29 August 2007 | Handlinghandel
A Stylish ghost story
The movie begins as an elderly couple close the deal on a beautiful house. That's one of the meanings of the title: The wife has always wanted a beautiful house of their own.
But ah! Villagers very soon start talking: The couple got it at a good price because it is haunted and no one else has wanted to touch it.
James Mason plays the old gent. He is made up and dressed to seem at least twice the age he was. The voice is recognizable, though. Even without knowing the cast in advance, I'd have known his voice. He does a good job, not overacting or hamming up the idea of playing old. (I don't think he in fact did age in this way, but who could have known?) Something about playing older characters fascinates actors. Robert Donat won an Oscar for it in "Good-bye, Mr. Chips." The first time I saw that movie, in a revival theater, I was knocked out by it. But I have to say that Mason overplays a little less than Donat, as far as playing an older man.
Mason's wife engages a companion. In a way this is a plot device. We're never completely sure why she has done this. The companion is the lovely Margaret Lockwood. Soon she is saying things she doesn't understand and playing pieces she's never played before on the piano in the house.
Beyond that I will not go. All this happens early in the movie.
The smaller roles are beautifully cast. It has an elegant look. I wouldn't call it a great movie but it certainly held my interest.