D: Noel Langley C: Louis Hayward, Teresa Wright, Kenneth Tobey
The title of this movie is really a misnomer, since a search was never conducted, or at least given up at an early date as unsuccessful. As a “proof” of reincarnation it must therefore be said to be somewhat lacking. In spite of its misleading title, it’s fairly honest about this, choosing instead to focus on the stellar performance of Teresa Wright. The movie begins rather inauspiciously, the local businessman and amateur hypnotist listening sheepishly, as his client (the customer is always right?) rambles on about the “psychic healer” and “sleeping prophet” Edgar Cayce – who never healed anyone or predicted anything, but greatly expanded on the theosophical drivel of the day, especially about Atlantis, warning that the death-ray leading to its submersion would be rediscovered in 1958 – where initial skepticism would have been much more convincing. There actually was a Bridey Murphy, not in Ireland in the nineteenth century, but in the twentieth in Wisconsin, where Virginia Tighe (Ruth Simmons in the movie) grew up. In fact they were next-door neighbors! Eager to please the self-styled hypnotist, as the subject is known to be, she could easily have elaborated on what she had been told as a child. Of course, this can be just as easily forgotten by the audience, when the utterly disoriented American housewife gets out of her chair and dances a charming little jig. All in all, in spite of the quite unnecessary mumbo-jumbo, this is much more than just clever propaganda. It’s a delight from start to finish!
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