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  • The Ghost of St. Michael’s
    • The Ghost of St. Michael’s
    • Runtime:82 min
    • Release Date:2017-01-22 19:18:07
    • Director: Marcel Varnel
    • Genres: Comedy
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:The Ghost of St. Michael’s


I'm giving this seven out of ten, back as a kid it would have been a
ten but this time round, well, I suppose you know you're getting old
when you find yourself sympathising with Will Hay's incompetent
teacher, and rather hoping the obnoxious, snotty school kids get a
slap; Charles Hawtrey's smart alec schoolboy in particular seems a
nasty piece of work. Otherwise the absence of Moffatt and Marriott are
keenly felt, because they allowed Hay to be both blustery incompetence
but also sarcastic – here he doesn't get anyone to be sarcastic or
superior to, so it's a relatively one-note performance. In his earlier
roles you never knew if he'd be the fool or the sarcy one at any given
time, it kept you on your toes.

Huntley and Laurie would appear in the war movie The Way Ahead of
course. Personally I'm not sure the plot machinations of St Michael's
stand up. Was it Huntley's ink on the forged suicide note? What gives?
Still, the ending has a few surprises and some genuinely sinister


Will Hay is back as a hapless teacher, this time he is William Lamb,
who is hired to teach on the remote Scottish Isle of Skye. Whilst
there, Lamb is informed that the school is haunted by a legendary ghost
and that with each sighting, and the sound of the eerie bagpipes, comes
death to a member of staff.

This was Will Hay's second film for Ealing Studios and the significant
leap in production quality from his Gainsborough Pictures works is very
noticeable. Once again Marcel Varnel gives his tight and steady
directing to a Hay picture, but the once golden team of Hay, Moffatt
and Marriott had become no more. Feeling that as a trio they had gone
as far as they could, Hay split the scene, leaving Moffatt and Marriott
working at Gainsborough with the likes of Arthur Askey.

So in this first comedy for Ealing, Hay was effectively breaking in new
comedy sidekick in the form of Claude Hulbert {Hulbert would make one
other film with Hay, the darkly humorous My Learned Friend}, while
Charles Hawtrey was making his third appearance of the four films he
made with the erstwhile Hay. Tho the absence of Marriott and Moffatt is
sorely felt, The Ghost Of St. Michael's stands up on its own two feet
as a comedy of note. The writing from John Dighton and Angus MacPhail
is lean and resplendent with comedic moments, whilst Ealing have really
managed to capture that creepy comedy setting with John Croydon's
production team on tip top form. Full of secret rooms and mysterious
goings on, and even offering up a nice who done it finale, it's a film
for all the family to enjoy. 8/10

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