If, like me, you can do without the deluge of horror stories that arrive every October, here are three classic films with charm and style–and ghosts. I’ve reviewed each in my other blog, Classic for a Reason, and include a link so you can read the full review.
A headstrong, independent widow goes against her late husband’s family’s wishes and strikes out on her own, young daughter and loyal maid by her side. Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney), no longer wishing to be under the thumb of her mother-in-law, decides to move to the coast. She finds an affordable cottage that would be perfect, except it is haunted by the ghost of sea captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), who wants nothing more than to scare the young woman away.
Instead, there is an immediate attraction, which takes an interesting turn when Lucy learns her investment income has dried up and she has nothing to live on. Captain Gregg comes to the rescue with his idea to write a book, a memoir of his life at sea, salty language and racy stories included.
Death has come about 50 years too soon for boxer Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) when novice Angel 7013 (Edward Everett Horton) takes his soul early. Pendleton’s untimely arrival in heaven is confirmed to be a mistake by Angel 7013’s superior, Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains), but by the time they arrive on earth to place Joe back in his body, he’s been cremated.
Thus begins the search for the perfect new body. Despite his reservations, Joe ends up being placed in the physique of an unscrupulous millionaire, Bruce Farnsworth, who has been cheating thousands out of their hard-earned money. Joe sets out to right the situation, and falls in love in the meantime.
In 17th century Salem, two witches, Jennifer (Veronica Lake) and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway), are burned at the stake, and an oak tree is planted over their ashes to trap their spirits. In revenge, Jennifer casts a spell on the man responsible for their demise, Jonathan Wooley. He and all his male descendants will find misery rather than love.
That spell’s magic is worked in the lives of all Wooley men over the next 270 years, and it looks like it’s about happen again. Gubernatorial candidate Wallace Wooley (Fredric March) is about to marry Estelle Masterson (Susan Hayward), whose father, J.B. (Robert Warwick), is Wallace’s biggest political supporter.
The day before the wedding (and two days before the election), lightning strikes the oak tree trapping Daniel and Jennifer, and their spirits are released. They soon find Wallace, and Jennifer is gleeful about the thought of further revenge. Against his better judgment, Daniel allows Jennifer to talk him into letting her take human form once again.