The Ghost (1963 film)

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The Ghost
Lo Spettro-poster.jpg
Italian film poster for The Ghost
Directed by Riccardo Freda
Produced by
  • Ermanno Donati
  • Luigi Carpentieri[1]
Screenplay by Oreste Biancoli[1]
Story by
  • Riccardo Freda
  • Oreste Biancoli[1]
Starring
Cinematography Raffaele Masciocchi[1]
Edited by Ornella Micheli[1]
Distributed by Dino de Laurentiis (Italy)
Release date
  • March 30, 1963 (1963-03-30) (Italy)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
Country Italy[1]
Language Italian
Box office ₤175 million

The Ghost (Italian title: Lo Spettro) is a 1963 Italian horror film directed by Riccardo Freda, using the pseudonym "Robert Hampton". The film stars Barbara Steele and Peter Baldwin. Other titles for the film include The Spectre and Lo Spettro del Dr. Hichcock.[2]

Plot[edit]

In 1910 Scotland, the ailing Dr. Hichcock (Elio Jotta) presides over a seance in which his housekeeper, Catherine (Harriet Medin), is the medium. Hichcock's wife, Margaret (Barbara Steele), is having an affair with Dr. Livingstone (Peter Baldwin). She persuades her lover to murder her husband.

During the distribution of Hichcock's estate, Catherine and Livingstone receive very little. Learning that the key to the doctor's safe was buried with him, they secretly open his grave to retrieve it. The safe is empty. Margaret and Livingstone hear Hichcock's voice calling to them, and experience poltergeist phenomena. Margaret eventually learns from these encounters that Hichcock's fortune is buried beneath his coffin. She returns to the grave but only an empty box is found beneath the casket. Catherine, apparently possessed, tells Margaret that Livingstone has taken the jewels for himself. Margaret lures her lover into a cellar and murders him.

Margaret is drawn to Hichcock's room by the ringing of his carillon, where she contemplates suicide by poison. Hichcock appears, alive and well. He kills his accomplice, Catherine, leaves evidence to incriminate Margaret, and sends anonymous notice to the authorities. Believing that Margaret has poured herself a glass of gin, Hichcock drinks it and makes a toast. He immediately realizes he has poisoned himself. He begs Margaret for the antidote, but she destroys the vial. The police arrive and arrest Margaret for Catherine's murder. Hichcock seals himself inside a secret passage to die unseen.

Production[edit]

The Ghost was shot in Rome. It is a gothic re-imagining of the film Les Diaboliques (1955).[1][3]

The Italian production crew are credited by aliases.[4] The music score is credited to "Franck Wallace", whom Italian magazine Bianco e Nero and the Monthly Film Bulletin claim is a pseudonym for Franco Mannino.[4] When Beat Records re-released the score, they found the tapes credited to Francesco De Masi who is not credited in the film.[4]

Release[edit]

The Ghost was released in Italy on March 30, 1963, where it was distributed by Dino de Laurentiis.[1] The film grossed a total of ₤175 million lira on its theatrical release.[1] Freda has said that the censors did not object to any of the film's content.[4]

The film was later released in the United Kingdom in February 1964[5][page needed] and in the United States on February 18, 1965 in Dallas.[1][6]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review, The Monthly Film Bulletin stated that "Pictorially the film is a knock-out" while the dubbed dialogue is "more inept than ever".[7] The review concluded that The Ghost was "a splendid exercise in Grand Guignol"[7]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Curti 2015, p. 88.
  2. ^ Flavia Brizio-Skov, Popular Italian Cinema: Culture and Politics in a Postwar Society, IB Tauris 2011
  3. ^ Curti 2015, p. 89.
  4. ^ a b c d Curti 2015, p. 91.
  5. ^ John Hamilton, Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser, FAB Press 2005
  6. ^ "The Ghost". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Spettro, Lo". Monthly Film Bulletin. London. 31 (360): 78–79. 1964. ISSN 0027-0407. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Curti, Roberto (2015). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969. McFarland. ISBN 1476619891. 

External links[edit]