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Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost

Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost(1942)

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teaser Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost (1942)

When that fun couple Dennis (Charles "Buddy" Rogers) and Carmelita (Lupe Velez) travel to a deserted country retreat, it turns out the house is haunted -- not by ghosts, as they suspect, but by a group of ne'er-do-wells constructing a bomb in the basement. Even by the slapsticky standards of the series, this is the least beloved of the Mexican Spitfire pictures -- but the most remembered by film historians, primarily for the way RKO paired its release in theaters with the skinned-down, 88-minute version of Orson Welles' butchered 148-minute masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). (Ambersons was the second part of the bill, too, in the "B-movie" spot.) The tragic mishandling of Welles' follow-up to Citizen Kane is not Velez's fault, though, and in Sees A Ghost she is still her sensually wacky best, like in scenes where she and longtime conspirator Uncle Matt (Leon Errol) impersonate cats to wheedle a dog out from under a couch. When her fierce meow scares the pooch, she shrugs "That's a Mexican wildcat." Indeed.

By Violet LeVoit

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