A Place of One's Own

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A Place of One's Own
Directed by Bernard Knowles
Written by Brock Williams
Based on A Place of One's Own by Osbert Sitwell
Produced by R. J. Minney
Starring James Mason
Barbara Mullen
Margaret Lockwood
Dennis Price
Dulcie Gray
Cinematography Stephen Dade
Edited byCharles Knott
Music by Hubert Bath
Distributed by Eagle-Lion Distributors
Release dates
  • 28 May 1945 (1945-05-28)
1949 (USA)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

A Place of One's Own is a 1945 British film directed by Bernard Knowles. An atmospheric ghost story based on the 1940 novel of the same title by Osbert Sitwell, it stars James Mason, Barbara Mullen, Margaret Lockwood, Dennis Price and Dulcie Gray. Mason and Mullen are artificially aged to play the old couple. It was one of the cycle of Gainsborough Melodramas.



The Smedhursts, newly retired, buy Bellingham House, which has been vacant for over 40 years and is rumoured to be haunted by the previous owner, Elizabeth, who is widely believed to have been murdered by her guardians. Mrs Smedhurst employs a young lady, Annette, as a companion. Annette becomes haunted by Elizabeth, who is waiting for her lover, Dr Marsham. Mr Smedhurst asks the police to find Dr Marsham, and he comes to visit Annette/Elizabeth. The next morning, everyone in the house feels "lighter" and Annette wakes up recovered. A local policeman arrives and announces that Dr Marsham has been found but will not be able to visit as he has died...



The film was based on a novel published in 1942. [1]

James Mason wrote in his memoirs that when he read the script "not only did I enthuse but I even asked that I might be permitted to play the role of the elderly retiree in the story." [2]

This was the first time Margaret Lockwood used a beauty spot on her cheek in a film, something which became a trademark. [3]


According to Kinematograph Weekly the film performed well at the British box office in 1945. [4] [5]

Considering the popularity at the time of stars James Mason and Margaret Lockwood, however, the film was considered a financial disappointment. Mason later wrote in his memoirs that the blame needed to be shared between himself, for wanting to play the role, and the producer, for letting him.

Of course it could have turned out a failure even if the most suitable actor in the world had played that part. But the reactions of the top brass at the studio did nothing to allay my own feeling of guilt for having volunteered my services. In any case it was not that I was incapable of turning my hand to a character part, it was just that I had amassed what I always realized was an absurd degree of popularity, and the fan population wanted me to appear only as some heroic young lady-killer; or better-still, ladybasher. [2]

He also blamed director Bernard Knowles:

Knowles deserved his share [of blame] because he had never got over Citizen Kane and still thought that it was a shortcut to success if one had the actors play immensely long sequences without any intercutting or covering shots. In Citizen Kane the director could afford to do this because Herman Mankiewicz had revised one strong situation after another. [2]

The film was not released in the US until 1949.

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A Place of One's Own is a mystery novel written by the British author Osbert Sitwell that was published in 1940. Belonging to the ghost story genre, the novel was an extension of a short story that Sitwell had previously written. The plot follows the lives of an elderly couple at the turn of the twentieth century who move into a new house, only to discover that it appears to be haunted.


  1. "FACT OR FICTION?". The Sydney Morning Herald . No. 32, 647. New South Wales, Australia. 15 August 1942. p. 6. Retrieved 12 April 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  2. 1 2 3 James Mason, Before I Forget, quoted in A Place of One's Own [ permanent dead link ] at Turner Classic Movies
  3. Margret Lockwood obitury at The Times July 1990
  4. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p 208
  5. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32, no. 3. p. 258.