Introduction by Geoffrey O'Brien (Editor/Poet/Film Critic)
This delicately funny, poignant, and haunting film, adapted by Philip Dunne from the Josephine Leslie novel (written under the pseudonym R.A. Dick), seems to have grown in resonance over the years. Mankiewicz’s love affair with Gene Tierney had ended by the time shooting started, but you would never know it from the way he and DP Charles Lang photograph her. Rex Harrison, whom Mankiewicz referred to as his “Stradavarius,” gave the first of four performances for the director as the ghost of a sea captain who appears before Tierney’s young widow Lucy Muir and dictates his “memoirs” to her; and George Sanders is the children’s author who temporarily steals Mrs. Muir’s heart. Fox’s period pieces were always a cut above everyone else’s, and their vision of a seaside village in Edwardian England is one of their supreme achievements. And the score is by Bernard Herrmann at his very best. In short, a convergence of remarkable talents that resulted in a truly great film.