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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 »
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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:

The two stars of "The Cat and the Canary" find love and laughter in a haunted house!

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le mystère du château maudit 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Cat and the Canary" (1939) with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard became such a big hit that Paramount began looking for another "old dark house" stage play that could be turned into a similar vehicle for the pair. They had this film in theaters less than eight months later. See more »

Goofs

The flashlight that Hope uses must not be battery powered. You can see him dragging a wire attached to one his shoes whenever he is using the flashlight and his feet are visible. 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 »

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User Reviews

 
Willie Best at his best
30 October 2005 | by krorieSee all my reviews

Bob Hope's early movies were rare gems to be watched over and over. Even the Road pictures with Bing are still fun. Too many of today's viewers only remember Bob's turkeys such as "A Global Affair," "I'll Take Sweden," and "Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number." These viewers would be surprised to see a fresh young comic that could quip with the best of them. Another able funny man Willie Best, who never got his due because of the racial stereotyping rampant in Hollywood at the time, makes a better sparring partner for Bob than anyone else including Bing Crosby, although Crosby and Hope were also a winning combination with plenty of chemistry between them. The inspired teaming of Hope and Best reminds one of the later inspired teaming of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

In "The Ghost Breakers" Bob Hope and Willie Best are together through much of the picture. So each is able to strut his stuff. Many of the asides and lines are as fresh and humorous today as in 1940. For example, Geoff Montgomery (Richard Carlson) tells Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope) that A zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring. Hope replies, "You mean like Democrats." Would many Americans find that amusing today? I think so. As for Best and Hope. Hope tells Best that if he sees two ghosts running down the stairs, "Let the first one by because that one will be me." Best retorts, "If you see another one pass you,let him go because that one will be me." And the fun continues at a scatter gun pace.

An added attraction is the wonderful and beautiful Paulette Goddard. She and Hope make a charming couple. Yes, when he was young, Bob was considered a romantic leading man to some extent. Never taking himself too seriously Hope would later use this earlier image as a continual joke.

The story based on a Paul Dickey play is also a good one. Goddard inherits a supposedly haunted plantation in Cuba. Bob, who thinks he committed a murder, accidentally ends up aboard ship with her. Are the ghosts real or is someone trying to scare her away from her inheritance? If so, who? Watch and see. Getting there is a lot of fun, combined with thrills and chills aplenty along the way.


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