Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Ghost (1963)

Let's start with the ways in which this is a bad film, because they are obvious and significant.  I'll cover them in the order I noticed them.

The first was that the premise is so hackneyed and derivative that ten minutes in I literally had to stop and check I'd not seen this film before, even though I knew I had not seen this film before.  It's Grand Guignol 101: unfaithful wife persuades lover to murder wealthy husband, but the Will proves much less generous than they expected and things start happening in the house which suggest the deceased is not resting peacefully.

The second was the audio dub, which is hamfistedly awful.  Like a lot of 1960s Italian films, the dialogue was added in post production.  Which can work okay when care and attention was paid to the task, but it's pretty clear that no such effort was made here.  This is problematic both from a purely technical perspective and from the negative impact it has on the cast's performances.

Finally there's the conclusion, where the truth behind events is revealed ... and is revealed to be absurd.  It's the usual magical logic nonsense where it all ties up with the events of the movie, but it would only work if you knew the script of the movie in advance.

So is there anything to recommend about the film, then?  Well, actually, there is.  The haunting scenes themselves are effectively done, as is the mounting suspicion between the wife and her lover, and the violent altercation it eventually provokes between them.  Oh, and the black irony of the very final minute will appeal to those of you who (like me) have an appreciation for such things.

So if you have a particular love for the melodramatic and sensationalist branch of horror in which this lies, you'll probably be quite entertained despite the movie's flaws.  But I suspect that only a small number of you meet that description.

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