Hold That Ghost (1941)

“It’s gonna be a pleasure to take you boys for a ride…”

Hold That Ghost Poster

Synopsis:
A pair of bumbling gas station attendants (Bud Abbott and Lou Costello) inherit a house with hidden treasure from a gangster (William Davidson) whose rivals are desperate to find the loot.

Genres:

Review:
Although it’s lauded by fans as one of their funniest films, this Abbott and Costello comedy is surprisingly dull — and, despite its title, features nary a ghost. The only real humor comes in the film’s opening sequence, when A&C are working as high-class waiters and Costello takes his instructions from Abbott so literally (think Amelia Bedelia) that he completely bungles the position. From then on, we’re meant to laugh as poor Costello — who nobody believes, naturally — witnesses candles moving on their own, accidentally converts his bedroom into a casino (again and again) by throwing a jacket over a coat hook, etc.; unfortunately, these scenes are simply tiresome rather than amusing. Film fanatics should stick with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) as the one “must-see” comic thriller by the duo.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric sets and lighting
    Hold That Ghost Hallway
    Hold That Ghost Lighting
    Hold That Ghost Stairway

Must See?
No — though Abbott and Costello fans will certainly consider it essential viewing. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.

Links:

One Response to “Hold That Ghost (1941)”

  1. Very likely I saw this as a kid – when I would (apparently) watch just about anything that was put in front of me. The ‘spooky goings-on’ in this wretched film are bookended by celestial appearances by The Andrews Sisters – who offer a much-needed…anything! They sing ‘Sleepy Serenade’ early on (though perhaps not the wisest song selection, considering what it prepares us for – as if anything could) and finish the film (which was really ‘finished’ while the girls were gone) with a delightful rendition of ‘Aurora’.

    Did this kind of unfunny hogwash really fly in 1941? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….

    (Available at youtube; if it matters.)

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