Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Captain and Lucia

A friend recently sent me the complete musical score of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the 1947 movie score. I was quite thrilled with such a gesture - the movie has long been one of my favorites.

For those of you unfamiliar with this movie, Bernard Herrmann wrote the voluptuous soundtrack, the most absolute genius silver screen composer. He sets the scenes with unforgettable orchestration; you can smell the wind sweeping across the sea and into the windows of Gull Cottage, get goosepimples when the old ship bell ding dongs just before the spirit of Captain Gregg enters a room, and you can actually feel the heavy passage of time as Lucia lives out her lonely life there by the sea.

Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison have such a magical chemistry on screen; both possess a haunting beauty. Though the title would suggest something sinister or frightening, the movie is instead a deliciously melancholy romance, made even more special in soft black and white.

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I love this soliloquy by Captain Gregg and it is one of the most moving moments in the film:

I thought you were one woman with sense...but you're like all the rest of them.

Fall for any man who'll promise you the moon and end by taking everything you have to give. Oh, don't trouble yourself, my dear. It's not your fault.I should have known
it was on the chart.

You've made your choice...the only choice you could make. You've chosen life...and that's as it should be..whatever the reckoning..

And that's why I'm going away, my dear. Oh, I...I can't help you now. I can only confuse you more and destroy whatever chance you have left of happiness.

You must make your own life amongst the living. And whether you'll meet fair winds or foul...find your own way to harbor in the end.

Lucia, listen to me. Listen, my dear. You've been dreaming...dreaming of a sea captain that haunted this house...of talks you had with him...even a book you both wrote together. But, Lucia,you wrote the and no one else--The book you imagined from his house...from his picture on the wall...from his gear lying around in every room.

It's been a dream, Lucia. And in the morning and the years after, you'll only remember it as a dream, and it'll all dreams must die at waking.

How you'd have loved the North Cape and the fjords and the midnight sail across the reef at Barbados where the blue water turns to the Falklands where a southerly gale whips the whole sea white!

What we've missed, Lucia! What we've both missed. Goodbye, my darling..

Why can't movies today be this good? Where have all the great actors and actresses and composers gone?

Now, can some other friend send me a box of Kleenex?


Bill said...

Movies today are that good ... well, maybe not in that way. But y'know, like Ghostbusters was about ghosts.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Ghost and Mrs Muir is a great movie but I think that great movies are still being made. It is just that good movies for adults do not receive the publicity and marketing they once did. Perhaps there is not really a market for them in the movie theater. I don't know. Just last night I watched The Illusionist on DVD and it was a great movie made in 2006. And it also has a great musical score by Philip Glass.

prairie point

Cowtown Pattie said...

You're killin' me, Smalls!

claude said...

One of my favourite movies, ever! I recently bought the DVD ;)

Trace said...

Loved the movie!! Now, I'll have to go order it special; cause it would never be found in stores.

joared said...

They have a hard time developing a very complex plot for a lot of movies today, plus they make them so short there's hardly time to tell a really good story. Agree, though, that some of the better ones are independent films and don't always get the publicity. Good movie music really makes a film. That was good descriptive lingo about the music you used there, girl!

bakerina said...

Oh, how I miss Bernard Herrmann. Every time I see North by Northwest, the little hairs on the back of my neck rise every time that familiar refrain starts. I think it was the first music I ever heard that actually sounded dangerous; I was smitten, and have been ever since.

This is such a lovely post, Pattie. I'm right there with you.

Peter said...

Because today movies get made only if it's possible to make sequels (or if they're sequels themselves).

SpookyRach said...

I love, love, love movie music. I'm going to have to put this one on the netflix list.

Ladygrande said...

Superb movie! Fabulous music! I agree, one of the best movies ever.

GUYK said...

I have not seen it in years but have seen it several times and always enjoyed it..back then the script and acting had to be good..they did not have the special effects that the directors have to play with now..