Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, December 31, 2007


HOLD THAT GHOST (1941). Director: Arthur Lubin.

Lou Costello: I'm afraid to go outside by myself with no one to talk to.

Bud Abbott: Why don't you talk to yourself?

Lou Costello: I get stupid answers.

It's a toss-up as to which is Abbott and Costello's best and most-beloved film, this or Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. In Hold That Ghost the boys wind up inheriting a spooky abandoned inn from a mobster who died in a shoot-out with the cops. His money is hidden in the house and nefarious characters run about acting like ghosts while the fellows and a bunch of stranded travelers try to keep their nerves from jangling. The most nervous of the bunch -- after Costello -- is Camille, a professional radio show screamer played by the hilarious Joan Davis. Lou and Joan make a delightful pair, and their inventive dance to the Blue Danube Waltz is the picture's highlight. Sure, this is pretty silly at times but it's also very cute and amusing, with everyone in top form. Evelyn Ankers, Richard Carlson, and others offer fine support, and Mischa Auer is as dinstinctive as ever as Bud and Lou's exasperated boss in the opening scene. The hokey but likable Ted Lewis asks "Is Everybody Happy?" more than once, and the much-less-than-beautiful Andrews Sisters sing two songs. And there's the loopy three-way interchange between Bud, Lou and Joan that ends with Lou angrily answering "The Twain on Twack Twee!"

Verdict: Real good classic comedy if you're in a silly mood. Plus the Andrews Sisters sing Aurora! ***.

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