Friday 6 April 2007

Ghost Parade (1931) Mack Sennett

This is a Mack Sennett Talking Picture, which is the only polite description possible. It certainly isn't a comedy even though it thinks it is. It's a short film set in Mosby Manor, a scary place judging from he moans and screeches. Add in bad stuttering, bad stereotyping and bad sound effects and you can see how believably scary it isn't. It turns out that the ghost making musical noises is just a bunch of rats on a xylophone but that monster is quickly replaced by others, including the inevitable crook in a gorilla suit.

The story is familiar to anyone who grew up watching Scooby Doo. The bad guys want to get the good guys out of their big mansion for some nefarious reason or other and the only way to do it is to make them believe that the place is haunted. The screams become very tiresome indeed as does everything else, from the nervous jumping around to the supposed laughs to the costumes and the silly faces. This is pantomime stuff, pure and simple, but isn't even good pantomime stuff and it's really sad when something can't even reach the level of Scooby Doo. It's embarrassing to watch and even at twenty minutes, it's twenty five too long.

There are four names highlighted on the title card: Harry Gribbon, Andy Clyde, Marjorie Beebe and Frank Eastman. I was amazed to find that the first of those names, Harry Gribbon, was the constable, probably the most annoying character in a bunch of annoying characters, when it's Andy Clyde that has the biggest part. Maybe Gribbon was a bigger star than Clyde. Maybe they picked straws for whose name got to be first. Maybe it's a really telling sign that wondering about that is the best thing about the film.


Anonymous said...

Yes "Ghost Parade" is no masterpiece but these were solid actors, Mack Sennett's mainstays in the early 1930s. Andy Clyde was a bigger star than Gribbon. Clyde was excellent and had a long long career with Sennett and Educational and Columbia, and even in TV Westerns of the 50s and 60s. And Marjorie Beebe was something else- she's why I picked up on this. She was a lovely talent, unjustly forgotten today.

Anonymous said...

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