IMDb > The Ghost Breakers (1940)
The Ghost Breakers
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The Ghost Breakers (1940) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Walter DeLeon (screen play)
Paul Dickey (based on a play by) ...
View company contact information for The Ghost Breakers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 June 1940 (USA) See more »
The two stars of "The Cat and the Canary" find love and laughter in a haunted house!
A radio broadcaster, his quaking manservant, and an heiress investigate the mystery of a haunted castle in Cuba. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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(9 articles)
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User Reviews:
Comic Hope investigates a haunted island off the coast of Cuba See more (65 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bob Hope ... Larry Lawrence

Paulette Goddard ... Mary Carter

Richard Carlson ... Geoff Montgomery

Paul Lukas ... Parada
Willie Best ... Alex

Pedro de Cordoba ... Havez (as Pedro De Cordoba)
Virginia Brissac ... Mother Zombie

Noble Johnson ... The Zombie

Anthony Quinn ... Ramon Mederos / Francisco Mederos

Tom Dugan ... Raspy Kelly

Paul Fix ... Frenchy Duval

Lloyd Corrigan ... Martin
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

James Blaine ... Police Sergeant (uncredited)

David Durand ... Bellhop (uncredited)
Jack Edwards ... Ship Bellboy (uncredited)

Robert Elliott ... Lieutenant Murray (uncredited)

James Flavin ... Hotel Porter (uncredited)
Jack Hatfield ... Elevator Boy (uncredited)

Grace Hayle ... Screaming Woman (uncredited)

Douglas Kennedy ... Intern (uncredited)
Francisco Marán ... Headwaiter (uncredited)

Dolores Moran ... Las Palmas Patron (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ... Baggage Handler (uncredited)
Jack Norton ... Drunk (uncredited)

Tom Quinn ... Man in Hotel Hallway (uncredited)

Robert Ryan ... Intern (uncredited)

Larry Steers ... Man in Hotel Hallway (uncredited)
Kay Stewart ... Telephone Girl (uncredited)
Leonard Sues ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Policeman at Boat Dock (uncredited)
Blanca Vischer ... Dolores - Cuban Girl (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Radio Announcer (uncredited)

Max Wagner ... Ship Porter (uncredited)

Directed by
George Marshall 
Writing credits
Walter DeLeon (screen play)

Paul Dickey (based on a play by) and
Charles W. Goddard (based on a play by)

Produced by
Arthur Hornblow Jr. .... producer
William LeBaron .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Ernst Toch (music score by)
Victor Young (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Charles Lang (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Ellsworth Hoagland (edited by)
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier 
Robert Usher 
Costume Design by
Edith Head (costumes)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mel Epstein .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
A.E. Freudeman .... interior decorator
Sound Department
Harold Lewis .... sound recordist
Richard Olson .... sound recordist
Visual Effects by
Farciot Edouart .... process photography
Camera and Electrical Department
Andrew J. Durkus .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Bill Heckler .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Music Department
Andrea Setaro .... musical advisor
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
85 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Australia:A | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #6126) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Bob Hope is said to have enjoyed this role since it was a total change of pace for him. In most of his films he portrays a coward while, in this one, he is heroic.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): The elevator operator tells Larry that room 1409 is "down the hall and to the left" yet he gestures down the hall and to the right.See more »
[first lines]
Mary Carter:Hello, operator? Operator? Operator, the lights in my room. What? The lightning?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Thanks for the MemorySee more »


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28 out of 32 people found the following review useful.
Comic Hope investigates a haunted island off the coast of Cuba, 3 June 2000
Author: ( from Wichita, KS USA

Many movie fans who were raised seeing Bob Hope strictly in the slightly depressing films he made during the 1960s and his periodic TV specials may be surprised to learn that in the 1940s he was one of the best "fast patter' comedians working on the radio and in films. Generally playing a coward who still managed to come up on top in circumstances over which he had no control, the comic starred in a number of successful films.

I admittedly have a preference for "old dark house" mysteries, and I spent years trying to catch up on this one. The only version of the script which had been readily available through the 1970s was the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis remake, SCARED STIFF, which used the basic premise but altered some of the gags and inserted musical numbers.

The action opens in New York City where Lawrence "Larry" Lawrence (Hope) is preparing for a radio broadcast as the city is hit by a storm-created blackout. Larry broadcasts gossip which includes, with tacit approval from the mob, news on some of the local crime kingpins. Unfortunately, his latest broadcast annoys Frenchy Duval (Paul Fix), and Larry is invited over for a few straight facts.

In the meantime, one of Larry's listeners is conferring with a lawyer who informs her she's inherited an island off the Cuban Coast. Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) is thrilled at the news and makes plans to sail at once, in spite of the island's grim reputation as a hotspot for ghosts and worse. Fending off an offer from an unnamed third party to buy the island, she starts packing.

Larry arrives at Duval's hotel, which happens to also be the one where the heiress is staying. Suspecting he's in for more trouble than he can handle (i.e., any at all), Larry borrows a gun from his servant Alex (Willie Best). When a mysterious stranger is shot at the hotel, Lawrence panics --- assuming he killed the man -- and ends up in Mary's room. The police arrive and she offers him refuge.

Picking her trunk as his hiding place, Larry winds up aboard her cruise ship. Spotting a death threat that had been delivered to her stateroom, he decides that he and Alex will stay and protect her.

En route to Cuba, they encounter Geoff Montgomery (Richard Carlson, starting his move away from playing college-aged characters), with whom Mary's tokenly acquainted. He offers to play guide once they arrive in Havana.

Mary vanishes from a nightclub, heading out to heck out the island by night. Larry and a reluctant Alex hire a rowboat and also make for the isle. Arriving, they briefly examine the hut of a local woman with a "zombie son" (Noble Johnson in a fairly creepy, deadpan performance) and proceed on to the bay haunted castle.

It quickly becomes obvious that there's someone else on the island. Alex and Larry have a run-in with a real ghost and the zombie son. Mary arrives and, her clothing torn, puts on a dress once owned by an ancestor for which she's a deal not so dead ringer. This confuses the zombie long enough for them to lock him away.

Investigating the cellars, Larry and Mary find her lawyer in one of the coffins. He'd been attacked by the mysterious individual who had wanted to purchase the island. He dies before he can reveal the killer -- only giving a cryptic clue. This turns out to be a hint at a fabulous treasure hidden underneath the castle.

The killer makes himself known, but is dispatched before he can eliminate the witnesses.

A fun little outing, and a decent example of one of the fairly early sound "old house" mysteries. These films were popular in the silent era, generally pitting one or more characters against an unknown killer in a rambling, storm-tossed mansion. Hope and Goddard had also starred in a sound remake of one of the better known of these creakers, THE CAT AND THE CANARY.

GHOST BREAKERS is well worth renting.

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