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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Ghost that Walks Alone (1944)

This movie opens with some folks recording a radio show. So many of these mystery/comedy flicks revolve around radio shows. I guess it was a common trope that kept getting used. Anyway there is a rather handsy actor who keeps grabbing the leading lady much to the dismay of her fiancĂ© Eddie, who is the sound effects guy. There is a fight and Eddie gets fired but then rehired by the producer. Why? The producer’s wife makes him!

With this established we then move on to Eddie and his lady leaving for their wedding and honeymoon. The producer is threatened with having the show cancelled so he tries to get Eddie and his leading lady back for more rehearsals, but they blow him off. So, the entire crew shows up at the lodge where they are honeymooning to get some practice in. When the producer ends up dead Eddie is convinced by some of his wacky co-workers that he will be blamed so they had better solve the murder before reporting it to the police. Shenanigans ensue… sort of.

I was sort of looking forward to checking this one out. The actor that plays Eddie, Arthur Lake, is best known for portraying Dagwood from the Blondie series. I’ve always liked those movies and thought he was a funny guy so the idea of a movie starring him was going to be a blast. Here is where I noticed why Lake never was able to build on his success from that series though. In the Blondie movies he was a second banana, an important one, but again not the focus. That worked because he has a very limited schtick that now that I see is solo in The Ghost that Walks Alone gets rather annoying very quickly. His sad sack persona and his whiney line delivery gets tedious and since he is the star we never get a break from it.

The movie also doesn’t help with a supporting cast that comes off flat and forgettable. I’m not even sure that they tried to develop anything beyond one wacky old lady character who exists to be the red herring (she knows who the killer is) as well as be the punchline for the final joke seen on screen. His lady friend and wacky co-workers are barely given screentime and when they are on camera, I can sort of see why. Lake needed some help here as again he can’t carry the movie on his own, but he got no help here. The story is also paper thin with no mystery and very little beyond them stumbling around in the dark. Had the story been more engaging it would have made the movie at least watchable, but it isn’t.

There are reasons why some of these old movies have been forgotten. Sometimes they were just cranked out to fill screens and cash in on what was popular at the time. The Ghost that Walks Alone is one of those and isn’t worth spending the hour or so of you time on. In the unlikely event you are an Arthur Lake fan (how many of us are there?) I’d recommend hitting up a Blondie movie and skipping this one. If you are looking for a mystery/comedy from the thirties or forties there are much better choices. Oh, and just to be clear. There is no ghost that either walks in a crowd or alone!


© Copyright 2024 John Shatzer

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