The Ghost Breaker (1914 film)

Last updated

The Ghost Breaker
Promotional art from the front cover of Motion Picture News (December 19, 1914)
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Oscar C. Apfel
Written byCecil B. DeMille
Oscar C. Apfel
Paul Dickey
Charles W. Goddard
James Montgomery
Based onThe Ghost Breaker
by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard
Produced byCecil B. DeMille
Jesse L. Lasky
Starring H. B. Warner
Distributed by Famous Players–Lasky
Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • December 7, 1914 (1914-12-07)
Running time
63 minutes
CountryUnited States
English intertitles
A news clipping from the Modesto Morning Herald containing a review of the Ghost Breaker (April 18, 1915) Modesto Morning Herald.jpg
A news clipping from the Modesto Morning Herald containing a review of the Ghost Breaker (April 18, 1915)
Scene from the film The Ghost Breaker 1914 scene - newspaper.jpg
Scene from the film

The Ghost Breaker is a 1914 American silent drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar C. Apfel and based on the 1909 Broadway play of the same name by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard. The film was distributed by Paramount Pictures under the Famous Players–Lasky banner. [2]


The Ghost Breaker was possibly the first film in a long line of haunted-house horror films with the same story.[ citation needed ] A 1922 remake of the same name starred Wallace Reid and Lila Lee. The original film was also remade as The Ghost Breakers (1940) with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, and as Scared Stiff (1953) with Martin and Lewis. [3] The film is now considered lost. [4] [5]


Somewhere in Spain, Princess Maria Theresa is examining her jewels one day when she accidentally drops a casket causing a secret compartment to open. Within this compartment, she finds an old piece of paper that describes a locket containing a map of a mysterious location. The Princess assumes that it is the way to the Aragon family’s lost treasure. She attempts to locate the locket but concludes that it has been stolen. Her maid, Carmencita stole the locket and sold it to an American art dealer named Gains.

Carmencita gets stabbed by Juanita, a jealous rival in love. With her dying breath, Carmencita informs the Princess and Prince what she did with the locket and the search begins. Duke D’Alva eavesdrops on the exchange and decides he wants to find the locket first.

In a town to the south, there is an old feud between two rival families, Jarvis’ family, and  Markam’s family. This tension eventually leads to Markam killing Warren Javis's father, Judge Jarvis. This causes Warren to follow Markam to New York.

While in New York Markam spots Gains, the art dealer, and purchases the locket from him. The Princess finds Gains and tries to buy the locket back, but it had already been sold. The Duke does the same, so they both set off in search of Markam. The Princess finds Markam first however because she is staying in the same hotel and manages to get the locket from him. Afterward, Jarvis finds and kills Markam as revenge for killing his father. During Jarvis’s escape, he bursts into the Princesses room and explains his predicament. She understands and hides Jarvis away in her luggage and he is snuck on board with her as she leaves for Spain. Detectives board the ship in search of Jarvis but cannot find him. Jarvis decides he will help the Princess find the treasure.

Before she left for New York, Princess Maria Theresa’s brother and father investigate the castle because that is where they believe the treasure is hidden. The castle is full of fake supernatural spectators conjured by the Duke to scare the royals away from the treasure. The Duke manages to kill the Princess’s father and kidnap her brother with his forces.

A news clipping from the Danville Morning News containing a promotion for the Ghost Breaker (January 29, 1917) The Danville Morning News.jpg
A news clipping from the Danville Morning News containing a promotion for the Ghost Breaker (January 29, 1917)

Jarvis and his servant, Rusty, make it to Spain and quickly make their way to the castle. In the meantime, the Princess is staying at an Inn not too far from the castle. The Duke is able to steal the locket from the Princess’s luggage without her knowledge during this time. The Duke then sends his henchman to stop Jarvis before he can get to the castle. He fails to kill Jarvis and instead gets shot in the process. They continue to the castle and encounter a fake ghost inside. It’s another one of the Duke’s henchmen dressed in a suit of armor. He also meets his end falling through a trapdoor, failing to stop Jarvis and Rusty.

During this, the Prince escapes captivity and takes Jarvis’s horse waiting outside the Castle. He quickly informs the police of what’s happening and they rush to the castle. As the police try to apprehend the Duke he jumps down a trap trying to escape and dies. The gang finds the treasure during this encounter.

Finally, Jarvis and the Princess confess their mutual feelings towards each other and come together. [4]



The film was released in Wellington, New Zealand, on December 19, 1915, where it followed a week-long run of Fanchon the Cricket . [7]


After the release of The Ghost Breaker, the film was met with mostly positive reviews, with audiences finding movie witty and thrilling. Many critics praised H.B. Warner's portrayal of the character Warren Jarvis, so much so that his named was often used in promotions for the film. [4]

Related Research Articles

<i>Moonfleet</i> (novel) 1898 novel by J. Meade Falkner

Moonfleet is an 1898 novel written by English writer J. Meade Falkner. The plot is an adventure tale of smuggling, treasure, and shipwreck set in 18th-century England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg</span> Wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg was the wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Their assassination in Sarajevo sparked a series of events that led, four weeks later, to World War I.

<i>Thirteen Ghosts</i> 2001 film by Steve Beck

Thirteen Ghosts is a 2001 supernatural horror film directed by Steve Beck in his directorial debut. A remake of the 1960 film 13 Ghosts by William Castle, the film stars Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, and F. Murray Abraham.

<i>Scared Stiff</i> (1953 film) 1953 film by George Marshall

Scared Stiff is a 1953 American supernatural fiction-themed comedy horror semi-musical film, directed by George Marshall and starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. One of the 17 films made by the Martin and Lewis team, it was released on April 27, 1953 by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth screen adaptation of the 1909 play The Ghost Breaker by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard, previously filmed under that title in 1914 and 1922 and as The Ghost Breakers in 1940.

<i>Inuyasha the Movie: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass</i> 2002 film by Toshiya Shinohara

Inuyasha the Movie: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass is a 2002 Japanese animated fantasy adventure film based on Inuyasha manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. The film is directed by Toshiya Shinohara, written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, and produced by Sunrise. It was released in Japan on December 21, 2002.

<i>A Little Princess</i> (1995 film) Film by Alfonso Cuarón

A Little Princess is a 1995 American fantasy drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Loosely based upon the 1905 novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the film stars Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham, Liesel Matthews, Vanessa Lee Chester, Rusty Schwimmer, Arthur Malet, and Errol Sitahal. Its plot, heavily influenced by the 1939 cinematic version, focuses on a young girl who is relegated to a life of servitude at New York City boarding school after receiving news that her father was killed in combat.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, Queen of Bavaria</span> Queen of Bavaria from 1913 to 1918

Maria Theresa Henriette Dorothea of Austria-Este was the last Queen of Bavaria. She was the only child of Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor of Austria-Este and Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria.

<i>The Ghost Breakers</i> 1940 comedy film directed by George Marshall

The Ghost Breakers is a 1940 American mystery/horror comedy film directed by George Marshall and starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. It was adapted by screenwriter Walter DeLeon as the third film version of the 1909 play The Ghost Breaker by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Daisy, Princess of Pless</span> Princess of Pless

Daisy, Princess of Pless was a noted society beauty in the Edwardian period. During her marriage, she was a member of one of the wealthiest European noble families. Daisy and her husband Prince Hans Heinrich XV were the owners of large estates and coal mines in Silesia which brought an enormous fortune to the Hochbergs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria Theresa of Austria, Queen of the Two Sicilies</span> Queen of the Two Sicilies from 1837 to 1859

Maria Theresa of Austria was the second wife of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, making her Queen of the Two Sicilies. She was the eldest daughter of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg.

<i>The Man in the Iron Mask</i> (1939 film) 1939 film directed by James Whale

The Man in the Iron Mask is a 1939 American historical adventure film very loosely adapted from the last section of the 1847–1850 novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père, which is itself based on the French legend of the Man in the Iron Mask.

<i>Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead</i> 2008 film directed by Louis Morneau

Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead is a 2008 American horror film and the sequel to Joy Ride (2001). The film was directed by Louis Morneau and stars Nicki Aycox, Nick Zano, Kyle Schmid, Laura Jordan and Mark Gibbon. The film was released direct-to-video on October 7, 2008. It was followed by a sequel, Joy Ride 3: Roadkill (2014).

<i>Jay Vejay</i> 1977 Indian film

Jay Vejay is a 1977 Indian Hindi-language action film, produced and directed by L. V. Prasad under the Prasad Productions Pvt. Ltd. banner. It stars Jeetendra, Reena Roy, Bindiya Goswami and Prem Krishan, with music composed by Rajesh Roshan. The film is a remake of Telugu film Chikkadu Dorakadu (1967).

<i>Koenigsmark</i> (1935 film) 1935 film

Koenigsmark is a 1935 British-French drama film directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring Elissa Landi, John Lodge and Pierre Fresnay.

<i>The Ghost Breaker</i> (1922 film) 1922 film by Alfred Edward Green

The Ghost Breaker is a 1922 American silent horror comedy film about haunted houses and ghosts. It was produced by Famous Players–Lasky and distributed through Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Alfred E. Green and starred Wallace Reid in one of his last screen roles. The story, based on the 1909 play The Ghost Breaker by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard, had been released on film in 1914, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel.

<i>Black Moon</i> (1934 film) 1934 film by Roy William Neill

Black Moon is a 1934 American pre-Code horror film directed by Roy William Neill and starring Jack Holt, Fay Wray, and Dorothy Burgess. It is based on a short story by Clements Ripley that first appeared in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan. The film centers on a young woman who returns to the tropical island where her parents were murdered during a voodoo ritual with her daughter and nanny, only to become corrupted by the native's dark rituals.

<i>Evil Head</i> 2012 American film

Evil Head is a 2012 American pornographic horror comedy film written and directed by Doug Sakmann, and co-written by Joanna Angel. It is based on the 1981 horror film The Evil Dead by Sam Raimi.

<i>Horror Island</i> 1941 film by George Waggner

Horror Island is a 1941 American mystery and horror film directed by George Waggner. It was based on the short story "Terror of the South Seas" by Alex Gottlieb. It stars Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Leo Carrillo, Eddie Parker, Dale Van Sickle, John Eldredge, Lewis Howard, Hobart Cavanaugh, Iris Adrian and Fuzzy Knight. Foy Van Dolsen plays the monstrous villain "Panama Pete", alias "The Phantom". The plot has assorted colorful characters going to a mysterious island to seek a pirate's hidden fortune.

<i>Ghost</i> (2019 film) 2019 film by Vikram Bhatt

Ghost is a 2019 Indian horror thriller film written and directed by Vikram Bhatt and produced by Vashu Bhagnani Production. The film bankrolled by Loneranger Productions, features Sanaya Irani and Shivam Bhaargava in the lead roles. The story of the film follows Karan Khanna, a politician of Indian origin in the United Kingdom, who is accused of killing his wife. He tells his lawyer that a spirit committed the murder and should be tried. Principal photography commenced in November 2018 in London. It was released on 18 October 2019.

<i>The Canterville Ghost</i> (2023 film) 2023 British animated film

The Canterville Ghost is a 2023 British animated comedy film directed by Kim Burdon and Robert Chandler. It is based on the short story of the same name by Oscar Wilde. The film stars the voices of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Freddie Highmore, Emily Carey, Imelda Staunton, Toby Jones, Miranda Hart, David Harewood, and Meera Syal.


  1. "OPERA HOUSE". The Danville Morning News. April 18, 1915.
  2. The Ghost Breaker at
  3. Kabatchnik, Amnon (2011). Blood On the Stage, 1950-1975: Milestone Plays of Crime, Mystery and Detection . Scarecrow Press. p.  306. ISBN   978-0-810-87784-9.
  4. 1 2 3 Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929. McFarland. p. 219. ISBN   978-0-786-48790-5.
  5. Hallenbeck, Bruce G. (2009). Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914-2008 . McFarland & Company. p. 5. ISBN   9780786453788.
  6. "THEATER NEWS IN MODESTO". Modesto Morning Herald. January 29, 1917.
  7. Amusements. Wairarapa Daily Times. Volume LXX. Issue 14474. January 7, 1916. p 3. Retrieved June 13, 2016