6.6/10
1,378
19 user 6 critic

Scared Stiff (1953)

Unrated | | Comedy, Horror, Musical | 27 April 1953 (USA)
Fleeing a murder charge, a busboy and a nightclub singer wind up on a spooky Caribbean island inherited by an heiress.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Herman owes a lot of gambling debts. To pay them off, he promises the mob he'll fix a horse, so that it does not run. He intends to trick his animal-loving cousin, Virgil, an apprentice ... See full summary »

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Marjie Millar
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Carmelita Castinha
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Paul Marion ...
Ramon Cariso / Francisco Cariso
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Tony Barr ...
Trigger
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Shorty
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Pierre
Hugh Sanders ...
Cop on Pier
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Storyline

Nightclub singer Larry Todd breaks off his romance with a beautiful showgirl when he realizes she's the girlfriend of a murderously jealous gangster. While on the run, Larry mistakenly believes he kills one of the mobsters and is helped to escape police by heiress Mary Carol, who smuggles Larry and partner Myron to Cuba. Mary has inherited a haunted castle on an isolated island and, ignoring ominous warnings and threats, decides to take possession. While there, the trio hunt for a hidden treasure and encounter a ghost, a zombie, and a mysterious killer. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're making a spook-tacle of themselves!


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Starr vor Angst  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Hope: a skeleton. Hope appeared in The Ghost Breakers (1940), of which this film is a remake. See more »

Goofs

Larry and Myron see the ghost of Don Santiago on the main floor of the castle. Don Santiago disappears into a chest. When they open the chest they see Don Santiago's skeleton (Larry remarks that 'that's all that's left of him'. Later in the family crypt, they see Don Santiago in his glass coffin and remark that he still looks the same. The ghost could have disappeared into the chest but the skeleton can only be in one place. See more »

Quotes

Rosie: I'm just an average girl.
Larry Todd: Honey, if you're an average girl then I've been dating boys.
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Connections

Referenced in Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Bongo Bingo
Written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
Performed by Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis & Carmen Miranda
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User Reviews

 
OK remake - OK Martin-Lewis vehicle!

I'm a Jerry Lewis fan and I think Bob Hope's «The Ghost Breakers» (1940) was technically way ahead of its time as a funny/scary Old Dark House comedy. This thirteen-years-later remake feels like it was hatched together as a quickie Martin-Lewis vehicle in the «scary» mode (they made four films that year). It reuses the same director (George Marshall), most of the dialogue, most of the situations, most of the special effects, all the stock footage and even one song from the original. The sets have also been recreated and the jokes «updated». If the remake works at all, it is due to the extreme quality and originality of the first film. Comedy writer Norman Lear (of TV fame) did his best in adapting the Bob Hope/Willie Best routine to the particular talents of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Where the story starts to creak though is in the scary scenes. They have lost their suspense and mystery and that undefinable mix of editing, timing, lighting, photography, acting, pacing and music called «atmosphere», which «The Ghost Breakers» had in spades.

The casting is also lacking: Lizabeth Scott is no Paulette Goddard. She may look good in a bathing suit but her comedy is stilted, her romantic moods are too entranced and her dramatics don't convince. William Ching is no Richard Carlson, Paul Marion is no Anthony Quinn and George Dolenz is no Paul Lukas either. The zombie character is also a special disappointment all its own. Out of a misguided sense of political correctness, the original Black zombie (Noble Johnson) has been replaced by a nondescript White (!) cowboy villain (!!) (Jack Lambert) who actually looks like an ordinary Joe (!!!) without makeup (!!!!) from a distance. His entrance actually causes crickets to start chirping.

All in all, I appreciate this film as a kind of homage to the original, for its numerous Jerry Lewis set pieces, in which he exhibits a supreme self-confidence, and for the Dean Martin songs - despite the near-obscenity of the «Enchilada Man» number (you can imagine but don't ask!)... The less said about the Carmen Miranda numbers the better (this was her last film).


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