The Ghost Breakers

Year Of Release:1940
Running Time: 85 Minutes
DVD Released By: Universal
Directed By: George Marshall
Writing Credits: Walter DeLeon, Paul Dickey (Play), Charles W. Goddard (Play)
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, Willie Best, Pedro de Cordoba, Virginia Brissac, Noble Johnson, Anthony Quinn, Tom Dugan, Paul Fix, Lloyd Corrigan

The two stars of "The Cat and the Canary" find love and laughter in a haunted house!

Alternate Titles:
I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
All American Bob Hope was actually born in London, England. He moved to Bristol before finally emigrating with his parents to the U.S. in 1907. Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope on May 29, 1903 and died of pneumonia on July 27, 2003 nearly two months after his 100th birthday. He had four adopted children: Linda, Anthony, Kelly, and Nora. He was married to his wife, Dolores Reade from February 19, 1934 until his death. He has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was granted honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 1998, and also has no less than 54 honorary degrees from various universities. There's really too many interesting facts about Bob Hope to list them all here. He lived an amazing life full of more amazing achievements than any other person could achieve in a thousand lifetimes. I'd like to end this section with a humorous quote from Mr. Hope. At his 100th birthday, Bob said, "I'm so old, they've cancelled my blood type."



The reason I am doing this review even though Bob Hope was not generally considered a B-Movie actor is because Bob Hope touched us all in a way that no one else ever has. By all accounts he was a very generous man and went out of his way to help others with their comic timing and techniques. While others kept these techniques close to the vest so as not to lessen their own standing, Bob Hope taught people like Phyllis Diller, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and many others how to make the most out of every joke. He devoted his life to making people laugh and to keeping our spirits up through some of the darkest times in our history. He represented all that was good in the human spirit and brought smiles to everyone who's life he touched, whether it be personally or through his movies, television, radio or stage shows. Bob Hope died of pneumonia on July 27, 2003 at the age of 100. In an interview shortly after his death, his daughter said that he died with a smile on his face. How appropriate for a man who gave smiles to so many others throughout his life. The world has truly lost a very special human being and he will be deeply missed.

Cast Of Characters
Larry Lawrence: Larry’s a fun lovin’ free spirited kinda guy who has his own radio show. For some reason, he gets his jollies by spilling the beans about the local gangster’s activities. Unfortunately for Larry, the local gangster don’t take kindly to people spilling his beans all over the place. I’m looking at the screen shot and all I can think is that he looks like he just walked in off the set of South Park.

Mary Carter: Look at them teeth!!! If she owned a business sellin’ Japanese teeth magic goodies, I’d buy all the stock I could! This is Mary. She’s a wild eyed bizarre kinda girl who just inherited a castle off the coast of Cuba. I’m sure it was really nice back in the day, but today the front yard is probably full of rusted out ’56 Chevy’s and goat droppings.

Geoff Montgomery: What a smarmy fart this guy is. He knew Mary from some event they both attended years ago and he acted like he was he was all happy to see her and everything. Boy, what a schmuck he turned out to be. But then again, look at him. Smarmy fart right? I wasn’t lyin’. He’s a smarmy fart.

Parada: Doesn't this guy look like the devil without horns? I tried to draw some horns on this picture as a goof, but I couldn't get them to look right. Parada is the guy who was basically looking out for Mary even though through the whole movie you're lead to believe that he's just an evil scheming jerk. No matter what his role was, I still think he looks like the devil. Hell, I could see him on a can of Underwood devilled ham.

Alex: Boy I feel sorry for this guy. He’s Larry’s assistant and he gets dragged into all the crap that Larry gets himself into. He ain’t the most courageous guy in the world, but you gotta give him one thing. He is loyal. He’d have to be to go through all the crap Larry puts him through.

Mr. Havez: This guy wasn’t in the movie very long. He was the Cuban consolate guy who was handling the estate transfer for Mary. He seemed like a pretty nice guy. I personally think he looks kinda like a Cuban version of David Niven.

Mother Zombie: Again, not in the movie very long. She’s the zombie who’s the mother of the other zombie I guess and one of the caretakers of the island. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the movie Raisin in the Sun? Well here’s the raisin. She looks like she fell asleep on the beach for three days without any sun screen.

The Zombie: If you never knew that zombies could have kids, then you haven’t seen the movie Dead Alive. Apparently, Mother Zombie saw it because this is her kid. At least I guess it’s her kid since she was credited as “Mother” Zombie. Hey, I just realized that if you put some hair and a smaller nose on this guy, he’d look just like Michael Jackson!

Ramon / Francisco Mederos: Hey look everybody! It’s Ricky Ricardo’s cousin! Actually it’s Anthony Quinn playing a dual role. Even with a dual role though, he wasn’t in the movie all that much. It’s never really explained why he’s interested in the castle or in Mary or anything else. He’s just kinda “there” and only plays a pivotal role at the very end. So basically despite the fact that he looks like Ricky Ricardo’s cousin, I don’t really have all that much to say about him.

Raspy Kelly: This guy was only in the movie for a short time as well. He works for Frenchy Duval and has a voice like five miles of gravel road. Hence the name “Raspy”. He’s been secretly feeding Larry info on Frenchy’s “business” activities, and Larry’s been broadcasting them on the air. He pretty much disappears after Larry meets up with Mary. In fact, we never see Frenchy after that either. I’m just realizing now how many disposable characters this movie had.

Frenchy Duval: The local gangster who, at least by the looks of this picture, only craps about once every three months or so. Man, doesn’t he look backed up? Get this man some ex lax and an enema bag stat! Anyway, he’s the kind of gangster who doesn’t like his private business being spilled over the air. Once in a while something small is fine, just for publicity’s sake, but Larry went too far this time. Again, like Raspy Kelly, he disappears after Larry meets up with Mary and that whole other chain of events begins. I’m not too awful sorry that he disappeared though. He was kind of annoying.

Screen Shots

This is Mary standing in front of an open window in a dark hotel room during a severe rainstorm. Now this in and of itself is stupid, not only because she's letting all the rain in, but also because that's a good way to catch yourself a pretty damn serious case of pneumonia. The main reason I grabbed this shot is because. . .well. . .look at her face. Now I'm not some kind of a Spiderman geek or anything, but doesn't she look like she could be the Green Goblin's wife? I mean, she's got some serious Japanese teeth magic goin' on right here. Very creepy man. . .very creepy indeed.

Little did Larry know that on this cold and rainy night, he was gonna get a call from the devil!. Actually, this is Frenchy calling Larry after Larry spilled the beans on the air about Frenchy's new "business" venture. . .baby laundries. Larry shouldn't have oughta done that, 'cause the baby poop's really gonna hit the fan this time. And you know how nasty baby poop is. All green and slimy like overcooked spinach, and oh my god the smell. Not that I would know since I don't have kids or anything. I'm just going by things I've heard. I mean, when a baby poops, it comes out more like a green milkshake than a peanut log if you know what I mean. Anyway, don't he look like the devil in this picture? Actually he looks like the devil calling his bookie to place a bet on Soul Brother to win in the 5th. Also makes me think of the devil in Ed Wood's classic, Glen or Glenda. Ok, enough about this French devil man, let's move on.

Although this may look like an alien about to give birth to a bunch of creepy spider babies with Barbara Streisand heads, it's actually just the zombie dude that Larry and Alex saw when they looked in the boathouse window after they arrived at Black Island. I don't know why, but something else just popped into my head. I just pictured a three hundred pound Sally Struthers walking into the scene doing a "feed the children" commercial. The dude would be like, "Sally Struthers??? Gimme that cake!" and she'd be like, "Nooooo, this is my cake! You can't have any!" (South Park fans will get that one. )

Hey! You guys can be arrested for that sort of thing!

Who ya gonna call? Sorry, I know that was very cliche`, but I had to. This dusty old fart was the original owner of the castle. Now he just creeps around in outdated clothes scaring the hell out of people. I guess Hell got boring or something so he's come back to use the castle as a summer home.

"Hey, I know I said we'd always be together, but you know, that was just pillow talk baby. I never thought you'd go so far as to crazy glue our heads together. Come on now, this ain't funny anymore. Let me go! Let me go!"

Best Quotes

Geoff: "When a person dies and is buried, it seems there's certain voodoo priests who have the power to bring him back to life. "
Mary: "How horrible. "
Geoff: "It's worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes, walking around with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring. "
Larry: "You mean like democrats?"


- Geoff explaining to Mary and Larry about zombies. - (Reviewer's Note: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Amen brother! You tell 'em Bob!)



Alex: "Hey boss you ain't goin' upstairs are ya? Where those ghosts is?
Larry: "Listen, you stay there, and if a couple a fellas come runnin' down the stairs in a few minutes, let the first one go. That'll be me. "
Alex: "If somebody passes you, that'll be me. "


- Larry giving Alex instructions before he goes upstairs in the castle to have a look around. - (Reviewer's Note: And if you hear someone laughing, that'll be me. This movie is so awesome. Why the hell did the road movies get so much attention? This one's great!)

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

The Ghost Breakers
Larry escapes from the confines of Mary's travel trunk and walks around the room like a drunken monkey.

Summary and Conclusion

In 1903 a shining light entered the world. This shining light had a name, and that name was Leslie Townes Hope. I personally can’t think of any entertainer who has given more to this country and touched more lives in a positive way than the late Bob Hope. As a comedic actor, he was legendary. He brought us smiles through some of the darkest times in this country’s history and entertained our brave fighting men and women throughout many wars and conflicts. He gave of himself selflessly and for that his memory must be honored for all time. To the world’s detriment, there will never be another Bob Hope. Look at all the loudmouth actors of today. The way many of them talk, you could almost see them spitting on our soldiers as they were spat upon when they returned from Viet Nam. These people have no conscience and they don’t really care about anything or anyone but themselves. That’s what made Bob Hope different, and what made him such a special human being.

His movies and appearances were always fun and made us laugh even though the jokes almost always sounded pre-written and rehearsed. It wasn't the jokes that made us laugh so much as the way he delivered them. He was the kind of person who could take the stupidest joke and make it funny with just a look or the inflection of his voice as he said it. Although his “Road” movies were among his most famous and well known films, I always felt sorry for him because he ended up playing second fiddle to Bing Crosby and never ended up with the girl at the end. Basically he always got the shaft while Crosby always got the girl and everything else. I find that I enjoy the films more where Bob is the focal character and we really get to see him shine. This film was a prime example of that.

The long and the short of this film is that Mary Carter, played by Paulette Goddard, has inherited a castle on an island off the coast of Cuba. The castle has a long history including the use of slave labor and reports that the castle was haunted by some horrible demon. It was said that no one who stayed in the castle overnight, has lived to see the light of day in over twenty years. Mary was not deterred by this fact and fully intended to take control of the castle despite the warnings she received from Parada and several others. Bob Hope played Larry Lawrence, who we find out is actually named Lawrence Lawrence Lawrence. Yes I know, bizarre but true. He’s a radio show host who had just that evening managed to upset the local gangster by spilling his dirty laundry on the air. The gangster, Frenchy Duval, calls Larry and tells him to come over so he can give him the straight story. When Larry goes to Frenchy’s apartment, which just happens to be right across the hall from Mary’s, a strange sequence of events leads up to Larry thinking he shot and killed one of Frenchy's men, when actually what really happened is that Perada killed Ramon Mederos and Larry was so scared when he heard the shot that his own gun went off. This leads to Larry and his intrepid and frequently frightened assistant Alex to take refuge in Mary's apartment and lands them right in the middle of Mary’s little castle inheritance situation. When Larry finds out that someone has it in for Mary, he insists that they go to Cuba with her to help her out and look after her. So the three go to Cuba together and eventually discover that the reason people were trying to keep them away from the castle is that embedded in the island was actually a huge vein of silver that was enough to make anyone rich beyond their wildest dreams. It turns out that the castle was indeed haunted but that didn't have anything to do with why people didn't survive the night in there. I don’t know where the zombies came from or why they were there as that was never explained. Their presence did make for some nice comic moments between Larry and Alex though, so I'm really happy they were included in the film despite their lack of back story. In the end, the bad guy turns out to be not who you thought it was, and all the guys you thought were bad, turn out to be good. It was a nice way to play out the story and it kept you guessing about who the real villain was. The scene where the villain is finally done a way with made me laugh harder than almost anything else in the movie. The laugh came not so much from how he met his end, but how it came about and what Alex said afterwards. I don’t want to spoil it because you really should see this movie.

Anthony Quinn was credited as being in this movie, and he was. The thing is, he didn't have all that big of a part in it, so it seemed a little disingenuous to list him as one of the starring characters. He played twin brothers Ramon and Francisco Mederos, and although his acting was fine, the characters just didn't seem to really fit into the movie properly. They had a very small involvement with the plot and if they weren't in the movie at all, I don’t think they’d have been missed all that much. They were basically there to steer events a certain way and that's it. I would have thought that they’d have given Anthony Quinn a bigger role than that. He probably would have been better as Parada or maybe even as Geoff.

Paulette Goddard played her role in a rather bizarre fashion. Sometimes she would get wild eyed and bizarre and other times she was mellow and nice. Mary was very strong willed, and the way Paulette portrayed her character really made that sense of independence and strength come across on the screen. My only problem with her performance is that some of the lines that were written for her character, which normally would have been fine, were delivered in an odd fashion. It made it feel like something wasn't right, but this was only a problem at the beginning of the movie. Eventually she settled into her character and everything was just fine.

One thing that still has me puzzled is that there’s a character in this movie that Mary keeps bumping into all over the place. He was a friendly little chubby kinda guy and since he kept popping up I kind of expected him to end up being a cop or something. In fact, there was a certain point about three quarters of the way though the movie where he just disappeared and we never saw him again. I don’t know if he was supposed to play a part in the end and got written out or what, but there just didn't seem to be any real reason for him to be there.

Overall, the performances in this movie were excellent and if you’re looking for a really good time, then this is the movie you should grab. Normally I don’t review Bob Hope movies since I am by definition a B-Movie reviewer, but I'm thinking I might just expand myself and do regular classic movies as well when I come across a gem like this one. It was a pleasure for me to review this film, and I'm very happy to give it my highest rating of…

B-Movie Central's Rating: 5 Bees!

Purchase this film from Amazon:

Purchase this film from Movies Unlimited:

Unseen Things: Origins

My series of contemporary fantasy / sci-fi novels, Unseen Things is now available through the official website, Amazon, Smashwords and other online retail sites.

BMC Facebook Page


If you enjoy this site, please consider making a donation.



Login Form