|Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.|
Bob plays a radio broadcaster named Lawrence (Larry) Lawrence (his middle name is Lawrence, too--"My parents had no imagination"). He has a radio show on which he's billed as "the man who knows all the rackets and all the racketeers." While visiting a hotel to see a disgruntled gangster, Larry accidentally fires a gun at the same time another man is fatally shot. Thinking he has committed a homicide, Larry hides in the hotel room of Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard).
|Mary (Goddard) encounters a zombie|
played by Noble Johnson.
Unlike The Cat and the Canary, much of the plot takes place outside the haunted house. That's not a bad thing, with Hope delivering some of his most memorable wisecracks. My favorite is this exchange with Richard Carlson, in which the latter describes the island's undead:
CARLSON: It's worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.
HOPE: You mean like Democrats?
|Bob Hope and Willie Best.|
|It's funny to count the number of|
scenes that emphasize Paulette's legs.
The Ghost Breakers was loosely based on the 1913 Broadway play The Ghost Breaker by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard. It was adapted twice previously as silent films. Additionally, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis starred in a 1953 remake called Scared Stiff. It's one of their better comedies and features Lizabeth Scott as Mary. It was directed by George Marshall, who already knew the plot pretty well--he also helmed The Ghost Breakers.
|Bob and Paulette in their earlier film.|
My recommendation is that--if you just see one of these two spooky comedies--your best bet is The Ghost Breakers. It's not scary, but if you're a 'fraidy cat, please note Bob's confession: "I'm so scared, even my goose pimples have goose pimples."