The Ghost Goes West (1936)

85 mins | Fantasy, Comedy | 7 February 1936

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HISTORY

The working title for this film was The Laying of the Glourie Ghost . This film was one of MPA 's "champion" films for the 1936-37 season. According to a 26 Nov 1934 news item in HR , Charles Laughton was set to star in this film. In a 24 Aug 1935 HR British production chart, Lajos Biro is credited with writing the screenplay with Robert Sherwood. The HR review of the film credits René Clair with original story and lists Sherwood and Biro as co-screenwriters, although Biro receives no credit on the film and Clair is listed only as director. A modern source credits Sherwood, Kerr and Clair with the screenplay. A modern source includes the following information on Alexander Korda's writers, his working relationship with René Clair, and location shooting: In 1933, Korda hoped to make an "international" film about Scotland and wanted Clair to direct. Korda's writers then unsuccessfully attempted to adapt Eric Keown's Punch story "Sir Tristram Goes West" into a star vehicle for Laughton. In the fall of 1934, following the London premiere of Clair's satire on Fascism and dictators, Le dernier milliardaire , which had been rejected by French audiences, Korda offered Clair a three-film contract. In the spring of 1935, Clair and Robert Sherwood rewrote the script of Korda's Scottish comedy, which became The Ghost Goes West . Clair reportedly wanted Laurence Olivier to star in the film. In Jun 1935, the set for the Glourie Castle was built on property northwest of London, at the same time that Korda's Denham Studios were being built at ...

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The working title for this film was The Laying of the Glourie Ghost . This film was one of MPA 's "champion" films for the 1936-37 season. According to a 26 Nov 1934 news item in HR , Charles Laughton was set to star in this film. In a 24 Aug 1935 HR British production chart, Lajos Biro is credited with writing the screenplay with Robert Sherwood. The HR review of the film credits René Clair with original story and lists Sherwood and Biro as co-screenwriters, although Biro receives no credit on the film and Clair is listed only as director. A modern source credits Sherwood, Kerr and Clair with the screenplay. A modern source includes the following information on Alexander Korda's writers, his working relationship with René Clair, and location shooting: In 1933, Korda hoped to make an "international" film about Scotland and wanted Clair to direct. Korda's writers then unsuccessfully attempted to adapt Eric Keown's Punch story "Sir Tristram Goes West" into a star vehicle for Laughton. In the fall of 1934, following the London premiere of Clair's satire on Fascism and dictators, Le dernier milliardaire , which had been rejected by French audiences, Korda offered Clair a three-film contract. In the spring of 1935, Clair and Robert Sherwood rewrote the script of Korda's Scottish comedy, which became The Ghost Goes West . Clair reportedly wanted Laurence Olivier to star in the film. In Jun 1935, the set for the Glourie Castle was built on property northwest of London, at the same time that Korda's Denham Studios were being built at a nearby 165-acre estate called The Fishery, north of Denham Village. After Korda returned to Hollywood in the fall of 1935 and took a look at Clair's rushes, he reshot the scenes in which the castle is transported from Scotland to New York, causing Clair to consider taking his name off the film.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Corporate note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Feb 1936.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jan 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Jan 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Mar 36
pp. 16-17.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 34
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Jan 36
p. 48.
New York Times
11 Jan 36
p. 9.
Variety
15 Jan 36
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Alexander Korda Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
WRITERS
Film play by
Scen by
Contr to scr
Contr to scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost dir
Robert Donat's cost des by
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Sir Tristram Goes West" by Eric Keown in Punch (9 May 1932).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Laying of the Glourie Ghost
Release Date:
7 February 1936
Premiere Information:
London premiere: 17 Dec 1935; New York opening: 10 Jan 1936
Production Date:
began mid Aug 1935 at Denham Studios, England
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
London Film Productions, Ltd.
10 February 1936
LP6121
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in reels):
10
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Scotland in the eighteenth century, Old Glourie dies as his womanizing son Murdoch goes to war against the English. First, however, he must fight the MacLaggans, with whom the Glouries have had a long-standing feud. Distracted by a pretty sheperdess, Murdoch runs from MacLaggan and is killed by a cannonball, then joins his father in afterlife limbo, where he learns that, because of his cowardice, he will not be accepted into heaven with his ancestors. Instead, he is doomed to haunt the Glourie castle until he can show his honor by proving that one Glourie can lick fifty MacLaggans. Two hundred years later, Murdoch's look-alike descendant, Donald, badly in debt, is accosted by creditors and is forced to put the Glourie castle up for sale. Tourist Peggie Martin, daughter of an American grocery store magnate, is enchanted by the six-hundred-year-old castle and brings her parents to dinner there. Donald's creditors are eager for a sale and willingly act as waiters. When the question of whether the castle is haunted comes up at dinner, the hard-boiled Joe Martin is skeptical, but his wife Gladys, who insists she became psychic after her nervous breakdown, is eager to see a ghost. Sure a ghost will ruin the sale, the creditors set the clocks back, and after Murdoch fails to show at the appointed hour, the Martins leave. Peggie returns and, discovering the castle clock is wrong, is sure the ghost is merely tardy and asks to spend the night. When Murdoch appears, Peggie thinks he is Donald, and he proceeds to involve her in a riddle game in which he wins a kiss. ...

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In Scotland in the eighteenth century, Old Glourie dies as his womanizing son Murdoch goes to war against the English. First, however, he must fight the MacLaggans, with whom the Glouries have had a long-standing feud. Distracted by a pretty sheperdess, Murdoch runs from MacLaggan and is killed by a cannonball, then joins his father in afterlife limbo, where he learns that, because of his cowardice, he will not be accepted into heaven with his ancestors. Instead, he is doomed to haunt the Glourie castle until he can show his honor by proving that one Glourie can lick fifty MacLaggans. Two hundred years later, Murdoch's look-alike descendant, Donald, badly in debt, is accosted by creditors and is forced to put the Glourie castle up for sale. Tourist Peggie Martin, daughter of an American grocery store magnate, is enchanted by the six-hundred-year-old castle and brings her parents to dinner there. Donald's creditors are eager for a sale and willingly act as waiters. When the question of whether the castle is haunted comes up at dinner, the hard-boiled Joe Martin is skeptical, but his wife Gladys, who insists she became psychic after her nervous breakdown, is eager to see a ghost. Sure a ghost will ruin the sale, the creditors set the clocks back, and after Murdoch fails to show at the appointed hour, the Martins leave. Peggie returns and, discovering the castle clock is wrong, is sure the ghost is merely tardy and asks to spend the night. When Murdoch appears, Peggie thinks he is Donald, and he proceeds to involve her in a riddle game in which he wins a kiss. Martin later gives Donald his asking price for the castle, planning to reconstruct it in Sunnymede, Florida. The castle is taken apart stone by stone and loaded onto an ocean liner. On board is Martin's business rival, Ed. L. Bigelow, who is envious because he is transporting a measly Swiss chalet back to the States. Murdoch, who still must haunt the castle, even in its disassembled state, appears on the ship. Peggie reenacts what she thinks is Donald's riddle game, and Murdoch wins a forfeit from her that guarantees him a kiss. When she sees Murdoch attempt to use the riddle on another girl, Peggie becomes angry at Donald. Gladys is convinced Murdoch is a ghost, however, and while Martin is in a drunken stupor, Bigelow offers to purchase the ghost for publicity purposes. Martin wakes in time to stop the deal, but has exploitation plans of his own. When the ship reaches New York, citizens greet the ghost with a tickertape parade, but Capitol Hill protests the immigration of a ghost. Murdoch, meanwhile, expresses his dislike of America, and his equally ghostlike father advises him to remain invisible until it is time for his revenge against MacLaggan. When the castle is reconstructed, the Martins host an inaugural ceremony, and Donald is disgruntled because his beloved property has become an advertisement for Martin's Fine Foods. Meanwhile, Donald has fallen in love with Peggie, but vows to leave after the ceremony, in which Martin wants him to impersonate the ghost. Bigelow informs the press the ghost is a fake. Martin tells Peggie that Donald has left, and she confides in Murdoch that she loves Donald. Bigelow then broadcasts accusations that the Glouries are not a great Scot family, and when Donald confronts him, Bigelow reveals himself as the last descendant of the MacLaggans. Murdoch appears and forces Bigelow to apologize for dishonoring the Glouries and admit that one Glourie can thrash fifty MacLaggans. His ancient mission fulfilled, Murdoch leaves earth to join his noble ancestors in heaven. Donald then shows his chivalry by forgiving Peggie's forfeit, and she kisses him.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.