The Ghost Goes West

The Ghost Goes West is a 1935 British romantic comedy/fantasy film starring Robert Donat, Jean Parker, and Eugene Pallette, and directed by René Clair, his first English-language film. The film contrasts an Old World ghost dealing with American vulgarity.

The Ghost Goes West
Directed byRené Clair
Produced byAlexander Korda
Screenplay byRené Clair
Geoffrey Kerr
Robert E. Sherwood
Lajos Biro[1]
Based onSir Tristram Goes West
1932 story
by Eric Keown
StarringRobert Donat
Jean Parker
Eugene Pallette
Music byMischa Spoliansky
CinematographyHarold Rosson
Edited byHenry Cornelius
Harold Earle-Fishbacher
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
17 December 1935 (UK)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

This production combines a Hungarian-born British producer, a French director, and an American writer in a British film. This movie was the biggest grossing movie of its year in Great Britain.


Peggy Martin (Parker), the daughter of a rich American businessman (Eugene Pallette), persuades him to purchase a Scottish castle from Donald Glourie (Robert Donat), dismantle it and move it to Florida. Along with the castle goes its ghost.

Murdoch Glourie (also played by Donat) haunts the castle after dying a coward's death in the 18th century. To find rest, he must get a descendant of the enemy Clan MacClaggan to admit that one Glourie is worth fifty MacClaggans.

Main cast

Critical response

Writing for The Spectator in 1935, Graham Greene praised the film. He wrote of how the "camera sense" of René Clair (whose prior films were primarily satiric in nature) manifested itself in the film's "feeling of mobility, of visual freedom" and highlighted Clair's directorial genius. Greene also praised the acting of Pallette and Donat, describing Pallette's portrayal of an American millionaire as the finest performance of his career, and Donat's acting style as imbued with "invincible naturalness".[2]

The Ghost Goes West was the 13th most popular film at the British box office in 1935–36.[3] The film was voted the best British movie of 1936.[4]

Both the original treatment and the cutting continuity of the finished film were published in Successful Film Writing as Illustrated by 'the Ghost Goes West' by Seton Margrave. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1936.

See also


  1. The Ghost Goes West at Turner Classic Movies
  2. Greene, Graham (27 December 1935). "The Ghost Goes West". The Spectator. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. pp. 40–41. ISBN 0192812866.)
  3. The Film Business in the United States and Britain during the 1930s by John Sedgwick and Michael Pokorny, The Economic History Review New Series, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Feb., 2005), pp.97
  4. "BEST FILM PERFORMANCE LAST YEAR". The Examiner (LATE NEWS EDITION and DAILY ed.). Launceston, Tasmania. 9 July 1937. p. 8. Retrieved 4 March 2013 via National Library of Australia.
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