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Blackbeard's Ghost
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This came out in 1968, but I must have first seen it sometime in the 80s, most likely on The Wonderful World of Disney. I don't remember anything about it from back then, but I got it on DVD in 2014, and watched it a few days after Halloween.

So... this guy named Steve Walker (Dean Jones) moves to a town called Godolphin, where he becomes the new coach of the local college's track team. A room for him had been arranged at an inn that was maintained by a bunch of old ladies who are supposedly descendants of the crew of Blackbeard the pirate. Recently, the local crime boss, Silky Seymour, has bought the inn's mortgage from the bank, because the island on which it's located is not technically within any jurisdiction, so he'd be free to tear down the inn and build a casino. The old ladies have a short time to come up with a payment that is far beyond their means. They're receiving some help from a psychology professor named Jo Anne Baker (Suzanne Pleshette), who works at the same college as Steve. Part of their efforts to raise money include an auction of antiques that once belonged to Blackbeard and his crew. But Seymour's goons are intimidating people to not bid on any items. Partly because Steve doesn't like what they're doing, and partly because he does like Jo Anne, he bids very highly on an item that once beyond to Blackbeard's tenth wife, a witch who had put a curse on Blackbeard after he turned her in for witchcraft. After he died, he was doomed to spend eternity in limbo, unless some good could be found in him.

Steve accidentally breaks the item he'd bought, and in it he discovers the witch's spell book, and he reads an incantation that allows him to see and hear Blackbeard's ghost (Peter Ustinov). At first he doesn't want to believe the ghost is real, but he has no choice. And Blackbeard is a terrible nuisance, so finally Steve decides that the way the pirate can prove there's some good in him would be to help the old ladies pay off the mortgage. And the way Blackbeard does this is to steal the auction proceeds from Jo Anne, and place a bet at Seymour's secret gambling establishment in the back of his restaurant. The bet is for the Godolphin track team to win an upcoming event, which seems terribly unlikely, because the team is... well, terrible. But Blackbeard plans to help them win, which Steve is against, because he doesn't condone cheating. Ultimately, however, he comes around, because he can't bear the thought that the old ladies will get thrown out on the street. But even after the team wins, Seymour refuses to pay what he owes, so Blackbeard, Steve, and Jo Anne go down to his place to get their money. Time is of the essence, since they only have until midnight to pay off the mortgage.

Anyway, there were some things I didn't really like... for example, the kissing booth scene, because I've always found such things revolting. And I agree with Steve's anti-cheating stance, even if the cheating was for a good cause. (I also find it easier to let it slide because of Seymour's subsequent cheating.) And also I've always found it painful to have to watch people get blamed for stuff they didn't do, as Steve is because of some of Blackbeard's actions (since no one else can see or hear the ghost). In some cases I can't blame people for thinking Steve was responsible, but in at least one scene, there's stuff he very obviously couldn't have done. But whatever, it's all in the name of comedy. And there was a lot in this movie that I did find quite funny. Um... and I kind of didn't like the fact that Jo Anne liked (or loved) Steve even when she had every reason to believe he was insane (and a thief). But I suppose if I'm willing to suspend disbelief in ghosts, I might as well suspend disbelief in irrational thinking. Or whatever. Anyway, it was generally a fun movie. And whatever its flaws, I have to cut it some slack for having been made in the 60s. Oh, and I also got a bit of a kick out of the fact that the director's name was Robert Stevenson, because... you know, pirates.


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