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The Live Ghost (1934)

Passed | | Short, Comedy | 8 December 1934 (USA)
A gruff sea captain, who absolutely detests the word "ghost," is having trouble manning his ship because of the rumor it's...well...haunted. He inveigles Stanley and Oliver into helping him... See full summary »

Director:

Charley Rogers (as Charles Rogers)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Stan Laurel ... Stan
Oliver Hardy ... Ollie
Mae Busch ... Maisie the Vamp
Walter Long ... Captain
Arthur Housman ... Drunken Sailor
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Storyline

A gruff sea captain, who absolutely detests the word "ghost," is having trouble manning his ship because of the rumor it's...well...haunted. He inveigles Stanley and Oliver into helping him shanghai a crew from the sailors at a dockside bar. The comic duo accomplish this by using one of the funniest devices ever put into a movie, and of course it all goes wrong. Once aboard, the captain warns them that whoever says the word "ghost" will get his head twisted from north to south. After much time at sea and many port stops later, one of the drunken sailors falls into a trough of whitewash, terrorizing Stanley and Oliver into blurting out "ghost" in front of the enraged captain, which brings about the story's Laurel and Hardy trademark "another fine mess" ending. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 December 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Az eleven kisértet See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Intoxicated-character actor Arthur Houseman actually was an alcoholic. See more »

Goofs

The cabin door that Hardy crashes through is obviously just made of thin breakable panelling that simply "pulverizes" when he barges through it. See more »

Quotes

Oliver: I'd better go in this time - - they'll know you by now.
[exchanges the frying pan for the bag of eggs]
Oliver: And lay it ohhnnn HEAVY!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Dukes of Hazzard: Uncle Boss (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Haunting fun
1 November 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were comedic geniuses, individually and together, and their partnership was deservedly iconic and one of the best there was. They left behind a large body of work, a vast majority of it being entertaining to classic comedy, at their best they were hilarious and their best efforts were great examples of how to do comedy without being juvenile or distasteful.

A vast majority of Laurel and Hardy's output ranged from above average to very good, only consider '45 Minutes from Hollywood' of their previous efforts a misfire. 'The Live Ghost' is not one of their best or one of my favourites, but it is close and is still lots of haunting fun. Their filmography was variable before 'Two Tars', from then on the overall quality was better and more consistent.

Didn't find the ending that much of a surprise, anybody who is familiar with their "another fine mess" endings will sort of know what to expect.

'The Live Ghost' is otherwise non-stop funniness from start to finish, with another one of the better first halves for any Laurel and Hardy effort from personal opinion. There is insane craziness that doesn't get too silly, a wackiness that rarely loses its energy and the sly wit is here, some of the material may not be massively innovative but how it's executed actually feels fresh and it doesn't get repetitive. Love the reactions to the "ghost", hilarious indeed. On top of the comic touches, there is some genuine spookiness and suspense as well.

Laurel and Hardy are on top form here, both are well used, both have material worthy of them and they're equal rather than one being funnier than the other (before Laurel tended to be funnier and more interesting than Hardy, who tended to be underused). Their chemistry feels like a partnership here too, before 'Two Tars' you were yearning for more scenes with them together but from that point and in 'The Live Ghost' we are far from robbed of that.

'The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case' looks good visually, nicely shot with some appropriately creepy touches, has energy and the direction gets the best out of the stars, is at ease with the material and doesn't let it get too busy or static. The supporting players are solid, especially Walter Long who is quite frightening here.

Concluding, great. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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