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

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Crazy crew: Mantan Moreland, Leon Errol, and Lupe Velez
MEXICAN SPITFIRE SEES A GHOST (1942). Director: Leslie Goodwins.

This is the sixth in the series of "Mexican Spitfire" films that began with The Girl from Mexico, and it follows the same pattern as most of the others. Lord Epping (Leon Errol) is supposed to meet with clients, Percy Fitzbadden (Donald MacBride) and his sister, Edith (Minna Gombell), who has a crush on Epping, at his American mansion but would rather go moose-hunting. His employee, Dennis Lindsay (Buddy Rogers), decides to play host for the Fitzbaddens at the mansion, hoping Epping will eventually show up. When he doesn't, his Uncle Matt (also Errol) impersonates Epping as he has done before, and then, of course, the real Epping finally shows up, causing the usual complications -- including Dennis' ever-snooty Aunt Della (Elisabeth Risdon) mistaking Epping for her husband and trying to drag him off to bed! One could easily argue that there's little novelty in the script or situations, but Errol is such a comic genius, and the others -- foremost among them the effervescent Velez -- are so adept at this kind of farce, that the movie is consistently amusing. Great Old Movies favorite Mantan Moreland also shows up as a servant named Lightnin', but he's not given nearly enough opportunities to interact with Errol and Velez, although they are a funny trio when he does. There are some criminals in the cellar of the house who pretend to be ghosts at one point. Better than Mexican Spitfire's Baby but arguably not quite as good as Mexican Spitfire at Sea.

Verdict: Often very funny with a very capable cast. ***.

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