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The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Bob Hope , Paulette Goddard , George Marshall  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)

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The Ghost Breakers + The Cat and the Canary + Murder, He Says
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, Anthony Quinn
  • Directors: George Marshall
  • Writers: Walter DeLeon
  • Producers: Jr. Arthur Hornblow
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: March 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UMF5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,665 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Ghost Breakers" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Entertaining the Troops
  • Command Performance 1944
  • Hollywood Victory Caravan
  • Photograph Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Recommendations
  • DVD-ROM Features

  • Editorial Reviews

    From the Back Cover

    Ghosts and gags collide in this witches brew of laughs, with Bob Hope as a Manhattan radio commentator who finds himself marooned on an island of the walking dead! Larry Lawrence (Hope), sought in hiding in a steamer trunk. Soon the trunk (and Larry) are aboard a ship bound for Cuba where the trunk owner pretty Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard), is sailing to take possession of a recent inheritance: a Haunted castle. Sensing that Mary is in danger Larry and his valet Alex (Willie Best) precede her to the island which is inhabited by a ghost, zombie and perhaps even a flesh and blood fiend. There's romance, comedy and chills as Hope and Goddard commend with earthly and un-earthly foes and try to keep from ending up as ghosts themselves.

    Product Description

    Ghosts and gags collide in this witches' brew of laughs, with Bob Hope as a Manhattan radio commentator who finds himself marooned on an island of the walking dead! Larry Lawrence (Hope), sought in connection with a murder he did not commit, eludes New York police by hiding in a steamer trunk. Soon the trunk (and Larry) are aboard a ship bound for Cuba, where the trunk's owner, pretty Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard), is sailing to take possession of a recent inheritance: a "haunted" castle. Sensing that Mary is in danger, Larry and his valet Alex (Willie Best) precede her to the island, which is inhabited by a ghost, a zombie and perhaps even a flesh-and-blood fiend. There's romance, comedy and chills as Hope and Goddard contend with earthly and un-earthly foes - and try to keep from ending up as ghosts themselves!

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    Bob Hope turned 100 today and the question was raised as to what movie of his should people try to see that is (a) pretty good but (b) not one of the standards like "Paleface" or the Road Pictures with Bing Crosby. My vote is for this 1940 film, "The Ghost Breakers?" The film is usually dismissed because it was just another one of haunted house comedies that were being produced right before World War II, but we are talking Bob Hope and that makes all the differences: Bob Hope being scared to death still makes me laugh, long after Lou Costello's similar routine grows stale. Having considerable hilarity going on before we even get inside the haunted house also helps the film.
    The plot of this 85-minute black & white comedy has Bob Hope as Larry Lawrence, a radio star who has made his reputation as a muckraker. Fleeing from a murder in a hotel he ends up in the trunk of Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) who is on her way to Cuba, where she has inherited the haunted Black Island and its haunted Castillo Maldito. Once on the island, Mary runs into the charming Parada (Paul Lukas), her old friend Geoff Montgomery (Richard Carlson), and the scheming Mederos twins (Anthony Quinn and Anthony Quinn). Meanwhile, at the castle awaiting Larry and Mary are the Mother Zombie (Virginia Brissac) and her giant zombie son (Noble Johnson, who you might remember as the native chief in the original "King Kong"). Larry and his trusted valet Alex (Willie Best) go ahead to the castle to make sure everything is safe for Mary, at which point wackiness ensues.
    In contrast to the Road pictures Hope stays in character throughout the film and his romancing of Mary rings true. There is an earnestness to Hope's character that is missing from most of his comedies.
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    22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Hope Film March 15, 2006
    Format:DVD
    A perfect blend of spooks and laughs make this one of Bob Hope's finest films. Bob battles ghosts, zombies, bats and killers in order to help lovely Paulette Goddard in a film full of atmosphere and situational humor. This unusual film has a little of everything and a lot of laughs.

    Charles Lang's photography is outstanding and the score by Ernst Toch fits every scene, albeit romantic, comical or spooky. Based on a play by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard, the screenplay from Walter DeLeon has more plot than usual for a Hope film, and a few unexpected thrills as well. Not to be overlooked as part of the reason for the film's success is a terrific cast of players surrounding our favorite coward.

    A young Anthony Quinn, Paul Lukas, Richard Carlson, Virginia Brissac and William Best as Hope's pal and employee all help make this a screen classic. George Marshall's direction, often critisized by film historians, is excellent. Goddard, who never got enough good roles, shines here in more ways than one. Edith Head adorned the lovely Goddard in dresses nearly as pretty as the actress herself and the results are a sight to see.

    Hope is radio personality Lawrence Lawrence. He dishes on crime activity in New York until Frenchie Duvall takes exception to one of his broadcasts and invites him up to his hotel room for a visit on a rainy night. Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) is staying in the same hotel before heading to Cuba to claim the castle she's inherited. A man named Prada (Paul Lukas) handling the legal matters is acting suspicious and a phone call from Ramon Maderos (Anthony Quinn) trying to warn her to be careful doesn't ease her mind either.

    Maderos gets shot at the same time Lawrence visits next door, Lawrence thinking he is the one who's killed him.
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    23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars SPOOKY AND FUNNY December 8, 1999
    Format:VHS Tape
    This film is a follow-up to the Goddard-Hope comedy thriller "The Cat and the Canary" which they made in 1939. "The Ghost Breakers" was an even more successful venture for the popular comedy duo, they are quite ahead of their time in their sparkling performances. (The story had previously been filmed twice as silents in 1914 and 1922). Though really a comedy, this film has it's fair share of effecitively spooky horror scenes and it's directed with an atmospheric style by George Marshall. The haunted Cuban mansion is filled with creepy organ music and there is a room full of caskets! The balance between laughs and chills is expertly handled, making the film a pleasure to watch. Recommended.
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    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Paulette, Bob, Willie, Spook fest & fun galore!! March 6, 2002
    By A Customer
    Format:DVD
    If you like a little comedy, if you like it a little spooky, if you like some good lines, if you like atmosphere, if you like Paulette, if you like a ghost and a zombie and a great film, get this one as it has it all. Bob Hope plays a guy who thinks he killed someone and goes on a boat to Cuba with Paulette Goddard whose character inherits a spooky castle, ghosts and treasure. Enjoy!!! This DVD is excellent and well worth the money. I already have the vhs version too but love this film so much I wanted to buy the DVD. ... This is a great film.
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    14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Don't politicize this movie -- enjoy it!! July 14, 2002
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    I'm not a Bob Hope fan at all, but this really is a good horror/comedy. The funny bits are funny, and the spooky ones are truly spooky, and I remembered much of it quite well from seeing it several times as a kid. Of course, Willie Best's role as Hope's 'colored' manservant is stereotypical, but it's also the best performance in the movie! As one reviewer says below, Best steals the show. Objections to racial norms of the 40's -- the use of the word 'colored,' the man/servant relationship -- based on 21st century "progressive" understandings of such things are silly exercises in anachronism, akin to faulting 19th century authors for not using so-called "gender-inclusive" language. Forget the political correctness -- just watch this movie and enjoy it!!
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    One of my favorite movies.
    Published 6 days ago by Pam Briar
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Better than I remembered.
    Published 18 days ago by Charles Williams
    5.0 out of 5 stars I watch this DVD at least once a month,
    I watch this DVD at least once a month, don't have to wait to have it show up on TV anymore
    Published 26 days ago by Marshall Green
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Your Collection
    Well made movie, fun to watch over again
    Published 28 days ago by Walter Sasiadek
    4.0 out of 5 stars This is, by far, Bob Hope's best movie
    This is, by far, Bob Hope's best movie. It is funny - no hilarious - scary, mysterious and well made. The special effects are great, too. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Slam pat
    4.0 out of 5 stars Best all around entertainer of the last hundred years.
    It takes a different kind of audience to watch
    and appreciate most of Bob Hopes movies.
    But I strongly believe that Bob Hope will go
    down in history as the greatest... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Rodney B. Jennings
    4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this movie for it's comedy/drama and the actors who ...
    I enjoyed this movie for it's comedy/drama and the actors who performed in it. It took me back to the days when I went to the 2 feature movies of long ago.
    Published 1 month ago by RosHar
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Replaced a lost copy - glad to find it.
    Published 1 month ago by Katherene J. Mattson
    3.0 out of 5 stars Bought For A Friend
    I bought this for a friend and have not yet had the opportunity to watch it. We were both please at the speed and condition (new) it came in though.
    Published 2 months ago by Valerie Weaver
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
    Wow. It's very hard to find a good CLEAN movie to watch in this day and age. If you want to see a movie that's simply fun to watch that want be boring then this is a good one. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Martin sudderth
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    Topic From this Discussion
    I need help tracking down an old movie...30's-40's B/W
    From your description of that scene I thought of the Abbott and Costello movie Hold That Ghost (1941) and I think there is a scene like that and the woman is Joan Davis. (It's the one where she mentions puting her mules under the bed, which probably made sense to audiences in 1941.)
    May 23, 2009 by Ron |  See all 2 posts
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