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Sir Simon Canterville (Charles Laughton) was to fight the Bold Sir Guy
(Tor Johnson) in a duel, but preferred to hide. His father (Reginald
Owen), detested by his cowardice, had him walled up in his hiding place.
years later, Sir Simon still haunts Canterville Castle, codemned to do so
until a Canterville commits an act of bravery in his name - fat chance
though, with the Cantervilles all being utter cowards ...
platoon of American soldiers (after all, this takes place during World War
II), who are assigned to stay in Canterville Castle for the time being -
and they have nothing better to do than giving the Canterville Ghost the
scare of his life.
6 year old Lady Jessica (Margaret O'Brien), the young
owner of Canterville Castle, eventually makes friends with one of the
soldiers, Cuffy (Robert Young), and finds out that he is a distant
relative of the Cantervilles. She introduces him and the ghost to each
other, and for Sir Simon's sage, he agrees to commit an act of bravery -
which shouldn't be too hard in the war right? But once on the battlefield,
he shows utter cowardice in the face of the enemy and almost gets his
whole platoon killed.
Now, not only isn't Sir Simon relieved from his
spell, Lady Jessica, his platoon and he himself are all utterly
disappointed in him as well.
In the end, though, Cuffy sees a blockbuser
bomb parachuting down over the area where his platoon is in a maneuver,
and he is the only one who can save his men .. need I say it ends happily?
Wilde's satirical Canterville Ghost, turned into a piece of World
War Ii propaganda - now that sounds like a rcipe for disaster, doesn't it.
In all fairness though, the film isn't half bad, for the most part it's a
comedy that's cute in a good way, a little too harmless maybe but not half
as cheesy as it could have been. t's only the ending, when Cuffy finds his
courage, that the film becomes high kitsch - and kitsch in a bad way -,
but that doesn't hurt the film too much.
In all, it's good fun, but far