So, when I was flipping through the Book one day, I noticed that some years were over-represented, while some were vastly under-represented. Some of the more modern ones may be so currently due to their propensity to knock off modern films to make way for new ones, but even in the classical era, there are short years; 1947, for one, has only four films on the list. I just found that interesting enough to warrant a mention. Anyway, one of those films is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a melodramatic romance which seems straight from the minds of Powell & Pressburger, but no; Joseph L. Mankiewicz is behind this one.
When I used the word melodramatic before, I may have underplayed that factor of the film. It was the first thing that washed over me; everything, from the presentation to the score to the script was just flowery, precisely spic-and-span. The script, in particular, was extremely… sensible (probably the best word), and very British. “Blast” is the dirtiest four-letter word the cast use, and when they do, oh gosh, are the other characters just appalled at such language and behavior! The whole script got to be rather corny at times, and by at times I mean a lot of the time, so if that sort of thing bothers you, keep your ears ready with this one. Naturally, being technically a ghost story, the beginning section of the film has quite a bit of so-called “haunting”; you know, the regular “doors and windows shaking”, “thunderstorms roaring”, “lights going on and off”, “wind blowing in a closed room” – you’ve seen and heard it all before. Really, this whole film is filled with that sort of stuff, the sort you’ve seen too many times over, though in all fairness I can’t really place if it all is stuff from before or after this film, so it may not have been as retreaded as it seemed to me. As for the romantic angle, this is another one that seemed to shove the romance into a story where it didn’t belong; the two characters naturally fall in love, only here it isn’t naturally – it’s forced. The two characters fall in love merely because the script writes it so, and for no other reason.
This is probably one of the most bombastically on-the-nose films I’ve seen from the list. The music swells and ebbs and twists and turns precisely as the narrative does, in order to make sure we are feeling the emotions we should be feeling at exactly the right moments. The story does little to go against this notion. It really put a new definition for cliché and over-dramatic to me, though thankfully it doesn’t delve too deeply into the realm of soap opera. For what it’s worth, the ending was pretty much pitch-perfect, so that’s something at least. I’m honestly not too convinced as to why this made the list; it’s not really a “must-see” experience, and everything the film offers can be found elsewhere and in better form. Still, it kept me invested through the running time, so, mission accomplished. Anyway, that’s just another one I can check off the list, and if you’re following along as well, this one hopefully won’t hang you up too much.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10