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HAUNTED SPOOKS (director: Alfred J. Goulding/Hal Roach; screenwriter: H.M. Walker; cinematographer: Walter Lundin; music: Robert Israel; cast: Harold Lloyd (The Boy), Mildred Davis (The Girl), Wallace Howe (The Uncle), Blue Washington (Butler), Ernest Morrison (Little Boy); Runtime: 21; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal Roach; Kino Video; 1920-silent)
“One of Lloyd’s weaker films.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A Hal Roach silent two-reeler short feature with Harold Lloyd that is one of Lloyd’s weaker films but noted for introducing the first black star in the movies, a child actor named Ernest Morrison signed by Roach to a $10,000 a year contract, and it was where Lloyd while posing for a publicity shot lost two fingers (his right thumb and forefinger) and suffered facial burns when a prop bomb he was holding exploded in his hand. He bravely went on with the film, but in a few subsequent films wore gloves while still doing his own stunts.

It starts off with Mildred Davis learning that her relative, a southern colonel, left her, his grand-daughter, his Mississippi plantation on the condition that she will reside there with her husband for a year after the will is read. The problem is that Mildred is single, but her lawyer promises to get her a husband. The movie then switches to the palatial home of a rich socialite and Lloyd is competing with another suitor for her hand in marriage. The two duke it out before they ask her father’s permission to marry her, and Lloyd gets the better of his rival and gets his blessing. But when Lloyd returns to tell the socialite the good news, she rejects him for still another suitor. After several futile attempts to commit suicide, the despondent Lloyd is rescued from another suicide attempt while lying on the road by Mildred’s lawyer who is driving by and soon is married to Mildred. At the mansion, Mildred’s scheming uncle (Wallace Howe) plans to scare the couple by haunting the house and then claiming the property. But the black servants aid Lloyd and his wife in foiling the uncle.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”