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Encyclopedia > Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit (1941) is a comic play written by Noel Coward. The action of the play centres around socialite Charles Condomine being haunted by the ghost of his first wife Elvira following a sťance, and Elvira's continued (and increasingly desperate) efforts to disrupt Charles' current marriage. Aside from some excellent dialogue and comic scenes, the play is also notable for the splendid comic character of Madame Arcati, the eccentric medium.


The play did provoke a small outcry at the time of its first performances, as it was seen to be possibly making fun of death at the height of World War II; however, such objections were quickly forgotten and the play went on to set all manner of British box-office records. Its mark of 1,997 consecutive performances in the West End was only eventually beaten by Boeing Boeing in the 1970s. It was also made into a successful film directed by David Lean and starring Rex Harrison.


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  Results from FactBites:
 
Britmovie - Blithe Spirit 1945 (225 words)
Blithe Spirit is, if nothing else, a radical departure from the mundane.
His second wife Ruth (Constance Cummings) is unable to see the spectre, and at first believes it to be a poor practical joke by her husband, eventually Ruth becomes tired of his phantom assertion and calls upon eccentric medium Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) to try and help out by contacting the ghost.
Madame Arcati attempts to exorcise Elvira’s spirit but fails, an exasperated Condomine decides to kill himself so that he united with her Elvira and save his second wife number the annoyance of being haunted.
The British Theatre Guide : Reviews - Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward (Derby Playhouse) (508 words)
Blithe Spirit should do that, not only due to its popularity but also because it's a slick, well-produced and solidly acted piece.
Blithe Spirit, written by Coward in only five days, tells how author Charles Condomine invites a local medium, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct an after-dinner seance so that he can do research for his latest book.
There were certainly plenty of blithe spirits both on and off the stage at the end.
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