8 comments on “Stratford Festival – Blithe Spirit

  1. No wonder I am so tempted to stalk you during your Ontario visits. I must aspire to be a Friend of Dave.

  2. With all due respect to the Harper household, ‘Blithe Spirit’ is not one of my favourite Coward plays – but you put your finger on it by pointing out that the context of the time was everything and that ‘The Master’ wanted to put on something ‘light and frothy’ (apart from his dressing gown!), and in that he succeeded, though I feel that it stretches an interesting idea a mite too far. I do know it very well, having seen it on stage a few times, got it on tape – and, of course, everyone knows the Rex Harrison film (with added post-death epilogue).

    Btw: For a long time I always wondered why Coward had used the melody of ‘Always’ to get Madam Arcati into a state of ‘reception’ when by that time he himself had composed more than a few songs he could have used which had already become near-classics – or he was more than capable of writing something new for the purpose. Then I discovered that he’d got in touch with Irving Berlin to ask his permission to use it, so it was probably an affectionate tribute to a fellow songwriter (certainly a greater one) who, like him, could not actually read music. And it works.

    • Thanks for the comments. Good points all. I’m not sure there is any disagreement. I don’t think Blithe Spirit is my favorite Coward play but it is certainly the one with which I am most familiar. I should watch the Rex Harrison film again. If memory serves, the film has a different ending than the play but I don’t remember much more about it.

      Interesting the you mention the use of “Always”, we were discussing that ourselves; why he didn’t use one of his own songs. Obviously the lyrics work well for the story line.To work in the play, the song needs to be a song that audiences would recognize. He certainly had a few of his own by 1941.

      • Yes, H.K., the film’s ending is a bit different from the play, giving it a softer, more crowd-pleasing finish. The actual play’s endi is stronger.

  3. Would be nice if Racine Theatre Guild would do a production of this. I saw the movie with Rex Harrison and enjoyed it, the only thing that would have made it better, is if they had done it in black & white. The technicolor process wasn’t quite to par when they made the movie and I found it distracting, but other than that enjoyable.

      • If they did, it was probably in Grandpa’s or Dad’s time there. I don’t think they have done a production during my time. Maybe they will do it again. 🙂

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