Reviewed by DAVID VINEYARD:          

A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN. 1945. Margaret Lockwood, James Mason, Barbara Mullen, Dennis Price. Screenplay by Brock Williams and Osbert Sitwell, based on the latter’s novel. Directed by Bernard Knowles.

   This quiet little British film is both a ghost story and a murder mystery, but done in such a subtle civilized style minus any melodrama that you might miss that. You shouldn’t. It is a fine subtle film that features fine performances and a strong affecting story.

   James Mason and Barbara Mullen are the Smedhursts, an older couple, he retired from business, who move into a quiet home in the country where they hire Annette, Margaret Lockwood, as a companion who soon becomes like their daughter, and when young Dr. Selbie (Dennis Price) begins to woo her it seems as if all will live happily ever after, but there is something waiting for them that cannot be ignored.

   It seems their lovely home is haunted by the spirit of a young woman who was murdered, her death unsolved, and this restless spirit soon begins to influence Annette, who grows ill, and whose life is soon at stake unless hard headed pragmatic Mr. Smedhurst and young Dr. Selbie can lay the ghost and the murderer with a bit of detective work.

   It is hard to describe how charming and low key this film is, with Mason, at the time labeled the “man women loved to hate” for his sexy dangerous leads in films like The Man in Gray, The Wicked Lady, and The Seventh Veil, heavily made up against type as a practical aging middle class businessman who applies his level head to laying a ghost and saving a young woman. Everyone is good in the film, but it is Mason who carries the weight, and carries it effortlessly.

   This is a charming drama with more than a few touches of gentle humor, far from a thriller, and certainly not scary, but none the less a fine cinematic ghost story that manages to make the haunting quite real while never indulging in the usual trappings of the ghost story.

   A Place of One’s Own may be too low key for some, but I found it an intelligent and entertaining exercise in literate, well acted, and intelligent cinematic storytelling professionally and charmingly presented by all involved. Once you get into it this film will hold you effortlessly to the final scene.