6.6/10
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Scared Stiff (1953)

Unrated | | Comedy, Horror, Musical | 27 April 1953 (USA)
Fleeing a murder charge, a singer and a busboy (Martin & Lewis) wind up on a spooky Carribean island inherited by heiress (Scott).

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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George Dolenz ...
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William Ching ...
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Ramon Cariso / Francisco Cariso
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Zombie
Tony Barr ...
Trigger
Leonard Strong ...
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

Feature film writing debut of future TV mogul Norman Lear. See more »

Goofs

At the club Mary receives a note from Larry that he can't make the date, she writes on (what looks like a show bill) three words (two on top line one on bottom) quickly scrawled but when we see a close up its written very clearly it reads: "Forgive me for running away-" See more »

Quotes

Myron Mertz: Hey, Larry, show business really gets in your blood, don't it?
Larry Todd: First you gotta have some.
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Connections

Version of The Ghost Breaker (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Enchiladas
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!
3 November 2006 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

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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