The Ghosts of Berkeley Square

The Ghosts of Berkeley Square is a 1947 British comedy film, directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Robert Morley and Felix Aylmer. The film is an adaptation of the novel No Nightingales by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon, inspired by the enduring reputation of the property at 50 Berkeley Square as "the most haunted house in London".[2] Despite its stellar cast of highly respected character actors and its inventive use of special effects, the film proved less successful at the box-office than had been hoped.[3]

The Ghosts of Berkeley Square
Screenshot from the film, with Felix Aylmer and Robert Morley
Directed byVernon Sewell
Produced byLouis H. Jackson
Screenplay byJames Seymour
Based onNo Nightingales
by Caryl Brahms
and S. J. Simon
StarringRobert Morley
Felix Aylmer
Music byHans May
CinematographyErnest Palmer
Edited byJoseph Sterling
Distributed byPathe Pictures (UK) [1]
Release date
  • 30 October 1947 (1947-10-30) (UK)
Running time
100 minutes [1]
CountryUnited Kingdom


Two 18th century officers, General Burlap (Morley) and Colonel Kelsoe (Aylmer), are desperate to prevent war, so they hatch a plan to capture the Duke of Marlborough and hold him prisoner until the threat of hostilities passes. Unfortunately, while testing the efficacy of the contraption they have designed to entrap the duke, they manage to kill themselves. Their stupidity incurs the wrath of Queen Anne in the afterlife, and as punishment they are condemned to haunt the Berkeley Square house until such time as a British monarch crosses the threshold of the property.

Things get off to a rocky start when the ghosts of Burlap and Kelsoe blame each other for the fiasco, quarrel, and refuse to speak to each other for 66 years. Once they have resolved their differences, they set about trying to engineer the required Royal Visit. Over the decades they interact with the succession of different occupants of the house, but never manage to lure a monarch to enter. As the years pass, the house becomes variously the home of a French-run bordello with drinking, gambling and fornication; an Indian rajah complete with harem; the home of the P. T. Barnum theatre: a Boer War soldiers' hospital and a World War I officers' club. Their time as earth-bound ghosts eventually comes to an end when Berkeley Square is bombed during an air raid and Queen Mary comes to visit the damaged properties, allowing the pair finally to take their place in the afterlife.

Main cast

See also


  1. BBFC: The Ghosts of Berkeley Square (1947) Linked 2013-08-31
  2. 50 Berkeley Square - The most haunted house in London Walks of London. Retrieved 21-08-2010
  3. Vernon Sewell (1903-2001) BFI Screen Online. Retrieved 21-08-2010
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