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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

THE GHOST (1963)

Barbara Steele and Peter Baldwin
THE GHOST (aka Lo spettro/1963). Director: Robert Hampton (Riccardo Freda).

In 1910 Scotland Margaret Hichcock (Barbara Steele) is married to an ailing and wealthy older man, John (Elio Jotta), who has an interest in the occult. Margaret is also having an affair with his very handsome doctor, Charles Livingstone (Peter Baldwin). When John dies, the lovers see signs that the man may still be living, or that his specter is haunting the manor house. Worse, the couple are having problems finding out where John hid his valuable treasures. As suspicions against each other mount, and John seems to appear to them in horrible visions, the two's nerves are stretched to the breaking point. But there's worse to come ... The Ghost is one of the best of the Italian horror films of the period, albeit the plot and its twists aren't exactly original. While a dubbed Steele seems to be sleep-walking through early sections of the movie, she certainly delivers in her dramatic sequences in the latter half. Both Jotta and Baldwin are adept as husband and paramour respectively. Harriet Medin [The Whip and the Body] is also effective as the creepy maid, Catherine, as is Umberto Raho as Canon Owens. Franco Mannino's score helps give the film an almost operatic intensity at times, and Raffaele Masciocchi's cinematography is suitably atmospheric. There's a decent and bloody slashing scene as well. This is only a nominal sequel to The Horrible Dr. Hichcock, which also starred Steele and was directed by Freda. Freda also helmed Caltiki, the Immortal Monster.

Verdict: Lusty and enthusiastic Italian fright flick. ***.


angelman66 said...

Oohhh, this looks really really good, Bill, I have to find it. BIG fan here of Barbara Steele and this genre, and your enticing review has me very excited!

I first discovered Steele when she was in the 1990 remake of Dark Shadows, then went back and watched some of these amazing horror flicks from the 60s. She's iconic!!


William said...

She sure is! I watched the remake of "Dark Shadows" when it was first broadcast and loved Steele in it, and I have the series on DVD and am waiting for a chance to look at it again. And Peter Baldwin is a very attractive leading man. I generally enjoy Steele in whatever she's in but I hate it when they dub her great voice.

I got "The Ghost" out of the library on a double-bill with I forget what, but it may still be on youtube.