Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||Neil Jordan|
|Produced by||David Saunders|
|Written by||Neil Jordan|
|Music by||George Fenton|
|Edited by||Michael Bradsell|
|Distributed by||Palace Pictures (UK and Ireland)|
TriStar Pictures (North America)
|18 November 1988|
|Box office||$8,578,231 (USA)|
High Spirits is a 1988 fantasy comedy film directed by Neil Jordan and starring Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, Beverly D'Angelo, Liam Neeson and Peter O'Toole. It is an Irish, British and American co-production.
Set in a remote Irish castle called Dromore Castle, Co. Limerick, High Spirits is a topsy-turvy comedy with thematic leanings towards Ireland's rich folklore regarding ghosts and spirits, where the castle starts to come to life with the help of such denizens.
Peter O'Toole is Peter Plunkett, the owner of a dilapidated Irish castle which has been converted to a bed and breakfast supplying the only employment for the local villagers. Owing money to an Irish-American businessman by the name of Brogan, Plunkett has the idea to turn the castle into "the most haunted castle in Europe" for the tourist trade, inspired by his mother's stories of the castle's history of ghosts. He and his wacky staff of Irish characters set about creating ghost costumes and effects for their first group of American lodgers.
At first annoyed by the inept hauntings, the American guests (including Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Connie Booth, Peter Gallagher and Jennifer Tilly) soon get what they paid for as the genuine ghosts of Castle Plunkett take umbrage with being cheaply exploited and stage a full-scale paranormal event.
The ghosts of two dead people, Mary Plunkett and Martin Brogan (played by Daryl Hannah and Liam Neeson), become romantically entangled with Guttenberg and D'Angelo's characters. This romantic twist is the focus of most of the plot.
- Daryl Hannah – Mary Plunkett Brogan
- Peter O'Toole – Peter Plunkett
- Steve Guttenberg – Jack
- Beverly D'Angelo – Sharon
- Liam Neeson – Martin Brogan
- Jennifer Tilly – Miranda
- Peter Gallagher – Brother Tony
- Ray McAnally – Plunkett Senior
- Martin Ferrero – Malcolm
- Connie Booth – Marge
- Donal McCann – Eamon
- Liz Smith – Mrs. Plunkett
- Mary Coughlan – Katie
- Ruby Buchanan – Great Aunt Nan
- Isolde Cazelet – Julia
- Aimée Delamain – Great Granny Plunkett
- Tom Hickey – Sampson
- Krista Hornish – Wendy
- Little John – Gateman
- Preston Lockwood – Great Uncle Peter
- Paul O'Sullivan – Graham
- Hilary Reynolds – Patricia
- Tony Rohr – Christy
- Matthew Wright – Woody
The film received negative reviews from critics, as it currently holds a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 14 reviews. Daryl Hannah was nominated for a Razzie Award as Worst Supporting Actress, but lost to Kristy McNichol for Two Moon Junction.
Director Neil Jordan has always maintained that the release version of this film is very different from the one he shot. He was more or less excluded from the editing process of the final cut. He insists that his version is still locked away in a vault.