Film: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a 1947 20th Century Fox film directed by Joseph Manckiewicz, adapted from the 1945 book by R. A. Dick (the pseudonym of Josephine Leslie), and starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. Perhaps most notable for the score, written by Bernard Herrmann.

Lucy Muir, newly widowed, has had it with her domineering in-laws and decides to settle the issue by moving herself, her daughter Anna (Natalie Wood), and faithful maid Martha to Whitecliffe-By-The-Sea, a charming coastal village somewhere in Edwardian England. Gull Cottage, a beautiful, if slightly run-down house on top of the bluffs is for rent, and the asking price extraordinarily cheap. The agent, however, is none too keen about the idea of someone living in the house, and it is not too long after moving in that Lucy finds out why.

The late Captain Daniel Gregg, the builder and former owner of the house, has not quite gotten around to moving out, despite being ... dead. A cantankerous and blustery ghost, his attempts to move Lucy and her family out prove futile and short-lived, as he quickly falls in love with the beautiful widow, and she with him. Their cozy, if unusual, domestic arrangement is threatened when Lucy meets Miles Fairley (George Sanders) , a suave author and veteran charmer. Fairley is interested, Daniel is jealous, and Lucy has a difficult decision to make. Daniel makes the choice for her, and bows out of her life so she may pursue her own existence, only reappearing to her after she dies of old age.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is hard to categorize: part romance, part tragedy, part supernatural, part drama, part comedy. There's loads of room for Alternative Character Interpretation, but the plot is a permutation on a common story: boy meets girl, and they fall in love.

The film was adapted as a Fantastic Comedy TV sitcom in the late 1960s, shifting the setting to then-contemporary Maine. Edward Mulhare starred as Captain Gregg, with Hope Lange as his mortal love interest (renamed "Carolyn Muir"). Much was made of the comedic hijinks of Captain Gregg's surviving great-nephew, the venal and cowardly Claymore Gregg (Charles Nelson Reilly). Popular character actress Reta Shaw played the part of Martha.

Tropes used in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir include: