Saturday, February 07, 2015

Movie review - Francis #7 - "Francis in the Haunted House" (1956) **1/2 (warning: spoilers)

Donald O'Connor finally got sick of playing second fiddle to the mule and was replaced by Mickey Rooney - who actually does a good job, and it would have been nice to see the series continue with him, but this was the last one.

He's helped by the fact this has a decent basis for a story: Francis witnesses a murder and gets old chum Rooney to help him investigate. There is a lot of Cat and the Canary silliness (one of those wills were a person is required to live in a house for X amount of time, a spooky housekeeper) and repetitive action (Rooney being interrogated by cops who refuse to believe the talking mule story, Francis randomly deciding who he is and isn't going to talk to) but it has decent atmosphere, typically strong Universal black and white photography (Charles Lamont directed), a strong support cast and a genuinely good twist at the end.

It's a silly movie, but it's sweet and there's a high spirited climax.

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