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Film / The Ghost Goes West

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"Mm...the ghost might as well go west if she tags along."

The Ghost Goes West (1935) is a British Romantic Comedy / Horror Comedy B-movie starring Robert Donat, Jean Parker, Eugene Pallette, and directed by René Clair.

Casanova Murdoch Glourie is a rich, young Scottish lad during the 18th century who rather make out with the ladies than go to war and defend his honour against the hated McLaggen clan. But when a gunpowder explosion kills him after cowardly hiding, he’s unable to make it to the afterlife. His ancestors wait for him until he can avenge his honour by making a McLaggen descendant bow before him and apologize for dishonouring their name.

Centuries later, Murdoch Glourie is still haunting Glourie castle while his own descendant, Donald, is selling the old place. A rich American girl, Peggy Martin, takes a fancy to the castle and convinces her parents to buy it, especially since Donald is a very charming fellow. The castle is taken down, stone by stone, and shipped off to Florida, except the ghost and his misfortunes goes with it.

Not to be confused with The Ghoul Goes West, a film by Ed Wood.


  • The Alcoholic: Murdoch's father.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Donald finds out that Mr. Bigalow is the last descendant of the McLaggens, so he tells Murdoch. Murdoch makes the descendant say this: "In the name of every McLaggen that ever disgraced the fair name of Scotland, I humbly apologized for the insult to my superiors, the Glouries, and I freely admit that one Glourie can thrash fifty McLaggens." After this, Murdoch can finally ascend into heaven with the rest of his ancestors.
    "Now touch the floor with your nose."
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Murdoch for about 200 years until he gets a McLaggen descendant to apologize for making fun of the Glouries.
  • Big Fancy House: Glourie Castle.
  • The Casanova: Murdoch Glourie loves all the ladies.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Donald and his feelings for Peggy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The ship has a fancy dress party, and Murdoch doesn’t look one bit out of place when he appears.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Once Murdoch finds a McLaggen descendant, cue the thunder and lightning.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Peggy talks to Murdoch thinking it's Donald making a joke.
  • Friendly Ghost: Murdoch scares servants away, but he doesn't do anything scary other than being a ghost.
  • Ghostly Goals: Lazy Murdoch has only taken about 200 years to find a McLaggen to make it to the afterlife.
  • Haunted Castle: Step right in. The Glourie castle is ancient, has modern conveniences, and a nice little ghost to go with it.
  • Identical Grandson: Donald looks exactly like Murdoch. Both played by the wonderful Robert Donat.
  • Intangibility: In the final scene, this is played for comedic purposes. When Mr. Bigelow is being chased around the castle by Murdoch, Bigelow doesn't realize that Murdoch has the ability to go through doors, appear out of nowhere, and finally get him to submit.
  • Intangible Time Travel: Murdoch ghosts around for 200 years into the future (1935 being the future for him, and the present for the other characters), and isn't fazed by all the modern changes.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Murdoch died wearing his Jacobite outfit, and it's the only thing he's got while haunting the castle.
  • Man in a Kilt: It doesn't hurt the eyes at all to see Robert Donat in a kilt.
  • Mistaken Identity: Peggy thinks Murdoch’s antics are Donald's.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Mr. Martin wears a kilt even though he's not Scottish. Then, when Donald shows them the tradition of having bagpipers play before dinner, Martin does the same thing when he introduces the castle in Florida. Except with jazz musicians. It comes off as Americanized cultural appropriation of In-universe Scottish traditions.
  • Running Gag: A little game Murdoch loves to play, "Spell Me a Riddle". The "forfeit" is a kiss, and the answer to the riddle is never revealed.
    Murdoch: I ask you a riddle, and if you can't answer it by the time I spell Killiecrankie, you must pay a forfeit... Now this is the riddle: what is the difference betwixt the thistle in the heather, and the kiss in the dark?
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Robert Donat to a T.
  • Unfinished Business: The Glourie clan vs. the McLaggen clan.