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The Ghost Breakers

(1940 b 82')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Paul Dickey and Charles Goddard, a woman inherited a haunted castle and gets needed help from a "ghost breaker."

In New York lightning knocks out electricity. Cuban Havez (Pedro de Cordoba) warns Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) her castle is haunted. Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope) pays Raspy Kelly $50 for a story and is told of an imminent murder. Parada (Paul Lukas) offers Mary $50,000 for her castle. Ramon Mederos (Anthony Quinn) calls Mary to warn her. On radio Larry tells of racketeer Frenchy, who calls him to come over. Alex (Willie Best) gives Larry his gun. In the hall Larry shoots as Ramon is shot by Parada. Larry goes into Mary's room and says he shot a man. Mary lets him hide, and police search. Her trunk is taken to the boat, and she tells Alex that Larry is in it.

On the ship Mary opens the trunk. Parada comes in and asks who called her. Alex tells Larry his gun did not kill Ramon. Larry finds a note threatening Mary. Larry meets Parada and says he is a ghost breaker. Parada says Mary's uncle died in terror of the ghost. A man tries to drop a pot on Larry but misses. Larry tells Mary he didn't shoot Ramon and decides to go with her to protect her.

In Havana harbor Geoff Montgomery (Richard Carlson) sees Mary and throws out the voodoo left on her door. Geoff takes Mary to dinner. Ramon's twin Francisco Mederos (Anthony Quinn) asks Mary why Ramon was killed. Larry and Alex row a boat to the island, see a zombie (Noble Johnson) and his mother (Virginia Brissac), and enter the castle at night. Alex sees a ghost get out of a coffin, and Larry sees it go back in. Larry finds Alex hiding. Mary swims ashore and calls for Larry. She sees the zombie and runs into a room. Parada sees her but is grabbed. The zombie in armor attacks Larry but sees Mary in a Spanish dress. Larry and Alex lock him in a closet. Geoff comes in and sees Alex but goes out. Larry and Mary find Parada stabbed; dying Parada says a fortune is in the organ. Mary plays notes, and a secret passage opens. She and Larry find a railroad car and Francisco with a gun. Geoff wounds Francisco and says he discovered the silver and aims to keep it; but he falls into a trap, because Alex pressed a button. In the final scene Larry kisses Mary.

Entertainment is the aim in this comedic ghost story that uses the usual stereotype of the spooked black servant. Hope jibes that Democrats wander without caring like zombies, but could not this describe Republicans even more? The Cuban setting reflects its current use as a playground for the rich.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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