The Ghost and Mrs. Muir appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently appealing presentation, though not one that dazzled.
Parts of the film came across as a little soft and ill defined. These examples were minor and may have related to cinematographic choices, but I still felt the movie couldíve shown a little better definition. Jagged edges and moirť effects created no concerns, though, and I witnessed no edge haloes. The image lacked obvious print flaws and seemed clean.
As for contrast, the film looked a bit bright at times, but it usually seemed solid. Black levels came across as fairly deep and rich, and shadow detail looked nicely clear and concise. The mild softness became the main reason I gave Muir a ďBĒ, but the film looked positive the vast majority of the time.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir presented both a remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 version and its original DTS-HD MA monaural audio. The 5.1 soundfield lacked much definition. Often the domain displayed broad mono; it spread the audio in a vague manner across the forward channels, but it failed to give us substantial accuracy or delineation. Music lacked obvious stereo definition; it filled the speakers but not in a concise way.
The presentation did enhance Harrisonís ghostly laugh, as the spread across the front was moderately effective, and it used the side/rear speakers to demonstrate the seaside setting reasonably well. The soundscape didnít do a lot but it added some breadth to the proceedings.
Audio quality appeared decent. Speech demonstrated a little too much reverb but generally remained acceptably distinct and intelligible. Effects were somewhat thin and tinny, but they sounded reasonably clean and accurate, and they didnít suffer from notable distortion. Bernard Herrmannís excellent score tended to be a little flat; it was acceptable but seemed somewhat lacking in range.
While the 5.1 track seemed fine on its own, I preferred the mono track. Speech still showed a little edginess, but the lines seemed warmer and more natural since they lacked the mild reverb of the 5.1 mix. Effects and music also displayed improved clarity and range; these werenít remarkable improvements, but I thought those elements appeared more distinctive here. Both tracks have their merits but Iíd opt for the mono mix.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was clearer and more dynamic, while the visuals seemed cleaner, tighter and more film-like. This was a nice upgrade.
The Blu-ray includes some of the DVDís extras, and these start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from visual effects supervisor/film historian Greg Kimble and Bernard Herrmann historian Christopher Husted. Both men were recorded separately and their statements were edited together for this occasionally screen-specific track.
Altogether, the pair offered a nice look at Muir. Kimble dominated the piece and he covered a lot of ground. He discussed specifics about the production such as sets, locations, cinematography and other technical issues, and he also went into some film history as it related to the movie. For instance, he talked about the production code in place at the time and told us how that affected the flickís content.
As for Husted, he concentrated mostly on score-related topics. He chatted about Herrmannís career and personality and also gave us some details about the way the music worked. All told, the pair combined to create an intriguing and stimulating discussion of Muir.
The second commentary involves film professor Jeanine Basinger and Joseph Mankiewicz biographer Kenneth Geist. As with the first track, both participants were recorded separately for this edited piece, but their remarks covered the flick in a running, scene-specific manner. Basinger dominated the commentary, especially during its first half; things became more equitable after that.
After the solid first commentary, this one seemed a little lackluster. Basinger went over a number of details related to the movie, with an emphasis on biographical details for the participants and story interpretation. Unfortunately, those latter elements tended to come across as little more than narration; Basinger didnít present a great deal of incisive material about the tale.
Although I expected Geist to focus mainly on Mankiewicz, he actually went over a mix of issues related to the flick. His remarks mostly blended in with Basingerís and didnít stand out as anything terribly remarkable. He told us some interesting elements such as Mankiewiczís reluctance to take on the movie, but he didnít delve into these topics with much substance.
Geistís discussion of Mankiewicz heard during All About Eve seemed much more compelling. A few too many empty spaces crop up as well, though these donít become frequent nuisances. Ultimately, the second commentary offered some decent moments but was fairly average as a whole.
The Blu-ray also includes the filmís trailer. It drops an A&E documentary about Rex Harrison, a still gallery and ads for other movies. Iím not shocked we lose the promos and the stills Ė many Blu-rays omit still frame options from DVDs Ė but I do feel surprised that the A&E show gets the boot. Perhaps some rights issues prevented its inclusion.
Not the average sentimental romance, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir provided a surprisingly likeable and entertaining affair. The flick avoided mushiness but managed a lot of zest and a sweet emotional element. The Blu-ray offered good picture, audio and bonus materials. Although the Blu-ray drops a few supplements from the DVD, its improvements in visual/sound quality make it a worthwhile upgrade.
To rate this film visit the Studio Classics review of THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR