Total Recall: Ghosts of Movies Past - Page 5 - Rotten Tomatoes

Total Recall: Ghosts of Movies Past

RT takes a sample of some of our favorite cinematic ghost stories.

by RT Staff | Wednesday, Sep. 17 2008


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Topper (1937)
Tomatometer: 100%

Modern special effects have numbed audiences to even the niftiest spectral hijinks, but in 1937, moviegoers were far less blasť about the behind-the-scenes magic that helped George and Marion Kerby (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett) torment their good friend Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) from beyond the grave. Like the Thorne Smith novel from which it draws its inspiration, Topper plays its haunting for laughs -- and Grant, who negotiated a percentage deal for his participation, chuckled all the way to the bank. He opted out for the sequels (and the '50s TV series), but they all retain a measure of what the Chicago Reader's Dave Kehr called "arch screwball style."








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Ugetsu (1952)
Tomatometer: 100%

Ominous but yearning, Lady Wakasa is not your typical apparition. And Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu is certainly not your typical haunted tale; this masterwork, which helped bring Japanese cinema to worldwide prominence, is a moving story of the ravages of war, the complex bonds of family, and the loneliness of the grave. As conflict envelops his village, Genjuro (Masayuki Mori) decides to sell his pottery in a more prosperous town. It is there that the noblewoman Lady Wakasa (Machiko Kyo) takes a shine to his work -- and Genjuro as well. She invites him to her palace, and demands that he marry her, so she can feel the love she missed out on in her first lifetime. Genjuro is enraptured, but also conflicted, still duty-bound to his earth-bound wife and son. Ugetsu is "a masterpiece from Mizoguchi -- for its historical drama, its moving social and family themes and its marvellously moody ghost story," wrote Daniel Etherington of Channel 4 Film. (And if you can't get enough of lyrical, disquieting Japanese ghost stories, the monumental Kwaidan, from 1964, has four of 'em.


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