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Hold That Ghost

USA 1941
produced by
Alex Gottlieb for Universal
directed by Arthur Lubin
starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Richard Carlson, Joan Davis, Mischa Auer, Evelyn Ankers, Marc Lawrence, Shemp Howard, Russell Hicks, William B.Davidson, Ted Lewis and his Orchestra, the Andrews Sisters (= Laverne Andrews, Maxene Andrews, Patty Andrews), Madge Crane, Edgar Dearing, Turston Hall, Janet Shaw, Harry Wilson, Hans Herbert, Joseph La Cava, Nestor Paiva, Milton Parsons, Edward Pawley, Frank Penny, Harry Hayden
written by Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, John Grant, music by Hans J. Salter

Abbott & Costello

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Because they have been with a gangster (William B.Davidson) at the time of his demise, Murray (Bud Abbott) and Jones (Lou Costello) inherit an abandoned roadhouse in the middle of nowhere - much to the dismay of the gangster's lawyer Bannister (Russell Hicks), who thinks the gangster's loot is hidden somewhere in the roadhouse. Thus Bannister sends his right-hand man Charlie (Marc Lawrence) with Murray and Jones to check out the place (and take care of them in the process) - but then this trio is stranded in the roadhouse with absent-minded Doctor Jackson (Richard Carlson), Norma (Evelyn Ankers), who soon enough falls for the Doctor, and voice actress Camille Brewster (Joan Davis), who before long shows a romantic interest in Jones (and is almost as klutzy as he is). Of course, the roadhouse is a creepy place, and the lawyer's assistant Charlie, in his attempts to kill Murray and Jones, is the first to pay with his life. The others are scared shitless, as the roadhouse seems to be full of ghosts, hidden passageways, secret sliding panels and the like - in parts because the place was a secret bar during prohibitiion of course. Ultimately though, all the ghosts turn out to be gangsters from rival gangs after the loot the dead former owner of the place is supposed to have hidden there - even though he always claimed the money is hidden in his head. Eventually, Jones finds the loot, hidden in a big moosehead hanging in the lobby, and all the gangsters are taken care of by the police that arrives out of nowhere. And in the end, Murray and Jones run a nightclub where Ted Lewis and the Andrew Sisters perform.

 

A very routine haunted house comedy that's pretty much devoid of surprises let alone originality, this is nevertheless one of the better Abbott & Costello films, mainly because the story at least seems to be made out of one piece and their comedy is not as annoying as in later movies. But still, even in this film the duo is less than perfect: Costello's good-natured, slightly childish comedy is ok at first but becomes annoyingly repetitive even in the course of this movie, but Abbott doesn't provide any fun, does he? And he's not even a good straight man to Costello's funny guy. And why on earth is he always so rude towards Costello, I mean the two guys are supposed to be friends? I don't think I'll ever be able to understand Abbott & Costello I have to admit.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD