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April 2003, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 20 Apr 2003 23:06:32 +1000
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"Miller, James Andrew (UMC-Student)" wrote:

> I'm looking at a lot of ghost movies from the 1940s (Ghost and Mrs Muir, Portrait of Jennie, A Guy Named Joe) and began to notice that there seem to be quite a few of what I might call "almost ghost" or "pseudo ghost" films in the period.
> Examples:
> The Ghost Breakers (1941): the ghost turns out to be a scam...
> Laura
> The Lost Moment (1947): adaptation of James' "The Aspern Papers"-- Miss Tina
> isn't literally a ghost but has almost made herself one by sheer force of will...

That last entry interests me.  The notion of 'sheer force of will' informs Poe's 'Ligeia' which thrice quotes a passage from Joseph Glanvill (1636-80) in support.  (Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were later comers!)  It may also be found in the
novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, 'D'entre les morts' (c. 1955), the basis of Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958).

Hitchcock's REBECCA (1940) may just about meet your description of 'almost ghost' films, inasmuch that the dead Rebecca 'haunts' the mansion called Manderlay and exerts her pernicious influence through the living, notably the sinister Mrs

REBECCA was of course an influence on that fine ghost film, Lewis Allen's THE UNINVITED (1944).

Re the foregoing, you may want to look at the entries on REBECCA, LIFEBOAT, and VERTIGO in my 'The Alfred Hitchcock Story' (1999) - the uncut, non-simplified UK edition.

- Ken Mogg (Ed., 'The MacGuffin').

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