tek's rating:

The Canterville Ghost, ABC
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This is based on a story by Oscar Wilde, first published in 1887, though I've never read the original story. It has been adapted a number of times over the years, and I've probably seen at least one other... probably in the 80s... I don't really remember. Anyway, this is a TV movie which aired in 1996. I remember watching it at the time, being interested chiefly because it starred Patrick Stewart, of whom I was a fan from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the lovely Neve Campbell, of whom I was a fan from Party of Five. Unfortunately, I didn't see the whole movie, because... I think the power went out. Many years later, I got the DVD, though it was probably another couple years or so before I finally watched it... on Halloween 2011. So it was fun to finally see the whole thing.

Anyway, Campbell plays Virginia "Ginny" Otis, whose father, Hiram, is a professor who was given a grant at a university in England, so his family (including his wife Lucille, their sons Washington and Adam, and of course Ginny) moved into this old English castle, Canterville Hall. There are also a couple of servants there, Mr. and Mrs. Umney. Ginny isn't happy about being there, though her hyperactive younger brothers enjoy it. Anyway, the castle is supposedly haunted, and before long, the kids discover that the place really is haunted, by the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville (the ancestor of the owner of the castle which the Otises are renting; the ghost is played by Stewart). Of course, Hiram, being a physicist, refuses to believe in ghosts. So, he blames anything strange that happens on Virginia, who he believes is trying to scare the family into moving back to Indiana.

Well, Sir Simon is scary at first (at least toward the children; he can't frighten their parents, because they can't see him). But eventually Ginny befriends him. She also starts a romance with her neighbor, a young duke named Francis. He believes in the ghost, and tries to help Ginny prove his existence to her father. Ginny also learns the truth about how Sir Simon's wife, Lady Eleanore, had died, over 400 years ago, as well as how Sir Simon himself had died, and been cursed. There was also a prophecy about how his curse could be broken, so that his spirit would finally be allowed to rest. And of course, Ginny helps with that.

That's pretty much the whole story. Can't say how much it differs from Wilde's original version, though there must surely be differences, considering this movie was made over 100 years after the story was written. But anyway, I definitely enjoyed it. It was charmingly acted, had some sweet bits, some sad bits, some funny bits... and I guess that's all I can say.


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