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The Spook Speaks (1940)

Approved | | Short, Comedy | 20 September 1940 (USA)
A magician hires Buster as a housekeeper while he's away.


Jules White


Ewart Adamson (story and screen play), Clyde Bruckman (story and screen play)

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Cast overview:
Buster Keaton ... Buster
Elsie Ames Elsie Ames ... Elsie
Don Beddoe ... Newlywed Husband
Dorothy Appleby ... Newlywed Wife


When a magician, Mordini (Lynton Brent) becomes fearful of his magic secrets being stolen, he hires Buster (Buster Keaton) and Elsie (Elsie Anes) to protect his props. They discover what they assume to be a murder and go into action as amateur detectives, without realizing they are the victims of one of the magician's tricks. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il fantasma parla See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Buster does his best in a typical Columbia "scare" comedy
21 December 2001 | by smacgillivraySee all my reviews

Buster is a hapless temp, hired as caretaker at a magician's house. Of course the heavily gadgeted house plays all sorts of tricks on Buster for fifteen minutes. Buster's partner here is Elsie Ames, whose willingness to do rough, physical

comedy landed her leads in several Columbia shorts. (In this one she gets a

boxing glove in the face six times in a row.) This is a typical Columbia "spook" comedy with the usual quota of unsophisticated, tried-and-true laughs, but this kind of broad, scared-reaction comedy was better left to The Three Stooges.

Keaton goes through the motions and snares some laughs, but "The Spook Speaks" is not one of his shining achievements.

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