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THE SMILING GHOST (1941)
Written by Kenneth Garnet and Stuart Palmer
Directed by Lewis Seiler
Dim-witted unemployed architect Alexander “Lucky” Downing (Wayne Morris) is hired by a lawyer to be the fiancee of Elinor Bentley Fairchild (Alexis Smith) for one month. What he doesn’t realize is that three of her prior fiancees have met with disaster or death. This short feature on Warner Archives “Horror/Mystery Double Features” DVD set is light on mystery and heavy on comedy, with Morris likeable as the protagonist, Brenda Marshall likeable as a reporter, sultry Smith surprisingly (given her character) likeable as the deadly heiress, Alan Hale funny as a gruff, street-wise butler, and Willie Best capably handling the comedy that doesn’t fall on Morris’ shoulders. The one truly shuddery moment occurs with the initial entrance of the titular ghost, whose impact is diminished with repeated sightings. Enjoyable but forgettable.
— Robert Deveau, The Doomed Farmer
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