Mr. Dithers has a house he can't unload because it is rumored to be haunted. When he lets the Bumsteads move into it, they discover sliding panels and secret passages. The haunting is the ... See full summary »
Mr. Dithers has a house he can't unload because it is rumored to be haunted. When he lets the Bumsteads move into it, they discover sliding panels and secret passages. The haunting is the work of the butler and his wife who figure the house rightfully belongs to them. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is the eighth Blondie movie, and it is rather corny and inferior. It is not really about servant trouble at all, and the producers unwisely chose to try to pep up the series by basing this film on a terrible story by Albert Duffy, who had not written for Blondie before and mercifully never did again. The story was wholly artificial and out of character for the series. The Bumsteads go to stay for a few days in a large, isolated house which Mr. Dithers is attempting to sell, as executor of an Estate. Blondie had been getting one of her 'notions', this time that she wanted a maid, but of course could not afford one (hence the reference to 'servant trouble'). As the huge house is empty, the Bumsteads think this would be a fine break for them, and compensate Blondie for not being able to have a maid. But the house turns out to be 'haunted'. Of course it is not really haunted, but it once belonged to a man who manufactured magic tricks, some of which they bump into and have to pretend to be frightened. There are some really silly scenes, such as Dagwood getting a flashlight stuck in his mouth, and another where he jumps with fear at a pop-up opera hat. These scenes are not at all funny. Even Daisy the Dog seems dispirited at this ill-intentioned attempt to make us laugh at jokes which flop. She does fewer cute tricks than usual, and there are not really any good gag-lines in the script either. The adorable Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling is enjoyable to watch as always, but he looks bored too, and the whole idea of 'the Bumsteads in a haunted house' is so trite and boring that they should really not have made this inferior Blondie film at all. It turns out that the so-called butler who turns up and starts waiting on the Bumsteads is serious servant trouble, being really a homicidal maniac who has just escaped from court after knifing a lawyer in front of a judge. He is played with long face by the solemn Arthur Hohl, making his only Blondie appearance. When things get to the extreme of having a psychotic killer attack Blondie and Baby Dumpling with a knife, then we really have left Blondie territory and are in Abbot & Costello territory. We might as well be watching ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE GHOSTS (1948) with Bela Lugosi, or even watching Francis the talking mule in FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1956). This was a demented departure from what Dagwood and Blondie are meant to be all about, and the producers must have gone temporarily mad to make it. If the film had managed to be funny or even witty, we might put up with it, but frankly, why bother, when there are 27 other Blondie movies to choose from.
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