot, but also adding the aspects that relate to film, such as cinemascope, music and atmosphere.