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Ghosts (1915)

Helen and Manders are in love and wish to marry. Her parents object to his poverty and want her to marry Alving, a notorious rake, who is wealthy and powerful. Manders protests. The family ... See full summary »


John Emerson (unconfirmed), Henrik Ibsen (play) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Karl Formes Karl Formes ... Henrik Ibsen
Al W. Filson Al W. Filson ... The Family Doctor
Thomas Jefferson ... Johanna's Unseeing Husband
Juanita Archer Juanita Archer ... Johanna
Henry B. Walthall ... Captain Arling / Oswald (as Henry Walthall)
Mary Alden ... Helen Arling - the Wealthy Heiress
Nigel De Brulier ... Pastor Manders - Alvina's Sweetheart
Loretta Blake ... Regina


Helen and Manders are in love and wish to marry. Her parents object to his poverty and want her to marry Alving, a notorious rake, who is wealthy and powerful. Manders protests. The family physician also objects because of the result such a match would mean on the children, but Helen's parents laugh at these new-fangled notions. The doctor then appeals to Alving, who laughs him to scorn. Urged on by her parents, ambitious Helen, disregarding all warnings, marries Alving. Later Helen discovers a liaison between her husband and a young married woman. She contemplates leaving her husband and seeks her physicians advice, but he declines to give it. She then sees her pastor, who advises her to adhere to convention and her husband. Meanwhile, the young married woman gives birth to a child by Alving, and the physician agrees to bring the father to see it and keep the real parentage secret. Helen also bears a boy named Oswald. When Oswald is nine, Alving dies, a victim of his excesses. Oswald... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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One of the first authentic horror movies! See more »




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A print of the film is preserved in the Library of Congress collection. See more »


Version of Ghosts (2011) See more »

User Reviews

A Ghost of GHOSTS
9 May 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

I certainly wanted to like this movie, in no small part because of its cast. However, despite the great esteem Ibsen was held in -- and still is -- the censor's hand lays heavily on this version of his play. With all mention of syphilis removed, it becomes a story of hereditary madness and incest: just the thing to suit a movie industry still subject to fits of outright melodrama, but lacking the moral component of the play. Henry B. Walthall and the title writers work hard to suggest the disease to anyone familiar with it, but that results in a bit of overacting, as the slow course of the disease first suggests a pain in the neck. Perhaps if Hollywood had tried to do this in the Pre-Code era it might have worked. They didn't.

I came to this movie knowing Ibsen's play, and that informs my impression of it, like understanding a veiled reference to an absent individual from the speaker's tone of voice and a raised eyebrow. Undoubtedly the audience for this movie understood it by the same cues. However, given the fact that it tells its story through the chapter-heading style of movie-making tells us that this was intended for an audience who knew the play and would now have a chance to see it performed in pantomime. As an independent work of cinema, it doesn't quite work, in large part because of its mandated coyness.

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None | English

Release Date:

June 1915 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Curse See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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