The Ghost of St. Michael's

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The Ghost of St. Michael's
Ghost-of-st-michaels.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Marcel Varnel
Written by John Dighton
Angus MacPhail
Starring Will Hay
Claude Hulbert
Charles Hawtrey
John Laurie
Raymond Huntley
CinematographyDerek Williams
Edited by Edward B. Jarvis
Distributed by Ealing Studios
Release date
  • April 1941 (1941-04)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The Ghost of St. Michael's is a 1941 British comedy-thriller film, produced by Ealing Studios.

Contents

Will Hay, the film's star, replaced his sidekicks, Graham Moffatt and Moore Marriott, from his previous film Where's That Fire? with comedian Claude Hulbert. Hay and Hulbert would act together again in My Learned Friend two years later.

Typical of comedies made during the war, it has an anti-Nazi plot.

Plot

An ineffectual science teacher William Lamb (Will Hay) is hired by a school normally located in middle England (St Michael's) recently transferred because of World War II evacuation policy to the remote Dunbain Castle on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Posing as (amongst many other things) an Old Etonian, Lamb settles down into his new surroundings and becomes acquainted with the various local Scottish traditions and legends that abound and strikes up a friendship with one of the other masters, Hilary Teasdale (Claude Hulbert).

However, shortly after his arrival an ancient curse returns to Dunbain Castle. The sound of bagpipes signals the death of a member of staff. Two die and Lamb is initially regarded as a suspect. With his friend appointed as the new headmaster (and the next potential victim), Lamb must solve the mystery of the mysterious murders with the assistance of mischievous know-all schoolboy Percy Thorne (Charles Hawtrey). A Nazi spy ring proves to be behind the killings, and is defeated by a British agent hidden amongst the staff.

In one of the more memorable scenes Lamb is trapped inside a secret room with the ceiling slowly descending upon him. They hide under an iron table but the legs start to bend.

Mrs Wigmore (who has proved to be the traitor) tries to shoot her way to escape but the bullets bounce off the suit of armour which Tisdaile is wearing.

At the very end of the film Hay can be heard breaking character and calling the character Tisdaile "Claude", the actor's real name. This may have been intentional as Hay had just told the cinema audience that it was "all clear" and that they could all go home. Note that Charles Hawtrey was 26 years old when he portrayed Percy Thorne.

Cast


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