Monday, May 22, 2006

The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Don McKeon recently emailed me the following:

"I was watching an old movie recently called The Ghost Breakers made in 1940 starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. A reference was made to Scranton when both Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard come across a set of railroad tracks in a secret room of a castle. Bob Hope said that the tracks reminded him of his hotel room in Scranton."

Directed by George Marshall (Marlene Dietrich’s “comeback” film Destry Rides Again, as well as Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in the film Fancy Pants and Ball again in episodes of her TV series Here’s Lucy) this breezy, timelessly amusing comedy re-teams Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, who two years earlier appeared together in The Cat and the Canary.

Mary Carter (Goddard) has just inherited a castle owned by her great-great grandfather off the coast of Cuba and said to be haunted. Despite warnings and death threats, she accepts the inheritence.

She is joined by radio broadcaster Larry Lawrence (Hope) who, believing he has killed a mob boss, flees New York with his butler, Alex (Willie Best). She enables him to escape by stowing him in a trunk bound for Cuba. In return, he promises to help rid her inherited castle of the ghosts and ghoulish creatures said to inhabit it. Once on the island, the three explore the eerie castle and search for the key to the castle's treasure while being haunted by the ghosts of Mary's ancestors.

Hope proves yet again that he is the master of the one-liner. The following dialogue is spoken as Mary and Larry descend a staircase into the dungeon of the castle.

Look at these railway tracks running through here.

Reminds me of my hotel room in Scranton.

The Ghost Breakers is available to borrow on VHS from The Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here. The film is also available to purchase on DVD.

Much thanks again to Don McKeon for the reference.