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The Live Ghost (1934)

Passed  |   |  Short, Comedy  |  8 December 1934 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 846 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

A gruff sea captain, who absolutely detests the word "ghost," is having trouble manning his ship because of the rumor it's...well...haunted. He inveigles Stanley and Oliver into helping him... See full summary »

Director:

(as Charles Rogers)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Maisie the Vamp
Walter Long ...
Captain
Arthur Housman ...
Drunken Sailor
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Storyline

A gruff sea captain, who absolutely detests the word "ghost," is having trouble manning his ship because of the rumor it's...well...haunted. He inveigles Stanley and Oliver into helping him shanghai a crew from the sailors at a dockside bar. The comic duo accomplish this by using one of the funniest devices ever put into a movie, and of course it all goes wrong. Once aboard, the captain warns them that whoever says the word "ghost" will get his head twisted from north to south. After much time at sea and many port stops later, 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, which brings about the story's Laurel and Hardy trademark "another fine mess" ending. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

captain | sailor | ship | bar | money | See All (12) »

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 December 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az eleven kisértet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Intoxicated-character actor Arthur Houseman actually was an alcoholic. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Captain: Get for'ard.
Stanley: [starts to walk toward the rear door of the hold]
Captain: Heyyy - I said "FOR'ARD"!
Stanley: [turns to Ollie and leans over closer to him so Ollie can check on his forehead, thinking that the Captain is saying that something is wrong with it] What's the matter with it? Can you see anything?
Oliver: [lifts Stan's hat slightly to have a better look] There's nothing wrong with it that I can see.
Captain: [shoving them both forward impatiently] Oh, come ON, here! Come ON!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Dance of the Cookoos (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Good all round film
5 July 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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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