THE SMILING GHOST (1941)
Article #506 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-2-2002
Posting date: 12-26-2002
A down-on-his-luck college graduate is offered a thousand dollars if he’s willing to pose as a young woman’s fiance for one month. What he doesn’t know is that the woman has already had three fiances who have died under mysterious circumstances.
This minor but enjoyable horror comedy came as a pleasant surprise; by taking itself a little more seriously than many other horror comedies do, it ends up avoiding some of the desperation that comes across in them. A strong cast helps; Wayne Morris is the graduate, Alexis Smith is the woman, and Brenda Marshall is a reporter looking into the story. Also some fine work from Willie Best, Alan Hale Sr., David Bruce and Charles Halton, who has my favorite character; that of a wacky uncle who collects shrunken heads and wants to add Willie Best to his collection. There are some definite plot holes here, but the generally high level of acting keeps things from being too ridiculous.