IMDb > Beware Spooks! (1939)

Beware Spooks! (1939) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Richard Flournoy (play)
Richard Flournoy (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Beware Spooks! on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 October 1939 (USA) See more »
What Is He... MAN or MOUTH?
A bumbling detective chases an escaped convict in an amusement park haunted house. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Frivilous little comedy. See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Joe E. Brown ... Roy L. Gifford

Mary Carlisle ... Betty Lou Winters Gifford
Clarence Kolb ... Commissioner Lester Lewis

Marc Lawrence ... Slick Eastman

Don Beddoe ... Nick Bruno

George J. Lewis ... Danny Emmett
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry A. Bailey ... Barker (uncredited)
James Blaine ... Detective Adams (uncredited)
Stanley Brown ... Johnnie, Spook House Attendant (uncredited)
Frank Bruno ... Barker (uncredited)
Tommy Bupp ... Second Boy (uncredited)
Frank Dae ... Politician (uncredited)

Joe Devlin ... Shooting Gallery Man (uncredited)
Joe Downing ... (uncredited)
Ralph Dunn ... Police Sergeant Following Gifford (uncredited)
Jack Egan ... Barker (uncredited)
Edythe Elliott ... Woman Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Bank Cashier (uncredited)

Lorna Gray ... (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton ... Policeman (uncredited)
Howard C. Hickman ... Judge Roth (uncredited)

Dickie Jones ... First Boy (uncredited)

Charles Lane ... Mr. Moore, Credit Man (uncredited)
Eddie Laughton ... Dr. Johnson (uncredited)
Ethelreda Leopold ... Pretty Girl (uncredited)
Stanley Mack ... Barker (uncredited)
George McKay ... Cab Driver Telling Joke (uncredited)
Pat McKee ... Moving Man (uncredited)

Iris Meredith ... Babe, Spook House Ticket Seller (uncredited)
Frank Moran ... Second Moving Man (uncredited)
Joe Palma ... Shooting Gallery Man (uncredited)
Charles Regan ... Barker (uncredited)
Al Rhein ... Barker (uncredited)
Claire Rochelle ... Candy Girl (uncredited)

Walter Sande ... Policeman (uncredited)
Cy Schindell ... Barker (uncredited)

Robert Sterling ... Bellboy (uncredited)
Frank M. Thomas ... Capt. Wood (uncredited)
Robert Williams ... Policeman (uncredited)

Directed by
Edward Sedgwick 
Writing credits
Richard Flournoy (play "Spook House")

Richard Flournoy (screenplay) and
Albert Duffy (screenplay) and
Brian Marlow (screenplay)

Produced by
Robert Sparks .... producer
Cinematography by
Allen G. Siegler 
Film Editing by
James Sweeney 
Art Direction by
Lionel Banks 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Mull .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Edward Bernds .... sound (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton .... stunts (uncredited)
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
Leigh Harline .... composer: main and end title music (uncredited)
Louis Silvers .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
William Grant Still .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
65 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Sweden:15 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #5845)


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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Frivilous little comedy., 15 September 2002
Author: mark.waltz from United States

Don't let the title fool you; This is not a comedy in the tradition of "The Ghost Breakers" or "Hold That Ghost"; It is the story of a bumbling cop out to improve his reputation by finding a payroll robber he accidently let get away. Joe E. Brown, best known to today's audiences as Captain Andy in the 1951 revival of "Show Boat" and as the suave millionaire who provides the punchline at the end of "Some Like It Hot", plays the less-than-capable police officer who has been transfered so many times that there is nowhere else to send him. Determined to restore his reputation, Brown and his young wife, Mary Carlisle, begin investigating on their own, and trace the crooks to an amusement park where there is a slapstick finale inside a fun house.

By the late 1930's, film comics popular in the early days of talkies were starting to run out of steam, and Brown was one of them. He had made several dozen low-budget comedys for Warner Brothers in the early-mid 30's, and by this time, was reduced to even lower-budgeted comedys at studios such as RKO and Columbia (where this came from). They were more likely to be seen on the lower half of a double bill and thus get lower attention than the slapstick films then being made by such "newer" folks as Bob Hope and The Ritz Brothers. By the time of the arrival of Abbott and Costello the following year, comics such as Brown swung down the ladder even further, Brown reduced to working at Republic.

"Beware Spooks!" is entertaining thanks to its short running time and fast paced slapstick action. Brown does his best to enliven the show which goes into full-force two-reeler like speed at the end when the crook (Marc Lawrence) and Brown go head-to-head in a fun house. The comedy which comes before that is dull in comparrison, but there are moments within the finale which are masterpieces of slapstick comedy. Mary Carlisle, one of those non-descript leading ladies of the 30's, is secondary, and it is understandable why she is basically forgotten today. She was given these types of parts based upon beauty alone, which didn't require much skill other than to look worried or pretty. Clarence Kolb, as the boss, is an entertaining character actor, and does his best to make his part of the buffoon boss interesting.

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