The Ghost of St. Michael’s
The Ghost of St Michael’s – 1941 | 92mins | Comedy | B&W
The Ghost of St Michael’s, which opened in April 1941, was a disappointment to some of Hay’s fans because of the absence of the old back-up team of Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt, but in compensation there was Claude Hulbert, who specialised in silly-ass characterisations. Hay usually played a seedy, fraudulent and incompetent schoolmaster, prison governor, stationmaster, solicitor, and so on, and in this film he reappeared in his most familiar role as a pedagogue, called out of retirement because of the war to join the staff of a school that has been evacuated to a remote Scottish castle.
Whoever should hear the ghostly bagpipes play at the castle is deemed to die according to an old legend, sure enough their mournful call is heard and the headmaster is found dead. They cry again and another member of the school staff dies. It is in when the pipes are blown a third time that Hay and Hulbert solve the mystery: it is not a phantom killing the staff members, but a German sympathiser played by the formidable matron (Elliot Mason), and John Laurie as a dour caretaker given to telling the fearsome story of the castle’s ancient curse.
ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing
Marcel Varnel: Director
Wilfred Shingleton: Art Direction
Basil Dearden: Associate Producer
Derek Williams: Cinematography
Edward B Jarvis: Editing
Michael Balcon: Producer
Angus MacPhail: Script
John Dighton: Script