& The Ghost Breakers
1939, 1940 / 72, 83 min.
Starring Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard
Cinematography by Charles B. Lang
Directed by Elliott Nugent, George Marshall
Bob Hope’s brand of comedy may have been extinct by the sixties but it was alive and kicking in the pages of God Save the Mark, Donald E. Westlake’s comic crime novel about a schnook on the run for a murder he didn’t commit. Published in 1967, Westlake’s farce resembles one of Hope’s own movies; the pace is frenetic and the patter is as snappy as the comedian’s in his prime—a golden age exemplified by his one-two punch from 1939 and 1940, The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers. Those films present Hope in excelsis but in the hands of directors Elliott Nugent and George Marshall they serve as master classes in the tricky art of the scare comedy.