7.2/10
3,156
76 user 39 critic

The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Horror, Mystery | 21 June 1940 (USA)
A radio broadcaster, his quaking manservant and an heiress investigate the mystery of a haunted castle in Cuba.

Director:

George Marshall

Writers:

Walter DeLeon (screen play), Paul Dickey (based on a play by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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
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Storyline

Mary Carter inherits her family's ancestral home, located on a small island off Cuba, and, despite warnings and death threats, decides to take possession of the reputedly haunted castle. She is joined by radio broadcaster Larry Lawrence who, believing he has killed a mob gunman, flees New York with his butler, Alex. Once on the island the threesome enter the eerie castle and after viewing the ghost of one of Mary's ancestors and fighting off a menacing zombie, they find the key to the castle's treasure but are interrupted by an all-too-human foe. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Funny Enough To Make Even A GHOST Laugh! (Print Ad- Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, ((Poughkeepsie, NY)) 3 July 1940) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Hope, whose on-screen comedic chemistry with sidekick Willie Best has a lot to do with why this film works, once called Best "One of the finest actors I've ever worked with." See more »

Goofs

When Raspy Kelly goes to Lawrence's apartment, the entire city is in a blackout due to the storm. He uses the doorbell and intercom, even though there's no power. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mary Carter: Hello, operator? Operator? Operator, the lights in my room. What? The lightning?
See more »

Connections

Featured in American Masters: This Is Bob Hope... (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Thanks for the Memory
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Sung briefly by Bob Hope
See more »

User Reviews

 
My favorite horror-comedy
24 October 2005 | by horrorfilmxSee all my reviews

Like others, I first saw this as a kid and was so scared I didn't realize it was supposed to be a comedy. I watched it again last night and was still impressed by how effective the horror scenes are. Noble Johnson in his subtle but terrific zombie make-up is as chilling as anything in a "straight" horror film of the period. The sets are great and the cinematography wonderfully atmospheric. George Marshall was a very underrated director and his pictorial sense is frequently stunning (note the two shot of Paulette Goddard in her period costume and the painting of her ancestor on the wall). Goddard is strikingly pretty and charming, Bob Hope seems fresh and energetic (and very effective in some of his straight moments) and Willy Best gets to shed his "scared darky" persona and play a funny and reasonably straight role. Those who've commented on the humiliating racial stereotype Best seems to be playing here are understandably confused. THE GHOST BREAKERS is years ahead of its time in its treatment of Best's character. This is a guy who began his career under the stage name "Sleep'n'Eat", yet here he plays a rational and reasonably intelligent character named Alex, a comic sidekick but one that might easily have been played by Edward Everett Horton or any number of white actors. He's the one who figures out that Hope couldn't be a murderer because he was carrying the wrong caliber gun, and while he's as scared of a zombie as anybody would be he also pitches into the fight when the monster has to be subdued. If Best didn't consider this one of the best (sorry about that) roles of his career I'd be very surprised.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ghost Breakers See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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