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The Man in the Trunk (1942)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 18 September 1942 (USA)
The ghost of a murdered man returns to Earth to help a young couple find his killer.


Malcolm St. Clair


John Francis Larkin (original screenplay) (as John Larkin)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lynne Roberts ... Peggy LaRue
George Holmes ... Dick Burke
Raymond Walburn ... Jim Cheevers
J. Carrol Naish ... Reginald DeWinters
Dorothy Peterson ... Lola DeWinters
Eily Malyon ... Abbie Addison
Arthur Loft ... Sam Kohler
Milton Parsons ... Doctor Pluma
Matt McHugh Matt McHugh ... Detective Murtha
Charles Cane Charles Cane ... Police Lieut. Braley
Theodore von Eltz ... Theodore Swann
Joan Marsh ... Yvonne Duvalle
Syd Saylor ... Joe -Clown with Yvonne
Douglas Fowley ... Ed Mygatt
Tim Ryan ... Auctioneer


The discovery of a skeleton in a swamp enables the district attorney to convict petty-crook Ed Mygatt (Douglas Fowley)of the ten-year-old murder of Jim Cheevers (Raymond Walburn). Dick Burke (George Holmes), Mygatt's lawyer, tries to uncover new evidence in an effort to prove Mygatt's innocence. At an auction, he is outbid for Cheever's trunk by Peggy LaRue (Lynne Roberts, a dancer. Dick follows her home, and when the trunk is opened, a skeleton and a hat with the murdered man's initials are discovered. But the police ignore the evidence, claiming it is a publicity stunt for Peggy. But, suddenly, from the trunk emerges Cheever's ghost, a gay old fellow, who can't be seen or heard but he uses his wits to communicate with the outside world. This changes the whole ball game. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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IT'S THE SPOOKIEST, SPOOFIEST MYSTERY OF THE YEAR! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Comedy | Crime


Approved | See all certifications »

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Filmed May 25-mid June 1942, released September 18. See more »

User Reviews

The skeleton
21 March 2009 | by jotix100See all my reviews

A fun comedy with no pretensions. It starts with what appears is going to be some kind of horror movie, but don't be afraid, it has nothing to do with that genre.

When a human skeleton is discovered, it ties to a crime for which an innocent man is going to pay by going to the electric chair. His lawyer takes a last minute approach in helping his client when the governor of the state refuses to give the condemned man a reprieve since all the evidence is against him. The discovery of the mysterious trunk reveals the real clue to the murder and with it, the ghost of the dead man comes back to life.

This 1942 comedy was directed by Malcolm St Clair. It has an interesting cast. Best of all is Raymond Walburn who plays the dead man and his ghost, with such deadpan that is disarming. Also in the cast J. Carroll Naish.

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Release Date:

18 September 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El fantasma del baúl See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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