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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Scared Stiff (1953)

Starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Lizabeth Scott, Carmen Miranda, George Dolenz
Directed by George Marshall
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A nightclub entertainer and his clumsy sidekick accompany a young heiress to a Cuban island haunted by ghosts and a zombie.

According to Wikipedia, this film is the fourth adaptation of the same play, and was last filmed as 1940's The Ghost Breakers, starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.  Here it's remade as a vehicle for Martin and Lewis, and it's not a bad picture, featuring some fun numbers teaming the singer and comedian with Brazilian songstress Carmen Miranda.  Yet the horror scenes pale in comparison to the 1940 version, as for example, Jack Lambert's zombie does not have the same impact as Noble Johnson's did a decade earlier.  Although the presence of Lewis allows the filmmakers to jettison the stereotype played by Willie Best in the previous version, that leaves the film without any black actors, so that's not exactly progress.  Despite all that, fans of Martin and Lewis should enjoy the movie, but I'd recommend The Ghost Breakers as the better version for those looking for laughs and chills.  The two earlier silent versions of the story are apparently lost films, per Wikipedia.

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