Enchanted Cottage: Ghostly Choice!

DATELINE: More Augurs

Into the Vortex?

When I entered the library this morning, where I have many Titanic books and keepsakes, there was once again something out of place. The house once belonged to a couple of victims who died on Titanic, and their presence is never far away.

So, on the floor, tossed off the wall shelf was a single DVD, tossed quite a distance. It landed on the edge of a new addition to the room: a vortex rug.

When psychics told me there was a vortex in the floor, through which the spirit world had a rapid transit station, I covered it with a vortex rug.

How appropriate that my spirit resident nearly had a bullseye with his toss.

The DVD is The Enchanted Cottage,little fantasy movie from 1945 about a wounded war veteran, harmed emotionally and physically, and an ugly girl who is the cottage housekeeper. They soon find the house makes them see the world differently. The stars are Robert Young and Dorothy Maguire.

A spirit at the cottage makes them see each other as whole and spiritually lovely. They grow beautiful and young. It is all tied together by a blind man (Herbert Marshall, of course) who helps them understand.

The film was based on a play by Sir Arthur Wingo Pinero and was adapted by DeWitt Bodeen for the screen.

The film is a trifle, but my ghostly resident thought enough of it to give it a look. When he visits books or DVDs, he finishes up by tossing them to the floor. He seems to have the power to enter them as an orb and see what’s inside. 

Since I set up the library, he has put many a film or book to the carpet, including a couple of Titanic books and DVDs, as well as a photo of his family homestead on Diamond Head, Hawaii. He likes to visit these items, and I am happy to make them available to interested ghostly parties.

Five Movies with Spirits

 DATELINE: Oldies but Goodies

Mrs. Muir & Ghost

 

 

 

Crusty Dead Sea Captain?

You may well wonder why five of the most influential and fascinating fantasy films about timeless ghostly encounters were made in a short span of the 1940s.

Some theories have centered on the fact it was the time that millions of women lost their husbands and boyfriends to casualties of World War II.

Our selected films do feature a romantic drama complicated by the fatalism of war. Two movies present men (one maimed, one an alleged suicide), and two depict dead women (yearning for unrealized love).

The women characters grow up and grow old in long sequences of time passing. Two of the men are actually one man: Rex Harrison.

If you have not guessed the movies, here they are:

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, wherein Gene Tierney meets a salty and dead sea captain at her new home, Gull Cottage (see photo above). In Blithe Spirit, a sophisticated writer finds his first dead wife jealously returned to claim her husband. (See photo below). It’s the only one in color, if that’s your preference.

Playful Blithe Spirit Rutherford as Madam Acardi

Between Two Worlds features a shipload of dead people learning their fate—and finding heaven and hell are the same destination and destiny.

Go to Hell?  Go to Heaven or Hell?

Life apparently is filled with apparitions and reincarnated souls, as told by these literary-styled tales.

 

Jennie, Dead Dream Girl  Jennie, Dead Dream Girl?

Portrait of Jennie featured a painter whose model seems to age a few years with every sitting—and who died before they met. In Enchanted Cottage, a location with magical qualities can help a disfigured war survivor and an ugly woman find themselves transformed into movie stars by an invisible benevolent force in the universe.

Enchantment Makeover  Enchanted Makeover?

If you are haunted by lost love, dead friends, and cheating fate, you may relate to these stunning films.

There are some fairly sophisticated quantum physics theories at work back in the 1940s. We hear about tears in the seams of time, or atmospheric conditions that give a place parallel universal magic, or we meet obese Examiners who measure your life like a haberdasher fitting a good suit.

In nearly every instance of these plots, you must ultimately give up the dead and continue your life until you may be returned to some dimension where death is ephemeral and an illusion.

Perhaps we love these movies because they tell the fortunes of a haunted landlord and his soulful tenant.

Our Cosmo Topper ties to a personal spirit parallel each of the story-lines of old celluloid ghosts. If there is a common thread for all these stories, it is a dimension called limbo. One day both parties will be reunited, if not reincarnated.

Murder in Baseball?

DATELINE: Watch That Beanball

Dead St. Louis Cardinal Stuffed into His Locker

They don’t make’em like this anymore.

Death on the Diamond is a murder mystery movie based on Cortland Fitzsimmons’s novel. Set in the early 1930s, it tells the story of the St. Louis Cardinals—yes, the old Gashouse Gang with Dizzy Dean where and when a murder plot could be believed. The film was made in 1934.

You better believe MLB would never approve this script today.

Robert Young (before he knew best as Father and Dr. Marcus Welby) is hotshot pitcher Larry Kelly, one of many suspicious characters. When players start to be murdered during the pennant drive, no one cancels a game. You can lose a bunch from your starting lineup—but winning is contagious.

The show must go on—and so must the baseball game. They don’t even have a moment of silence. We loved those old days. A player may be strangled in the locker room between innings, but batter up!

If this high gloss production from MGM were not enough in glorious black and white, you have Mickey Rooney as the bat boy and Walter Brennan making hot dogs as a vendor. We recommend you don’t put any extra mustard on that dog.

The film is utterly ridiculous and the perfect way to start spring training. You have a greedy, hostile takeover owner ready to bounce the manager by wanting him to lose. You have a couple of players thrown out of the game for gambling. And, don’t forget the Mob that tempts your favorite athlete with women and drink, as well as bribes. And, the local newspaper reporter is no saint.

Uncovering the homicidal maniac is only half the fun, making the tune “Take Me out to the Ball Game” utterly sinister when it plays.

Second Best Woman

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

2nd woman

Seeing a poverty-row film noir borrowing heavily from Hitchcock’s style, the Master of Suspense may have returned the compliment after he saw 1949’s murder mystery called The Second Woman.

Director James V. Kern retreads Rebecca and Manderlay with his story of a dead wife-to-be and the architect owner of a Falling Water lookalike called Hilltop. Robert Young gives an accounting as a paranoid antihero with a Frank Lloyd Wright talent.

Jeff (Young) could be unlucky when his bride, his dog, his horse, expensive sculptures and paintings, all become targets of villainy. Whether it is his self-created plot, or someone else’s, this little gem must show in ninety taut minutes.

The house on the Costa del Rey in California on the Big Sur mimics scenes that Hitchcock would use in Vertigo nearly ten years later. The movie even borrows the dotty Florence Bates (a standard Hitchcock matron) for added atmosphere and homage to the Master.

There are enough suspicious people around Robert Young’s character to make anyone paranoid, but he is blessed with Betsy Drake as Ellen, niece of his next-door-neighbor, visiting and sleuthing using her literal actuarial tables for detecting. Yes, there is a spunky female willing to risk all to solve the mystery.

With snatches of melody from a variety of Tchaikovsky symphonies, the subtle elegance and atmospheric sets are a delight to behold.

This low-rent studio production rises up from its humble roots and provides first-class entertainment. Forgotten for decades, the film deserves to be rescued from its dismissal as something slightly borrowed from the A-list films of 1949.

Viewers plucky enough to seek the film out are in for a treat. Available from Amazon Instant Video and Sinister Cinema.