Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ghost Goes West, The

UK movie (1935). London/United Artists. Pr Alexander Korda. Dir René Clair. Spfx Ned Mann. Screenplay Geoffrey Kerr (uncredited), Robert Sherwood. Based on "Sir Tristram Goes West" by Eric Keown. Starring Ralph Bunker (Ed Bigelow), Robert Donat (Murdoch Glourie/Donald Glourie), Everley Gregg (Gladys Martin), Elsa Lanchester (Miss Shepperton), Elliot Mason (Miss McNiff), Eugene Pallette (Joe Martin), Jean Parker (Peggy Martin), Hay Petrie (The McLaggan), Morton Selten (The Glourie). 85 mins. B/w.

Scotland, 200 years ago. Womanizing Murdoch Glourie died ignominiously and, on reaching Limbo, was condemned by his dour father to return to haunt the family castle until he could make a representative of the hated Clan McLaggan humiliate himself.

Today. The last of the Glouries, Donald, sells the castle to US millionaire Joe Martin, who dismantles it to take it to Sunnymede, Florida, where Donald will supervise its rebuilding. But Murdoch is bound to the stones; on discovering the Awful Truth about the USA, the Ghost is mercifully allowed by his father to adopt Invisibility. Martin, embarrassed the ghost no longer appears, holds a launch party where Donald will fake the Haunting; but Martin's business rival Bigelow proudly announces he is of Scots lineage – he is the last of the McLaggans. Murdoch manifests, forces the requisite concession from Bigelow, and is allowed to leave this plane.

This lightweight screwball Ghost Story, Clair's first movie outside France, was a hit but represents an imaginative decline for Clair. Some of TGGW's themes reappeared decades later in High Spirits (1988), where an impoverished Irish minor aristocrat tries to increase takings from US tourists by faking a castle ghost, only to spark off a real Haunting.

Lanchester received star billing in TGGW but had only a bit part; that same year, 1935, she had a far more significant (dual) role as Mary Shelley and the Bride in The Bride of Frankenstein (see Frankenstein Movies). [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.