Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Universal Studios Home Video presents
The Ghost Breakers (1940)

"If there's going to be any hysterics here, I'll have them."
- Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: March 06, 2002

Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard
Other Stars: Richard Carlson, Raul Lukas, Anthony Quinn, Willie Best
Director: George Marshall

Manufacturer: Panasonic Disc Services Corp.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (racially stereotypical humor, violence)
Run Time: 01h:24m:45s
Release Date: March 05, 2002
UPC: 025192121326
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

The Ghost Breakers is generally considered to be the best of the Bob Hope vehicles. Teamed with the charming Paulette Goddard, Hope manages get some laughs here, despite a thoroughly predictable script.

Radio commentator Larry Lawrence (Hope) is implicated in a murder that he didn't commit, and he hides in the steamer trunk of Mary Carter (Goddard). What he doesn't know is that she and the trunk are bound for Cuba, where she has inherited a haunted castle, Castillo Maldito. Mysterious offers to purchase the castle are followed in quick succession by threatening letters and voodoo curses. It's up to Hope and his long-suffering manservant Alex (Willie Best) to unmask the ghosts before they end up as zombies themselves.

There are quite a few laughs in this picture, but they tend to be rather dated. The best gags require knowledge of Sally Rand and acquaintance with the fact that Vassar was once a women's college. Knowing who the heck H.V. Kaltenborn was wouldn't hurt either. Most viewers today are going to just be mystified by many of these gags, which is a pity, but such is the nature of comedy. Hope's timing is impeccable, and as usual he is the butt of many of the gags. Many of the best lines go to the rest of the cast.

Goddard makes for a highly appealing heroine, and a very young Anthony Quinn makes an appearance as the murder victim and his twin brother. The main problem is that the story was old and creaky even back in the 1940s; it had already been made into silent films twice by Paramount. The script takes far too long to get to the haunted house and once it gets there doesn't have the energy of the many 3 Stooges shorts that use similar conceits. The picture is notable as one of the earlier pictures to take the notion of zombies quite seriously, and definitely the first mainstream film to do so. Noble Johnson plays the principal zombie, and he does make for a quite terrifying figure, lending the picture what little frightening quality it does have.

The Ghost Breakers was made in less sensitive times, and the depictions of the black characters, notably Alex, suffer from stereotypically exaggerated reactions. It's not as offensive as many relics from this period, but some caution is in order for younger or more sensitive viewers.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame transfer looks pretty good overall. The black levels are fairly deep, and there is quite good detail. Grain is fairly heavy, however, and the first reel suffers from quite heavy speckling. Farther in, however, the picture is practically pristine. The grayscale has a quite nice large range, making the black and white picture quite attractive overall. The moody photography comes across nicely.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 English mono is plagued by significant hiss and crackling throughout. The dialogue comes through most of the time, though Tom Dugan as 'Raspy' Smith can be difficult to understand. The music sounds decent for 1940s era recording.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Production Notes
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Scanavo
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:58m:14s

Extra Extras:
  1. Hollywood Victory Canteen shortPhoto gallery
  2. Photo gallery
Extras Review: Universal provides a decent array of extras, though few of them are directly related to the film. The trailer is actually a good deal funnier than the picture itself. About three dozen stills are set to the title music, along with two lobby cards and some behind-the-scenes and gag shots. A four-screen set of production notes seems a bit skimpy and surely more could have been provided here. The usual one or two-screen bios and filmographies round out the part of the extras related to the picture; there is also some DVD-ROM material but that was not reviewed.

On a more generic level, a featurette (5m:30s) on Hope's career entertaining the troops is included; this contains a fair amount of vintage footage, plus recent interview material with Phyllis Diller. A Command Performance short that's been cut to ribbons basically just shows us the segments where Hope introduces the stars (Betty Hutton, Lana Turner and Judy Garland) and trims out their performances almost entirely. Finally, a two-reel short from the closing days of World War II, featuring Hope and many of the biggest Hollywood stars, is the final extra. While this is interesting for purposes of seeing the stars out of character, and for its historical significance, it doesn't have much in the way of entertainment value.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

An okay horror-comedy, with some good moments. The strengths are the leads, who do a fine job with the material. The transfer is acceptable, but don't expect a crisp restoration. A few decent extras are also in the mix.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store