Blithe Spirit by Noel CowardI will ever be grateful for the almost psychic gift that enabled me to write Blithe Spirit in five days during one of the darkest years of the war. - Noel Coward. Written in 1941, Blithe Spirit remained the longest-running comedy in British Theatre for three decades. Plotted around the central role of one of Cowards best loved characters, a spirit medium Madame Arcati (originally performed by Margaret Rutherford). Cowards play is an escapist comedy about a man whose two previous wives return to haunt him.
Synopsis: Blithe Spirit
But it turned out to be a big hit, with a record run in the West End and then Broadway before being turned into a film four years later starring Rex Harrison. The Oscar-winning actress plays the eccentric mystic, Madame Arcati, who inadvertently conjures up the ghost of a jealous first wife, who is unaware that she is dead when she returns to haunt her scoundrel husband and his new partner. Like us, she feels it is a great moment to cheer people up. He has just stepped down as artistic director of the Hampstead theatre, London, where stage hits include Sunny Afternoon , the Kinks musical that was also a huge West End success, winning Olivier awards. Hollywood studios competed to adapt it but Coward took the project instead to his friend David Lean. The new film will be released next year, marking the 75th anniversary of the original, which starred Margaret Rutherford alongside Rex Harrison. Fortunately, she felt the same.
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Blithe Spirit is a British fantasy - comedy film directed by David Lean. The film features Kay Hammond and Margaret Rutherford , in the roles they created in the original production, along with Rex Harrison and Constance Cummings in the lead parts of Charles and Ruth Condomine. While not very successful at the time and a disappointing adaptation according to Coward himself, it has since come to be considered notable for its Technicolor photography and Oscar -winning visual effects in particular  and has been re-released several times, notably as one of the ten early David Lean features restored by the British Film Institute for release in As Charles, his wife Ruth and their guests, George and Violet Bradman barely restrain themselves from laughing, Madame Arcati performs peculiar rituals and finally goes into a trance. Charles then hears the voice of his dead first wife, Elvira. When he discovers that the others cannot hear her, he passes off his odd behaviour as a joke.