What's the deal with the movie, Blithe Spirit (many remakes)?

The movie came on tv this weekend and the bf was watching it for a few minutes. He already had an idea of where the plot was going but since we were going somewhere we didn’t stay to watch and see if he was right. So I looked it up on IMDB and found several versions of the movie, three of which were released in a three year period!

There were versions made in 1945, '46, '48, '56 and 1966. They starred the likes of Rex Harrison, Betty Davis, Dirk Bogarde and Lauren Bacall (not all in the same film).

I saw that it was based on a play and wondered if they made a movie for every big name cast that may have done the play. Then I wondered why they stopped remaking it. Anyone know why so many versions were made?

Well, I don’t know if you noticed, but only the 1945 version was actually a movie, as such: all the others were adaptations for television.

It’s a very popular play (two Broadway revivals since the first run), so naturally they remake it from time to time. Older actresses also love to play Madame Arcati.

I wondered if that might be it. I tried to check the trivia on all of them but I was using the iPhone IMDB app and it’s a little harder to see things on that. But still, it seems a bit excessive even for tv adaptations. Maybe they didn’t have a lot if options back in the early days of tv.

In technical terms, at least, they didn’t – no video tape, no editing, etc. The 1946 and 48 productions would have been broadcast live; essentially performances of the stage play in the TV studio. And, of course, one of those was by WNBT in New York, and the other by the BBC in London – so there wouldn’t be many who’d get to see both. :smiley:

So, purely on US TV, we’re looking at three broadcasts of a popular light comedy in three different decades by three different companies. Which maybe doesn’t seem so excessive.

It’s possibly a bit odd that WNBT put on a production of the play only a year after the release of a movie adaptation (in Technicolor, no less!), but I don’t know what kind of distribution the film got in the US.