Ghost Valley

1932

Ghost Valley

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This entry in RKO's Tom Keene series was one of several early sound Westerns to cross over into the haunted house comedy-thriller genre. Keene played Jerry Long, the long-lost heir to the ghost town of Boom City. A crooked judge, Drake (Mitchell Harris). has discovered oil in an abandoned mine and, unaware of Jerry's true identity, hires him to impersonate himself, so to speak. Jerry's task is to persuade his fellow heir, Jane Worth (Merna Kennedy), to sell out to Drake and his henchman Gordon (Ted Adams). Arriving at Boom City, the prospective heirs are put through the standard Hollywood haunted house melodramatics such as sliding panels, clutching hands and trap doors, all rather cumbersomely directed by former film editor Fred Allen (no relation to the radio raconteur). Keene, who tracks down the villains disguised in a black cape, was his personable self and Miss Kennedy (Chaplin's leading lady in The Circus, 1928) made a brisk heroine. But the best performances were given by a supporting cast that included Harry Semels as the obligatory mysterious butler, Kate Campbell) as a pompous matron and Harry Bowen as an easily frightened travelling salesman. George "Gabby" Hayes, sans the trademark beard, appeared unbilled as a hotel proprietor. Ghost Valley was partially filmed at the ghost town of Hornitas, California. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

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