For Reel

Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost (1942)
June 21, 2016, 12:52 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Leslie Goodwins
2 Stars
Mexican Spitfire Sees a GhostThe sixth entry in the Mexican Spitfire series is notorious for being the film that shared a bill with the butchered version of The Magnificent Ambersons. Orson Welles was to stranger to the series after The Mexican Spitfire’s Baby was the B-picture that preceded Citizen Kane… but in this case, Welles was relegated to the second part of the bill! As an entry in the series, Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost seems like the biggest wasted opportunity of the bunch. Every comedian worth their salt in the 1940s (from Bob Hope to the Bowery Boys) had a dalliance in the horror genre, which proved to provide the context for a neverending series of creative misunderstandings involving trapdoors and floating props. In this installment, however, the horror aspect is put on the shelf until the last reel of the picture, with the hinjinx involving Leon Errol’s Lord Epping tediously taking up the bulk of the picture. Whereas the Maisie series did a good job of staying fresh by placing its character in a variety of genres, the Mexican Spitfire‘s biggest failure is in recycling gags and failing to take advantage of the new settings—something that the lowbrow comedies of the era were particularly good at. The picture is also seriously hurting from the absence of ZaSu Pitts (who absolutely saved the last film in the franchise), and similarly Lupe Velez continues to be completely underutilized, with her best scene involving her purring like a cat on all fours.

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