Fun from beginning to end with Robert Morley and Felix Aylmer as two ghosts forced to haunt there own house. There’s a conditi0on that will free them but it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to happen any time soon.
The movie opens with a meeting of a ghost society. The president is Colonel H.”Bulldog” Kelsoe (Felix Aylmer). He’s going to tell the assembled hundred ghosts how he and General “Jumbo” Burlap (Robert Morley) became ghosts. It all started in the early seventeen hundreds.
They are afraid an officer is going to lose the war with a incompetent battle plan. They invite him to their house on Berkeley Square for the evening. Then they find out Queen Anne is coming by for afternoon tea. They have to figure out how to make tea and get her to leave before before their guest shows up.
They’ve rigged the floor near the fireplace. They have a chair in front of the fire and set up a trap that will drop the officer into the basement where they can keep him out of the way. They decide to give the trap one more test. This time they both stand on it and drop to the basement. Too bad the mattresses weren’t there. They’re dead.
Now they’re ghosts. A book of regulations and a pile of forms appear for them to sign. Turns out they’re being court martialed for being AWOL. Guilty. They have to haunt the place until there’s another royal visit. They blame each other and don’t speak for sixty-six years. They communicate by writing each other notes.
Finally a tenant moves in. It’s a French Madame with her girls. The place is set up as a bordello complete with gambling. The Madame isn’t afraid of ghosts and warns them not to scare the girls. They keep out of the way and then read the book they got years ago. It tells them how to materialize.
They have fun with the girls and drink a lot of champagne and also manage to break things. The Madame demands they pay their bill. That night a Prince is supposed to visit. If that happens their ghost days are over. Burlap plays cards for the bill. Kelsoe stays invisible and reads everyone’s hands. The Prince’s advance man is accused of telling Burlap the cards. A brawl starts. No royal visit.
The years go by and finally a new tenant. This time it’s the huge cast of a Tex B.Farnum show. They try to scare them all out. It doesn’t work and Farnum signs them to a contract. The place is now advertised as a haunted house and tours are led through complete with lies about the events that supposedly took place there. An authority is convinced the place is really haunted but is afraid to go public because he thinks he’ll be thought of as crazy. No escape for Burlap and Kelsoe.
Now it’s 1900 and another group moves in. This time it looks like they’ll get a visit from Queen Victoria. Nope. Their cleverness tripped them up.
The fun continues to the expected end. A good British comedy without slapstick and some nice special effects.