The Ghost and the Guest (1943)

Article #1522 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-15-2005
Posting Date: 10-12-2005
Directed by William Nigh
Featuring James Dunn, Florence Rice, Robert Dudley

Newlyweds move into old dark house. Coffin containing corpse of gangster arrives. Hilarity ensues.

If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all, I’ve often been told. Bearing this in mind, here are ten good things about this movie.

1) The cranky ex-hangman who serves as caretaker for the old dark house is actually rather amusing.

2) The title is actually somewhat clever. Not only do the words ‘ghost’ and ‘guest’ sound somewhat alike, but if you remove the ‘g’ from ‘ghost’, you get ‘host’, which is the opposite of ‘guest’. This cleverness is somewhat marred by the fact that the movie has no ghost and a plethora of guests.

3) My print runs only fifty-five minutes. If you have an hour to kill, you can watch this movie and still have time to trim your toenails. Real overachievers can perform both tasks at once.

4) This movie completely avoids any mind-stretching expansions in cinematic art, so watching it will not force you to painfully stretch your mind to encompass it in your definition of a cinematic experience.

5) For those into genre pigeon-holing, this is a piece of cake. Just file it under “old dark house comedy”.

6) If you’re a babysitter, and you’re caring for a bratty child who you want to go to sleep but who insists on staying up to see a scary movie with the word ‘ghost’ in the title, you can show him this movie with full confidence that not only will he not be over-frightened, but also that you will have no problem getting him to fall asleep.

7) If it only hurts when you laugh, this one won’t hurt hardly at all.

8) The VHS cassette on which the movie comes can be used to adjust a table with an uneven leg.

9) For those into more high-tech formats, the DVD makes an ideal coaster.

10) Since it is highly unlikely that you will ever be at a cocktail party and find yourself in the awkward position of being left out of the scintillating conversation about THE GHOST AND THE GUEST, you can feel blissfully free of having any social obligation to see this movie.

So there you are; ten nice things about THE GHOST AND THE GUEST. And I bet you thought I was going to poke fun at the movie.


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