The Ghost Comes Home


1h 19m 1940
The Ghost Comes Home

Brief Synopsis

A man who's presumed dead returns to his family.

Film Details

Also Known As
Hooray, I'm Alive, The Ghost Man
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 8, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Der Mutige Seefahrer by Georg Kaiser (production undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Vern Adams, a mild-mannered pet store owner, is henpecked by his wife Cora, brow-beaten by his brothers-in-law, Roscoe and Ernest, and perceived as a ne'er-do-well by the entire population of Edenville, the small rural town in which he dwells. Although Vern and Cora insist that their daughter Billie accept a marriage proposal from the respectable Mortimer Hopkins, Jr., Vern later follows Billie to a dance and apologizes to her for his forcefulness. At the dance hall, Vern meets the bandleader, Lanny Shea, who is a snobbish "city slicker" from New York. One day, Vern receives a phone call from an old school chum in Australia, John "Fishface" Thomas, who asks Vern to come and advise him on how to distribute the half-million dollar donation he intends to present to Edenville, his hometown. Vern immediately sets out for Australia, but in New York misses his boat and is thrown in jail on charges of being drunk and disorderly following his refusal to pay an unfairly high restaurant bill. After serving a two-month jail sentence, Vern is released and calls on Lanny, the only person he knows in New York, to help him get back to Edenville. Lanny, who extended an insincere invitation to him and his daughter when they met in Edenville, grudgingly agrees to take Vern home. Upon his arrival in Edenville, Vern learns that John Thomas has died and discovers that his own family believes that he is dead because they heard that the ship on which he was to have sailed sank. Since his assumed death, Vern's family has collected a large sum of money on his life insurance policy. Realizing that his family is better off being provided for by the insurance money, Vern tells them that he is going to hide in the attic so that they can continue collecting the money. Meanwhile, Lanny, who decided to stay in town after delivering Vern, has fallen in love with Billie. When Vern discovers that Mortimer Hopkins, Sr., the town banker, is involved in an investment fraud, he uses one of Lanny's band members to pose as Mr. Morley, a representative of John Thomas, to catch Hopkins in the act. Billie soon spurns Lanny for the wealthy Mortimer Hopkins, Jr., but takes him back when Vern exposes Hopkins' fraud. Vern emerges from the attic as the town hero and takes his place as the new master of his family.

Film Details

Also Known As
Hooray, I'm Alive, The Ghost Man
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 8, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Der Mutige Seefahrer by Georg Kaiser (production undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

The Ghost Comes Home -


The Wizard of Oz married to Glinda the Good? No, it's not a sequel to the classic family fantasy. This B-movie simply gave MGM a chance to showcase character actor Frank Morgan in a leading role with Billie Burke as his nagging wife. Morgan is a small-town pet shop owner, perpetually put upon by his wife and her family. On the way to a business meeting in Australia, he's thrown in jail for two months. Meanwhile, the boat sinks killing all on board. Once he's out of jail, Morgan returns home to discover that not only is he believed dead but his family has spent all the insurance money. He goes into hiding to save them from charges of insurance fraud, all the while trying to keep tabs on other domestic problems. Burke shows off her trademarked confusion, but it's Morgan who steals the show basically playing to type as a well-meaning but ineffectual old man. MGM based the film on German playwright Georg Kaiser's The Courageous Seaman. The supporting cast includes Ann Rutherford as Morgan's daughter, Donald Meek as the banker her parents want her to marry, Nat Pendleton as Morgan's bullying brother-in-law and Renie Riano as the tough farmwoman they push Pendleton to wed.

By Frank Miller
The Ghost Comes Home -

The Ghost Comes Home -

The Wizard of Oz married to Glinda the Good? No, it's not a sequel to the classic family fantasy. This B-movie simply gave MGM a chance to showcase character actor Frank Morgan in a leading role with Billie Burke as his nagging wife. Morgan is a small-town pet shop owner, perpetually put upon by his wife and her family. On the way to a business meeting in Australia, he's thrown in jail for two months. Meanwhile, the boat sinks killing all on board. Once he's out of jail, Morgan returns home to discover that not only is he believed dead but his family has spent all the insurance money. He goes into hiding to save them from charges of insurance fraud, all the while trying to keep tabs on other domestic problems. Burke shows off her trademarked confusion, but it's Morgan who steals the show basically playing to type as a well-meaning but ineffectual old man. MGM based the film on German playwright Georg Kaiser's The Courageous Seaman. The supporting cast includes Ann Rutherford as Morgan's daughter, Donald Meek as the banker her parents want her to marry, Nat Pendleton as Morgan's bullying brother-in-law and Renie Riano as the tough farmwoman they push Pendleton to wed. By Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

No information about the original play, "Der Mutige Seefahrer", has been found. The English language version, called "The Courageous Seaman" had no Broadway run.

A great amount of footage of Pookey the Parrot had to be removed because he imitated director William Thiele's "cut" command and often screamed it in the middle of a scene.

Notes

The English language title of the play on which this film is based is The Courageous Seaman. The play, also known as Hurrah, Ich Liebe (Hurrah, I Live), was used as the basis for the 1928 German Ufa film Hurrah! Ich lebe. Working titles for The Ghost Comes Home were The Ghost Man and Hooray, I'm Alive. According to a studio assignment sheet, Herman Mankiewicz contributed some script material for this film, but it is not known if any of Mankiewicz's work was used in the final film. The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that, in December 1939, the PCA urged M-G-M to use care in filming the scene in which "Vern" pins a flower on Myra's shoulder, cautioning that the scene "should not point up, or emphasize her breasts." The PCA also demanded the removal of a number of censorable items from the script, including "offensive scenes of drinking or drunkenness"; the scene showing "Vern" slapping the flower girl's "bare thigh"; the dialogue "I'll throw acid in his face"; and the characterization of "Waldo" as a "pansy." In addition, the PCA informed M-G-M that if it intended to release the film in Italy, it would be necessary to avoid the characterization of the Italian character "Tony" as a "heavy or as a comedy character." The picture marked stage actor John Shelton's first leading film role. Studio publicity material indicates that "Pete, the penguin," was one of only two such birds to have been trained for film work in Hollywood. Studio records also note that "Pooky, the parrot" was removed from a considerable amount of the film because he learned to imitate director William Thiele's "cut" command and often screamed the word in the middle of a scene. An earlier film based on Kaiser's play was the 1928 German Ufa production, Hurrah, Ich Lebe!" which was released in the United States as Hurrah, I'm Alive.