Watching 1939: Beware Spooks (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult.

beware spooks31939 film:
Beware Spooks (1939)

Release date:
Oct. 24, 1939

Cast:
Joe E. Brown, Mary Carlisle, Clarence Kolb, Marc Lawrence, Don Beddoe, George J. Lewis, Robert Sterling (uncredited), Tommy Bupp (uncredited)

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Edward Sedgwick

Plot:
Policeman Roy Gifford (Brown) is newly married to Betty Lou (Carlisle). He is fired and rehired by Commissioner Lewis (Kolb), who thinks Roy isn’t very bright, but also fondly remembers Roy’s deceased father. With gangster Slick Eastman (Lawrence) on the loose, Roy has to postpone his honeymoon with Betty Lou to help crack the case.

1939 Notes:
• Actor Robert Sterling started acting in 1939.
• By the numbers:
– Joe E. Brown was in two films released in 1939.
– Mary Carlisle was in six films released in 1939.
– Clarence Kolb was in nine films released in 1939.
– Marc Lawrence was in 14 films released in 1939.
– Robert Sterling was in 19 feature films released in 1939.
– Tommy Bupp was in 17 feature films released in 1939.
– Don Beddoe was in 22 feature films released in 1939.
– George J. Lewis was in five feature films released in 1939.
– Byron Foulger was in 24 feature films released in 1939.

beware spooks2

Other trivia:
• Based on the unpublished story “Spook House” by Richard Flournoy.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
“Beware Spooks!” (1939) is a 65 minute comedy that has some genuine laughs, but feels a bit longer than it’s actual run time.
Joe E. Brown plays policeman who isn’t very good at his job. On his wedding day he is fired and rehired three times, causing him to miss his honeymoon. He eventually proves himself by catching the gangster, Slick Eastman, that has been making a fool of the police force.
There were some very funny moments, particularly at the beginning when Clarence Kolb got stuck in a revolving door. There are also an unexpected amount of honeymoon jokes. Like when Mary Carlisle says “Here I am planning the living room and I haven’t the slightest idea of what to do in the bedroom.” Or when the wedding couple’s room ends up in a mess after Joe E. Brown has issues with the window shade, the bellhop (played by Robert Sterling) says “They seemed like such a quiet couple.”
Of note, this was an early, uncredited role for Robert Sterling who started his film career in 1939.
Of course the highlight of the film, is the carnival haunted house ending.
Overall, the film is fun, though it does feel a bit longer than it maybe should.
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