The Live Ghost (1934)
This is perhaps Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's most atmospheric short. It begins at the waterfront where a captain (the always-menacing Walter Long) is having a hard time finding a crew because his ship is supposedly haunted. A pair of fish cleaners (Stan and Ollie) aren't any more willing to sign on, but they do take the captain up on an offer to shanghai some men at a dollar a head. To accomplish their mission, Stan goes into a saloon and tells each mark, "I'll bet you a dollar you can't put this egg in your mouth without breaking it." Then he hits the guy in the jaw, crushing the egg. Each time he is pursued by a furious man, Ollie waits outside the saloon door and knocks the guy unconscious. When Ollie decides to try his hand at it, however, everybody winds up getting knocked out, and the boys wake up to find themselves on the captain's ship. On one side, they're surrounded by the men they've shanghaied, all of whom want vengeance, on the other is the captain, who swears that if anyone mentions ghosts, "I'll twist your head so that when you're walking north, you'll be looking south!" Ten ports later, the boys have still not gone ashore -- all the better to avoid the rest of the crew -- and the captain has put a perpetually drunk crew member (Arthur Housman) in their care. The drunk escapes, however, and falls into a tub of whitewash before returning to the ship. Meanwhile, Stan and Ollie accidentally shoot off a revolver and believe a bullet has struck and killed the drunk (it's actually a trunk covered with a blanket). When the drunk shows up, they think he's a ghost and he scares the living daylights out of everyone. The captain returns to the ship with a streetwalker (Mae Busch) who recognizes the drunk as her missing husband and gives chase. Ollie and Stan forget themselves and start to tell the captain about the ghost...and the end is easy to figure out. Another fine mess. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi … More
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