Monday, February 22, 2021

Blithe Spirit - 2021 notes, 20 second review

The latest incarnation of "Blithe Spirit" contains more slapstick than the 1945 Rex Harrison version, and the plot is often driven more by vengeance than avidity; nevertheless, the art deco mansion Joldwynds in Surrey, the white cliffs of Dover (still in Dover), and Judy Dench (what a Dame!) are worth the experience. Ghosts haven't been this hormonal since "High Spirits."

I particularly missed the striking, dramatic entry of the ghostly wives employed in the first film - with the greenish cast given by lighting and make up rather chilling. 

However, It's still worth a look.

(Streaming via Vudu was an experiment we shall not repeat - it took nearly the full two days of rental access to get their network to wake up, with several interruptions in the course of the viewing (which is why I still pick up DVDs) with their useless "comment line" as the only avenue of contact with problems.)

Later thoughts:
I find myself admiring the theatrical work of Noel Coward more often than enjoying it. This film version had a fragmented handful of the original lines, from what I recollect of the Harrison film ("guttersnipe" came to mind), and at just over 90 minutes, it zipped along - the exteriors were beautiful, and what a bathtub!

By the end of the current release, however, none of the three principal characters were embrace-worthy, leaving Dame Judy to glow all the brighter and essentially carry the show.  All in all, the updated experience was more like a murderous version of "Topper," minus the charm of Cary Grant and Constance Bennett.

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