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The Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost(1944)

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The film opens with a brief prologue in which an offscreen narrator discusses "Simon de Canterville" as one of the "famous ghosts of England." Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts add the following information about the production: M-G-M purchased Oscar Wilde's story in August 1939 as a vehicle for Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart. (In the Wilde story, "Lady Jessica," the part played by child star Margaret O'Brien, was an older character.) In 1943, after 38 days of shooting, Norman Z. McLeod was replaced as director by Jules Dassin. Hollywood Reporter reported that McLeod was leaving due to a "difference of opinion;" modern sources state that McLeod was fired on the insistence of star Charles Laughton. Robert Planck replaced William Daniels as director of photography when McLeod left the production. Bob Crosby was scheduled to perform in a non-singing role in the film, but did not appear. Although Mary McLeod, Will Stanton, Ethel Griffies and Jack Lambert were listed as cast members in Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. In addition, Hollywood Reporter announced that former M-G-M grip Fred Beckner was to make his screen acting debut playing a "Ranger" in the picture, but his participation in the completed film has not been confirmed. Some scenes were shot at Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA. The Canterville Ghost marked the reunion of Robert Young and O'Brien, who had appeared together in the popular 1942 M-G-M film Journey for Margaret . The film was to be shown to overseas forces prior to its U.S. release. In January 1945, Randall Faye filed a $100,000 lawsuit against M-G-M, alleging that the studio plagiarized his story "You Belong to Me," which he claimed to have submitted to M-G-M in 1943, when it made The Canterville Ghost. The disposition of that suit is not known.
       Among the many other adaptations of Oscar Wilde's story are the following television versions, all titled The Canterville Ghost: On September 28, 1949, the ABC network broadcast a version directed by Fred Carr and starring Wendy Barrie and Edward Ashley; the NBC network broadcast a version on November 20, 1950, starring Cecil Parker and Margaret O'Brien, as part of its Robert Montgomery Presents Your Lucky Strike Theatre program; on April 12, 1951, the Du Mont network broadcast a version directed by Frank Wisbar and starring Lois Hall, Reginald Sheffield and Bruce Lester; in May 1953, Ziv TV produced a syndicated version, directed by Sobey Martin and starring John Qualen and Connie Marshall; a musicalized adaptation, written and produced by Burt Shevelove and starring Michael Redgrave, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Peter Noone, was broadcast on the ABC network on November 9, 1966; and on October 15, 1986, Paul Bogart directed John Gielgud, Ted Wass and Andrea Marcovicci in another syndicated version.