A ghost on free feet

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German title A ghost on free feet
Original title The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1947
length 104 minutes
Age rating FSK 0 years
Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz
script Philip Dunne
production Fred Kohlmar
for 20th Century Fox
music Bernard Herrmann
camera Charles Lang
cut Dorothy Spencer

A ghost on free feet (original title: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ) is an American romance film from 1947. The one based on the novel Der Geist des Captain Gregg (original title: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ) by R. A. Dick (a pseudonym the author Josephine AC Leslies) directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison in the title roles revolves around a woman's romantic relationship with the spirit of a deceased sea captain.


London at the turn of the 20th century: the young widow Lucy Muir and her little daughter live with his mother and sister after the death of their husband. However, Lucy suffers from living together, so she decides to move to the coast and lead an independent life. In the small town of Whitecliff-by-the-Sea, she rents the villa “Gull Cottage” directly on the cliff, the previous owner of which is said to have committed suicide. The realtor wants to dissuade Lucy from choosing this house, which is offered at a particularly low rent, but Mrs. Muir is willing to accept a possible haunted house because of the low rent and the maritime atmosphere. She moves in with her eight-year-old daughter Anna and the housekeeper Martha that same day.

The ghost of the previous owner, a ship's captain named Daniel Gregg, first tries to drive her out of the house, like four tenants before. He lets go of it, however, when he realizes that Lucy will not be impressed by it and is also attractive. He pretends to be a rough, gruff sailor who doesn't like land rats in general. It turns out that Gregg didn't commit suicide but accidentally died in a gas heater accident before he could draw up a will that would have turned the villa into a foundation for seafarers in need. Gregg wants to come to terms with the new tenant for now. The only condition is that she should hang his portrait, which was previously hanging in the living room, in her bedroom; in return, he promises to only be in his former living room and bedroom. Over time, the two become friends.

When Lucy is told that the owners of the gold mine, in which her late husband owned shares, will no longer receive dividends due to a lack of income, her only source of money has dried up and her relatives urge her to return to them. However, the captain offers to help her by dictating his exciting life story to her, which she is then supposed to offer in London as the book manuscript of a "Captain X." When the manuscript is finished and Lucy can successfully offer it to a London publisher, she meets the successful writer Miles Fairley there, who writes children's books under the pseudonym "Uncle Neddy". Fairley courted Lucy; after a short time she intends to marry him as soon as he proposes to her. Captain Gregg is jealous of this relationship, but realizes that Lucy has chosen a life with a living man. It then disappears and does not show up again. Finally, he gives her the idea that meeting him and working together on the book was a dream.

When Lucy happens to find out during a surprise visit to Miles Fairley in London that he is married, has two children and has often entered into a liaison, she breaks off the relationship. In the following time she keeps thinking of Captain Gregg, but he no longer shows up.

The book Courage and Blood (in the original Blood and Swash ), dictated to Lucy by Captain Gregg, is a success and Lucy can use the proceeds to purchase Gull Cottage. The years go by, her daughter has grown up, is getting married and has a daughter of her own. During a conversation with her grown-up daughter, Lucy realizes that Captain Gregg often appeared in Anna's first year at Gull Cottage and told her bedtime stories. Lucy finally dies one day in her sleep as an older woman. At that moment Captain Gregg appears and offers her his hand, she stands up, young again, and the ghosts of the two leave the house.


The novel was published by the author Josephine Leslie (1898–1979) in 1945 under the pseudonym "RA Dick". She took the initials RA from the name of her father, Robert Abercromby, who had been an Irish ship's captain. The script of the film remains close to the original, one of the biggest differences is that Mrs. Muir in the book has a son in addition to her daughter Anna.

The film was shot in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Palos Verdes in California , among others . In England, the actual location, there was no filming at all. The majority of the cast except for lead actress Gene Tierney is made up of British actors, including Rex Harrison , who had only made his breakthrough in Hollywood a year earlier with the film Anna and the King of Siam . Gene Tierney got the role after Fox - studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck had initially toyed with the idea, whether one already in retirement Norma Shearer could win for the role. Tierney initially laid out her character in a much more comedic manner. After Darryl F. Zanuck was not convinced, the first two days of shooting were repeated and the actress gave her character more serious traits. One difficulty was evidently that the film refused a clear genre classification and moved between ghost story, love drama and comedy.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was not shown in theaters in Germany, but only premiered in 1989 on ZDF . In Austria it opened in cinemas on June 22, 1951. The film drew a US television series from 1968-1970, which was broadcast in Germany from 1970 under the title Der Geist and Mrs. Muir . The main roles were played by Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange . In the late 1980s, 20th Century-Fox was planning a remake with Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs. Muir and Sean Connery as Captain Gregg. After the failure of the film Das Russland-Haus (1990) with the two actors, the plans were put on hold.


The German dubbed version was only produced in 1989 when it was first broadcast on German television.

role actor German dubbing voice
Lucy Muir Gene Tierney Manuela Renard
Captain Daniel Gregg Rex Harrison Randolf Kronberg
Miles Fairley George Sanders Erik Schumann
Martha, Lucy's housekeeper Edna Best Inge Solbrig-Combrinck
Anna Muir as a child Natalie Wood Anke Kortemeier
Anna Muir as an adult Vanessa Brown Katharina Lopinski
Mr. Coombe, real estate agent Robert Coote Thomas Reiner
Angelica Muir, Lucy's mother-in-law Isobel Elsom Alice Franz
Eva Muir, Lucy's sister-in-law Victoria Horne Claudia Golling
Mr. Sproule, publisher Whitford Kane Mogens von Gadow


The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is largely unanimously praised by the film critics, with all 17 professional film reviews on Rotten Tomatoes being positive. In a recent review, the Variety said that Gene Tierney "undoubtedly gave her best performance so far" in the lead role, while Rex Harrison "deserves the most attention" as captain. George Sanders is "effective" in his supporting role, Edna Best, Natalie Wood and Vanessa Brown would also offer convincing acting performances. The warm and unworldly romance wins the audience's sympathy and never loses it. The script has "stormy humor and situations that slander the ghostly subject".

Michael Betzold of the All Movie Guide speaks of a “beautifully crafted piece of Hollywood fantasy” that tells a “far-fetched but moving fable” and offers “ escapism without expensive pyrotechnics”. The two main actors would show "exceptionally winning" performances and Mankiewicz's direction was "almost flawless".

The film service found: “Romantic-wistful comedy with excellent actors who turn the thin fable into high-quality, enjoyable entertainment.” Cinema spoke of a “poetic fantasy fable ” that made “stones weep” itself, and also raised it Film music by Bernard Herrmann. For “sensitive minds” there could be “nothing more melancholy” than the final scene of the film.


Charles Lang was at the Academy Awards in the category Best Cinematography in a black and white film nominated.

The American Film Institute voted The Ghost and Mrs. Muir at number 73 of the best American romance films of all time in 2002 .


  • David Cooper: Bernard Herrmann's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: A Film Score Guide . Scarecrow Press Inc., Lanham (Maryland) 2005, 186 pages.
  • RA Dick (di Josephine AC Leslie): The spirit of Captain Gregg. Roman (Original title: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ). German by Renate Hertenstein. Sumatra-Verlag, Zurich 1947, 306 pages.
  • Frieda Grafe : The Ghost and Mrs. Muir . British Film Institute, London 1995, 60 pages.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Trivia. Internet Movie Database , accessed June 24, 2015 .
  2. Frieda Grafe: The Ghost and Mrs Muir . British Film Institute, 1995, ISBN 978-0-85170-484-5 ( google.de [accessed May 13, 2020]).
  3. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: As charming as the film, but deeper and wiser | Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews. Retrieved May 13, 2020 (American English).
  4. AFI | Catalog. Retrieved May 18, 2020 .
  5. David Cooper: Bernard Herrmann's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: A Film Score Guide . Scarecrow Press, 2005, ISBN 978-1-4616-5677-7 ( google.de [accessed May 18, 2020]).
  6. David Cooper: Bernard Herrmann's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: A Film Score Guide . Scarecrow Press, 2005, ISBN 978-1-4616-5677-7 ( google.de [accessed May 18, 2020]).
  7. Christopher Bray: Sean Connery: The measure of a man . Faber & Faber, 2010, ISBN 978-0-571-26128-4 ( google.de [accessed on May 13, 2020]).
  8. Film title Casts Film Cast list Movie Cast Characters - synchrondatenbank.de. Retrieved May 13, 2020 .
  9. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 13, 2020 (English).
  10. Variety Staff, Variety Staff: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. In: Variety. January 1, 1947, accessed May 18, 2020 .
  11. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) - Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Review | AllMovie. Retrieved May 13, 2020 (American English).
  12. A ghost on free feet. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed November 21, 2019 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  13. Cinema: A ghost on free feet. Retrieved May 13, 2020 .