Skip to content

The Smiling Ghost (1941)

smiling ghost

In the days of the studio system each one of the majors had a “B” unit for keeping their contract players busy as well as putting product in the movie houses. Warner Brothers had a solid stable of character actors and a second tier of leading players sufficient to put out some solidly enjoyable programmers like this murder mystery with the customary comedic scenes thrown in.

smiling ghost4

Likable Wayne Morris is hired on to pose as the fiance to beautiful Alexis Smith. Not bad work if you can get it. What he doesn’t realize is she is somewhat of a black widow. She’s been engaged three times and all three of her suitors have met with a nasty death prior to walking down the aisle. He’s been hired as a guinea pig so that The Smiling Ghost can be captured and proven a fake. Might the specter possibly be a reality?

smiling ghost2

So it’s off to a mansion of dubious relatives and an intrepid news reporter wanting to get a scoop on the latest fiance willing to risk his life to wed Smith. Our reporter is Brenda Marshall. Have I ever mentioned how gorgeous she is in technicolor? When Brenda unveils to Morris what he’s in for, he’s all for running out with his hired man Willie Best in tow. Best is all for leaving when it comes to ghosts and supplies us with much of the films comedy relief.

One of my favorite Warner’s contract players is the butler at the home of Alexis. It’s Alan Hale and he plays it tough as opposed to the Bela Lugosi red herring role. Hale never fails to liven up a film and make it just a notch better with his jovial presence.

smiling ghost5

Like many of the old dark house thrillers, this one throws a stormy night at us along with sliding panels in walls and a ghastly masked killer. It’s all played for fun with our cast turning in enjoyable performances despite probably knowing that this film would be relegated to the bottom half of a double bill. It’s just possible that this “B” comedy/mystery played better than the intended box office attraction.

The film was scripted by Kenneth Gamet who had down the four Nancy Drew mysteries of 1938/39 so this writing assignment was right in his wheelhouse. Lewis Seiler was our director who had a variety of titles and genres under his belt. Films from Crime School to Guadalcanal Diary among many others.

It’s hard not to like these secondary programmers when they offer a solid cast and plenty of thrills mixed with some genuine laughs. I snagged this one under the Warner Archive collection in a nice six pack.

6 Comments »

  1. Always fun to find a small film that’s unknown (to you or anyone else) that turns out to be quite enjoyable…and not a bad price for six of them, especially under the Warner Archive banner. Can’t wait for a review of “Sh! The Octopus”!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

%d bloggers like this: