Today: May 19, 2024

The Cat and the Canary & The Ghost Breakers

Bob Hope films were once a stalwart of festive TV and late-night film seasons. Eureka Entertainment’s latest release brings a little of that magic back with two of Hope’s most popular and enduring films: The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers. 

Ghosts and gags abound in this charming double-bill of horror-comedies starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, released as part of the Eureka Classics range in their UK Blu-ray debuts.

The Cat and the Canary (dir. Elliott Nugent, 1939) is a classic tale of an  eccentric millionaire, whose remaining relatives gather for the reading of the will at his abandoned mansion set deep in the Louisiana bayous. His niece Joyce (Paulette Goddard) is named the sole inheritor, but under the condition that she does not go insane within the next 30 days. The timid Wally (Bob Hope) vows to protect Joyce who must spend the night in the haunted mansion along with her jealous relatives, a creepy maid and a homicidal maniac who has just escaped from a nearby sanitarium.

In The Ghost Breakers (dir. George Marshall, 1940), Larry Lawrence (Hope), is on the run for a murder he did not commit. Hiding in a steamer trunk Larry finds himself onboard a ship bound for Cuba, where the trunk’s owner, pretty Mary Carter (Goddard), is sailing to take possession of a recent inheritance… Yes, you’ve guessed it: a haunted” castle. Sensing that Mary is in danger, Larry and his valet precede her to the island, which is inhabited by a ghost, a zombie and perhaps even a flesh-and-blood fiend. There’s romance, comedy and chills as Hope and Goddard contend with earthly and un-earthly foes—and try to keep from ending up as ghosts themselves.

While both films may feel a little creaky around the edges to modern audiences, Hope and Goddard are charming protagonists and there’s laughs and chills aplenty in a duo of films that will make perfect viewing on cozy Winter evenings.

4/5

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Limited Edition slipcase (2000 copies).
  • 1080p presentation of both films from scans of the original film elements supplied by Universal, with The Ghost Breakers presented from a new 2K master.
  • Optional English SDH.
  • Brand new audio commentary tracks on both films with Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby.
  • Kim Newman on “The Cat and the Canary” and “The Ghost Breakers”.
  • “The Ghost Breakers” 1949 radio adaptation,
  • Trailers.
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original poster artwork.
  • A limited edition collector’s booklet (2000 copies) featuring new writing by Craig Ian Mann.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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