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The Canterville Ghost
Directed by Jules Dassin
Norman Z. McLeod (uncredited)
Produced by Arthur Field
Written by Edwin Blum
Oscar Wilde (story)
Starring Charles Laughton
Robert Young
Margaret O'Brien
Release date(s) July 28, 1944 (New York City)
Running time 95 minutes
Language English

The Canterville Ghost is a 1944 fantasy/comedy film directed by Jules Dassin, loosely based on the short story of the same title by Oscar Wilde. It starred Charles Laughton as a ghost doomed to haunt an English castle.

It was remade as a TV movie in 1986 and again in 1996.



In the seventeenth century, Sir Simon de Canterville (Charles Laughton) flees to the family castle to avoid a duel with a gigantic opponent (played by an uncredited Tor Johnson). His proud father, Lord Canterville (Reginald Owen), refuses to acknowledge that his son has disgraced the family name, even when shown in front of witnesses where Simon is cowering. The father has the only entrance to his son's hiding place bricked over as proof that Simon is not there, ignoring Simon's pleas for mercy. Lord Canterville then curses his cowardly son to find no rest until one of his descendants redeems him with an act of bravery.

The film then moves forward to World War II. US Army Rangers are billeted in the castle, owned now by a six-year-old Lady Jessica de Canterville (Margaret O'Brien). One of the men is Cuffy Williams (Robert Young). Jessica discovers that he is a Canterville by a distinctive birthmark. Together, the two meet and learn the fate of their ghostly ancestor. One night, Simon takes Cuffy on a tour of the family portrait gallery, recounting the cowardly acts of every descendant.

When the crucial moment comes, Cuffy seems to be a true Canterville. When an unexploded bomb is found, he is paralyzed with fear. However, Lady Jessica inspires him to hitch the bomb behind a jeep and drive it away to a ravine, jumping off at the last moment. The courageous act saves the lives of all in the area and Sir Simon is finally freed from his centuries of bondage.



The motion picture was shot in Pasadena, California.

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