Matt Hough

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One of the best horror-comedies ever made and among the strongest Bob Hope features in his filmography, George Marshall’s The Ghost Breakers offers both laughs and chills in abundance.



The Ghost Breakers (1940)



Released: 21 Jun 1940
Rated: Passed
Runtime: 85 min




Director: George Marshall
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Mystery



Cast: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas
Writer(s): Walter DeLeon (screen play), Paul Dickey (based on a play by), Charles W. Goddard (based on a play by)



Plot: A radio broadcaster, his quaking manservant and an heiress investigate the mystery of a haunted castle in Cuba.



IMDB rating: 7.2
MetaScore: N/A





Disc Information



Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Kino Lorber...
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verneaux

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Lee Gambin’s commentary seems to be about five minutes ahead at the mid picture point. He talks about Anthony Quinn in the nightclub during the stateroom scene for example. This is probably not his fault but due to sloppy mastering.
 
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PMF

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Thanks for the review, Matt. This one is unknown to me and sounds like a great deal of fun. I’ll be sure to check it out.
 
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Will Krupp

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Thanks for the review, Matt!

This is one of my favorites, but I have to admit to being disappointed and underwhelmed by this disc.

When GHOST BREAKERS made its DVD debut as part of the Bob Hope "Tribute" line back in 2002, the source material used for that master, while riddled with white negative dirt and an odd image "fluctuation" for a few minutes around the 65 minute mark, was sharp with really good shadow detail and had a beautiful grayscale. Photographically, it looked a lot like THE CAT AND THE CANARY from the year before. You may remember that when it was reissued on DVD in the "Thanks for the Memory" Collection in 2011 (or 2012?) they replaced the original master with a really contrasty interlaced transfer that was dark, soft, and dirtier than the the original one from ten years earlier. I was hoping it was a mistake but there was also talk at the time that the (then recent) Universal fire might be to blame for destroying the existing materials.

That (or something like it with the same result) must be true because this blu-ray is definitely sourced from the second incarnation. They've performed a near miracle to get it to where it is today (at least it's not interlaced!) but there's only so much that can be done with an inferior element. Any benefit gained from the increase in resolution is negated by a picture that is soft, dark, lacking in detail, and far too contrasty as compared to the 2002 DVD. Frankly, it looks like a dupe to me.

It's likely the best we can expect from the remaining elements but, fortunately, the twenty year old DVD upscales beautifully and I much prefer watching that to watching what we have now. I've transferred the new KINO to a double disc case and will keep both (I love having the original artwork.) I will concede that the sound is far more robust on the new blu-ray but, otherwise, it's very disappointing IMO.

THE CAT AND THE CANARY blu-ray, on the other hand, looks gorgeous I think.
 
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warthree

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Thanks for the review, Matt!

This is one of my favorites, but I have to admit to being disappointed and underwhelmed by this disc.

When GHOST BREAKERS made its DVD debut as part of the Bob Hope "Tribute" line back in 2001, the source material used for that master, while riddled with white negative dirt and an odd image "fluctuation" for a few minutes around the 65 minute mark, was sharp with really good shadow detail and had a beautiful grayscale. Photographically, it looked a lot like THE CAT AND THE CANARY from the year before. You may remember that when it was reissued on DVD in the "Thanks for the Memory" Collection in 2011 (or 2012?) they replaced the original master with a really contrasty interlaced transfer that was dark, soft, and dirtier than the the original one from ten years earlier. I was hoping it was a mistake but there was also talk at the time that the (then recent) Universal fire might be to blame for destroying the existing materials.

That (or something like it with the same result) must be true because this blu-ray is definitely sourced from the second incarnation. They've performed a near miracle to get it to where it is today (at least it's not interlaced!) but there's only so much that can be done with an inferior element. Any benefit gained from the increase in resolution is negated by a picture that is soft, dark, lacking in detail, and far too contrasty as compared to the 2001 DVD. Frankly, it looks like a dupe to me.

It's likely the best we can expect from the remaining elements but, fortunately, the twenty year old DVD upscales beautifully and I much prefer watching that to watching what we have now. I've transferred the new KINO to a double disc case and will keep both (I love having the original artwork.) I will concede that the sound is far more robust on the new blu-ray but, otherwise, it's very disappointing IMO.

THE CAT AND THE CANARY, on the other hand, looks gorgeous I think.
I had exactly the same reaction. The 2002 dvd came from a way better (photographically) element. The blu-ray is soft, contrasty and dupey-looking. It's the first time I've ever preferred a dvd to a blu-ray.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Thanks for the review, Matt!

This is one of my favorites, but I have to admit to being disappointed and underwhelmed by this disc.

When GHOST BREAKERS made its DVD debut as part of the Bob Hope "Tribute" line back in 2001, the source material used for that master, while riddled with white negative dirt and an odd image "fluctuation" for a few minutes around the 65 minute mark, was sharp with really good shadow detail and had a beautiful grayscale. Photographically, it looked a lot like THE CAT AND THE CANARY from the year before. You may remember that when it was reissued on DVD in the "Thanks for the Memory" Collection in 2011 (or 2012?) they replaced the original master with a really contrasty interlaced transfer that was dark, soft, and dirtier than the the original one from ten years earlier. I was hoping it was a mistake but there was also talk at the time that the (then recent) Universal fire might be to blame for destroying the existing materials.

That (or something like it with the same result) must be true because this blu-ray is definitely sourced from the second incarnation. They've performed a near miracle to get it to where it is today (at least it's not interlaced!) but there's only so much that can be done with an inferior element. Any benefit gained from the increase in resolution is negated by a picture that is soft, dark, lacking in detail, and far too contrasty as compared to the 2001 DVD. Frankly, it looks like a dupe to me.

It's likely the best we can expect from the remaining elements but, fortunately, the twenty year old DVD upscales beautifully and I much prefer watching that to watching what we have now. I've transferred the new KINO to a double disc case and will keep both (I love having the original artwork.) I will concede that the sound is far more robust on the new blu-ray but, otherwise, it's very disappointing IMO.

THE CAT AND THE CANARY, on the other hand, looks gorgeous I think.
Well, I guess I'll have to take a look when I buy this BD as I have that 2002 DVD too.
 
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katsuben

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Lee Gambin’s commentary seems to be about five minutes ahead at the mid picture point. He talks about Anthony Quinn in the nightclub during the stateroom scene for example. This is probably not his fault but due to sloppy mastering.
Just a thought, could it also be the result of undertaking audio recording for the commentary at home (because of lockdown) rather than in a professionally supervised studio environment? The audio may have been supplied with kinda fast and loose in a way that made it difficult to obtain perfect synch.
 

Matt Hough

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It's SO much better than the version in the Hope DVD set (I rewatched it about a week before I got the Blu-ray), and the differences between those two particular transfers are night and day.
 
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Will Krupp

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It's SO much better than the version in the Hope DVD set (I rewatched it about a week before I got the Blu-ray), and the differences between those two particular transfers are night and day.
I agree with you there 100%! The movie as it appears in the "Thanks..." DVD set (and at least one subsequent reissue since then) was a shock. (Did I mention that it was interlaced?) The blu-ray is miles better than that sorry master

It's not a mistake! I trust your opinion that you thought this BD looked good. Others disagree, that's fine and dandy as we have these disagreements all the time.
Not to speak FOR Matt, but I THINK he meant the (understandable) mistake he made was in giving away the older DVD in favor of the one in the Bob Hope DVD set. It's a mistake I almost made myself and it was just a fluke that I hadn't given the first one away at the time I sat down and watched the set. I don't think he meant that his blu-ray review was a mistake and it's not. It's a thoughtful and accurate assessment of what's on the disc. There just happens to be a stronger source element (which can't be unseen) which, for whatever reason, went unused.

In my amateur opinion I can only guess but it seems as though Universal realized the original DVD master was unusable or unavailable in 2012 and they replaced it rather hastily with what they had on hand. The interlacing makes me think it was an old TV master pressed into last minute service.
 
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LeoA

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Did anyone ever figure out which transfer of 'The Ghost Breakers' is on here?



I tried to figure it out following some suggestions here, but couldn't. It certainly didn't look awful to my eyes though, but I didn't have the older DVD to compare with.

If simple screenshots are adequate to discern which version was on here (likely the inferior newer transfer since this collection is about 5 years old), I could post a few screenshots.

I share the fondness for the DVD of The Cat and the Canary. I watched it on this collection immediately after going through Kino's excellent releases of the first six 'Road to ...' movies last year and visually it didn't feel like a step down in the least. With it looking so great just on DVD, I can't wait to check out Kino's Blu-Ray release.
 
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Will Krupp

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I tried to figure it out following some suggestions here, but couldn't. It certainly didn't look awful to my eyes though, but I didn't have the older DVD to compare with.
While I can't say for certain, if you have your Blu-ray player set to auto output DVDs at 24fps and this DVD is still running at 60hz then it's the same interlaced transfer as was on the 2012 yellow set.
 
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TPWard

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Thanks for the review, Matt!

This is one of my favorites, but I have to admit to being disappointed and underwhelmed by this disc.

When GHOST BREAKERS made its DVD debut as part of the Bob Hope "Tribute" line back in 2002, the source material used for that master, while riddled with white negative dirt and an odd image "fluctuation" for a few minutes around the 65 minute mark, was sharp with really good shadow detail and had a beautiful grayscale. Photographically, it looked a lot like THE CAT AND THE CANARY from the year before. You may remember that when it was reissued on DVD in the "Thanks for the Memory" Collection in 2011 (or 2012?) they replaced the original master with a really contrasty interlaced transfer that was dark, soft, and dirtier than the the original one from ten years earlier. I was hoping it was a mistake but there was also talk at the time that the (then recent) Universal fire might be to blame for destroying the existing materials.

That (or something like it with the same result) must be true because this blu-ray is definitely sourced from the second incarnation. They've performed a near miracle to get it to where it is today (at least it's not interlaced!) but there's only so much that can be done with an inferior element. Any benefit gained from the increase in resolution is negated by a picture that is soft, dark, lacking in detail, and far too contrasty as compared to the 2002 DVD. Frankly, it looks like a dupe to me.

It's likely the best we can expect from the remaining elements but, fortunately, the twenty year old DVD upscales beautifully and I much prefer watching that to watching what we have now. I've transferred the new KINO to a double disc case and will keep both (I love having the original artwork.) I will concede that the sound is far more robust on the new blu-ray but, otherwise, it's very disappointing IMO.

THE CAT AND THE CANARY blu-ray, on the other hand, looks gorgeous I think.
I have to agree with WIll, I watched CAT and GHOST on blu back to back, the difference in the quality was startling, and the older GHOST 2002 DVD looked much better whatever the issues as pointed out. I had given the DVD away to a friend in anticipation of the blu being a superior viewing experience. I just reordered the DVD for 10 bucks. The CAT AND THE CANARY was well worth the upgrade, not so GHOST, in my opinion.
 

Robert Crawford

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Can people tell me what type of displays they're watching this movie on? Whether it's a 120" screen versus a much smaller 65".
 

Will Krupp

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Can people tell me what type of displays they're watching this movie on? Whether it's a 120" screen versus a much smaller 65".
I muddle through with a "much smaller" 65 inch OLED :lol:

In all seriousness, if your display is too large to even WATCH upscaled DVDs and you know it already, then the point is moot. Stick with the blu-ray because, at some point, any advantages will no longer be worth the trade-off.
 
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