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The Ghost Goes West

The Ghost Goes West(1936)

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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.