Monday, June 23, 2008

The Ghost Breakers, a movie

This predates Ghostbusters by 44 years, and while I wouldn't say Ghostbusters got their ideas from it, I do think it rates as a classic horror/comedy.

The movie features a very young Bob Hope as radio personality Lawrence Lawrence Lawrence, who reads true-crime mob stories on the air. The Netflix blurb refers to him as a detective - not sure why, since he's clearly shown on his radio show... Maybe I missed something.

Anyway, he's summoned to a mob boss's hotel room after one of his shows because the story contains some truths. As he's trying to find the room (and he's scared and carrying a gun), a man is shot in the hallway - and during the shooting, Bob pulls out his gun and shoots. He thinks he killed the fellow, so he dashes into the nearest room to hide - housing Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard), who has just inherited the haunted Castilo Maldito in Cuba. She's been dealing with at least 2 people trying to buy the castle from her to keep her away, and as it turns out, one of them is the dead guy (Anthony Quinn, playing one of twins). When the cops search the hotel room, Larry hides in Mary's steamer trunk - which is picked up and put on the ship to Cuba. He and his valet Alex end up accompanying Ms. Carter to Cuba and helping her solve the mysteries of who is trying to keep her away, and whether or not the Castilo is haunted.

The special effects were really good, the comedy surprisingly funny and all in all I was glad to find it an enjoyable movie! My (admittedly limited) experience with old movies that I've never seen before is that there is a reason I haven't seen them - they generally aren't good enough to have been shown a million times on late night TV - but this is an exception to the rule.

So Bob - 4 stars! There's another movie with an almost identical plot and same actors, The Cat And The Canary that is not available on Netflix, that takes place in Louisiana.

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