A gruff sea captain is having trouble manning his ship because of rumors it's haunted. He inveigles Stanley and Oliver into helping him shanghai a crew from the sailors at a dockside bar. ... See full summary »
A gruff sea captain is having trouble manning his ship because of rumors it's haunted. He inveigles Stanley and Oliver into helping him shanghai a crew from the sailors at a dockside bar. Once aboard, the captain warns them that whoever says the word "ghost" will get his head twisted from north to south. At sea, one of the drunken sailors falls into a trough of whitewash, terrorizing Stanley and Oliver into blurting out "ghost" in front of the enraged captain. Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The whitewash trough was too shallow to cover the drunken sailor with whitewash just by his falling into it face-down. In the first shot of him falling, the whitewash doesn't splash much onto his back side, but in the next shot, he is covered all over in whitewash. See more »
[over "dead" body]
Do you think he's in heaven?
No. Most likely he's gone to the other place. Get some coal. We'll dump him overboard.
Do you gotta take your own coal with you when you go to the other place?
Certainly not. It's to weight the sack down so it'll sink.
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Laurel and Hardy are hanging out around a port with no money when they hear of a ship that needs a crew the captain can't get a man to join him because they believe his ship to be haunted. Laurel and Hardy agree to help the captain for payment by knocking out men and putting them on the ship. Things go well until Laurel and Hardy are also knocked out and loaded onto the ship with a none too friendly crew however the captain says he will protect them while they are onboard. Staying onboard at every port, Laurel and Hardy are put in charge of looking after a drunken crew member. A confusion over a gun leads them into panic over a `live ghost'.
The Live Ghost is a good short that could easily have been expanded into a longer film were it not for the tenuous `ghost' climax. As it stands it has a reasonable plot with very good characters. Unlike some of their shorts this feels like one idea that has been expanded into a 3 or 4 scene story as opposed to 2 good scenes worked into a story. As such it feels a lot more like a film than a sketch and is the better for it. The onshore scenes are good and the action on the ship, although a little stretched, is well delivered and very funny.
Laurel and Hardy are, of course, excellent, and it is their delivery that makes the conclusion (the live ghost of the title) work rather than seeming laboured in terms of plotting. The support cast is also good and well served. Rather than being just goons or fall guys, the actors all feel like characters Walter Long as the frustrated captain (`I heard your ship has a ghost' - `stop SAYING that!') was my favourite and gave the film a more rounded feel that went beyond Laurel and Hardy while still keeping them very much at the core.
Overall this is an enjoyable film that is an all round showcase for the talents of Laurel and Hardy. Their delivery makes the material much funnier than it could have been, and the plot and a good cast add to the feeling of this being more than just a sketch stretched to several scenes.
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