Today is the day that Webster Frye (James Dunn) and his fiancé, Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ DeLong (Florence Rice) are planning on getting married and honeymooning in California.  Jackie decides to surprise Webster and changes their plans.  Jackie’s father had purchased a country house for the couple as a wedding present.  Jackie thinks it would be the ideal place to spend their honeymoon instead of going to California. 

Webster and Jackie are driven out to the country by their chauffeur, Harmony Jones (Sam McDaniel).  When they arrive, they find that the house needs some TLC.  They also find Ben Bowron (Robert Dudley), a former hangman who regales them with tales of criminals that he hung.  He tells them that the house actually belongs to him.  He says that the last person he hung was a criminal named Honeyboy and that he was the owner of the house.  He also says that Honeyboy willed the house to him.  Jackie maintains that the house is theirs and so they all go in to check things out.

Not long after they arrive, a coffin, with the remains of Honeyboy, is delivered to the house.  Jackie calls the police to have them come and investigate.  When no one is looking, the coffin opens, and an escaped criminal named Killer Blake (Anthony Warde) sneaks out and hides in a hidden corridor in the house.  When the police show up, they find that the coffin is empty.

Shortly after that a gang of criminals posing as Honeyboy’s relatives shows up to pay their respects.  Mabel (Mabel Todd) claims to be his younger sister.  Josie (Renee Carson) claims to be his older sister.  Two henchmen who claim to be cousins, Ted and Harold (Anthony Caruso and Eddie Foster) and the leader of the group, Smoothie Lewis (Robert Bice) who says he is the family lawyer.  In reality the gang and Killer Blake are looking for stolen diamonds that they believe Honeyboy hid in the house.      

“The Ghost and the Guest” was released in 1943 and was directed by William Nigh.  It is a poverty row low budget mystery comedy, heavy on the screwball.  The screenplay was written by comedian Morey Amsterdam.  Amsterdam is best known as playing Buddy Sorrell on “The Dick Van Dyke” television series.

There are no ghosts, but lots of guests.  The film is a little creaky and there are parts that are a little too dark to see what is going on.  It is an old dark house film, but the mystery part isn’t all that prevalent.  What the bulk of the movie is, is jokes.  One-liners, small vignettes and various bumbling scenarios comprise most of the film.  The plot is thin and basically arbitrary.  It’s not a great movie or a bad movie, but more of a time filler and part of a double bill.  If you are a fan of Morey Amsterdam’s style of humor, then you will enjoy it.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User