The Ghost Breakers | Chicago Reader

The Ghost Breakers

Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard's Broadway play The Ghost Breaker was filmed by Cecil B. De Mille in 1914, remade in 1922, and resurrected again in 1940 as a follow-up to Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard's The Cat and the Canary. Hope is a Winchell-like broadcaster who runs afoul of gangsters and hides in Goddard's steamer trunk; soon he's on a boat headed for Cuba and the haunted castle she's inherited, pursued by his yassuh-boss valet (Willie Best). Hope has some great patter in the first half hour (which seems to have been grafted onto the play) and some fine physical business with Best after being pulled out of the trunk, but once the murky mystery takes over this loses its way. The story line rose again 13 years later as Martin and Lewis's Scared Stiff. 85 min.

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