High Spirits (1988)

 


 

He's an American. She's a ghost. Vacation romances are always a hassle. See »

When Peter Plunkett\’s Irish castle turned hotel is about to be repossesed, he decides to spice up the attraction a bit for the \’Yanks\’ by having his staff pretend to haunt the castle. The trouble begins when a busload of American tourists arrive – along with some real ghosts. Among the tourists are married couple Jack and Sharon. Sharon\’s father holds the mortgage on Castle Plunkett, so she\’s hoping to debunk the ghosts. Jack, on the other hand, after meeting pretty ghost Mary, is very eager to believe. Can there be love between a human and ghost? Jack and Mary are going to try and find out.

Written by
April M. Cheek <[email protected]>

Genre: Comedy,Fantasy,Horror,Romance

High Spirits (1988)
   
Release Date: 18 November 1988 (USA)
Country: UK , USA
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast:
  • Peter O'Toole
  • Donal McCann
  • Mary Coughlan
  • Liz Smith
  • Tom Hickey
  • Tony Rohr
  • Hilary Reynolds
  • Isolde Cazelet
  • Little John
  • Steve Guttenberg
  • Beverly D'Angelo
  • Jennifer Tilly
  • Peter Gallagher
  • Martin Ferrero
  • Connie Booth


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34 Responses to High Spirits (1988)

  1. unkiedev
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    There is implied ancestral incest here, right?

    D’Angelo’s Character is Sharon Brogan, Liam Neeson’s character is Martin Brogan. Sure, it could just be a coincidence, but this movie isn’t about subtext.

    Any one else have a thought on this?

  2. scottiedog10
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    I bought this film on video the year it came out and is one of very few films i can watch over and over again. It has great performances from actors early in their career and peter o’toole is fantastic. If you havn’t seen this then please do so and don’t be put off by a certain Mr Guttenberg….he’s not that bad

    Now,come on,get your clothes on,+we’ll stroll up to my car+get..Oh,Im sorry.Ill stroll.You fly

  3. thedaddyggh
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    I’ve watched this movie for years and it’s a great halloween/christmas movie, in fact it’s s staple within ours! This was the movie that made me believe that Liam Neeson was going to be a household name!

    Satan is in deep S h1t!

  4. Psyche-8
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    It’s being released in 2011 according to imdbpro.

    I’m in two minds about this. While I love the original and the majority of the casting (particularly Peter O’Toole and Liam Neeson), the film is not without its faults. I also really like the plot thus I am quite interested to see what a remake would be like with better effects and with better performances from some of the weaker characters.

    At the same time, the original film definitely had a certain charm which I am concerned that a remake will simply not be able to recapture so I’m trepidacious at the same time.

    In conclusion, I’d like to see the remake but I think my best approach would be to view it as a separate film rather than a reimagining of the original.

    "He murders his wife every night. Other than that, I think he’s pretty harmless."

  5. KittenCaboodle
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    The first time I saw this movie I thought Darryls charactor ("Mary Plunkett") was gonna turn gonna turn out to be "Martin Brogan" (Liam) in disguise.

    Darryls not that ugly, so WHY did they make her so hard in the face ????

    "Get In Touch With Your Inner Bitch!"

  6. inotwitter
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    I LOVED this movie when I was little. But I’ve never understood two things. What does it mean to ‘Squish’ (Mary says that’s what her husband did… it sounds disgusting) and what is ‘whiting’? I’ve also wondered about these two.

    • me
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      Squishing is to fart and whiting is a kind of fish, like trout or salmon

  7. craig_keers-1
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    What do you think?I think so!Shes dam hot in this movie!!

    Craig K

  8. ootzie555
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    I found him to be very sexy in this movie and hilarious! When he was in the shower towering over sharon my eyes were glued to his bod! Anyone agree?

  9. ootzie555
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    In the scene where the bed that Miranda and Brother Tony are on, when it is falling, clearly the people on them are dolls. It is so funny. Also, in the scene where Martin shows up in Sharon’s bath tub…there is clearly a device under the tub on the left side where he pops up through.

  10. Naturezrevenge
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    Was this scene in this film?

    I’m trying to track down where I saw it when I was a kid.

    I remember the hallway was brightly lit and 2 super tall nuns in old fashioned cowls float by from right to left and they have small heads, faces obscured by darkness and glowing eyes.

    Did this happen in High Spirits?

    myspace.com/lexfulgore2

  11. cmrenner
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    Mary and Martin:

    Well Mary you put on a bit O flesh since i last saw you…..

    Im not getting stabbed every night now am I…

    Oh come now Mary…It hurt me more then it hurt you….

    Oh off with you now..

    Jack and Sharon:

    How’s the corpse?

    Not bad, how’s the phyco….

    Pussycat….

    Mary and Martin:

    Hows the Yank?

    He takes me shoppin!

    Martin: Come here you!

    Sharon: MY LOVE….MY REASON FOR DIEING!

    Jack: How did she learn to dance like that?

    Marry: Happiness Sir Jack….

    Jack: Yeah happiness.

    Martin: That was a dirty trick wasn’t it, kicking me right in the bahogges…

    Sharon: Well you where going to stab your wife with a knife you pig.

    Martin: Oh thats no big thing i do it every night..

    Sharon:And i suppose watching other men’s wives in the shower is no big deal either…

    MArtin: I’m sure its a grand thing if the wife happens to be you. (leans in for a kiss…)

    Sharon: You dirty peeping tom..

    Martin: My names not thomas…its martin…here give us a wee skelp before i vanish again…(sharon goes to kick him) NO NO NO NOT AGAIN! geez your a way wee vixon aren’t you…

    Sharon: I SAID THIS PLACE IS A NIGHTMARE DADDY…BU…well of course i sounD strange…im deppressed…everybody hates me and last night jack slept on the floor and when he woke up he thought he was dead and he thoughT i was a dwarf that i had buck teeth and you KNOW HOW SUBCONCEOUS I AM ABOUT THOSE THINGS THIS IS ALL UR FAULT I HATE YOU!!!

    pardon any small screw ups i might have made i am going off the top of my head trying to remember these….

  12. Mistelten
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    I think I saw this on HBO when I was 8. Is it the one that has a schoolbus come out of the lake at the end? Is there a scene where this guy’s crotch gets on fire and then he gets pushed out of a window by little jawa looking ghosts? If not, does anyone know what I’m talking about?

  13. wellsandwilson
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    Could anyone tell me the name of the tune played in background throughout this Movie???

    Reply:

    [email protected]

  14. Kayla992
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    How is this movie for anyone who has seen it? I really enjoy ghost movies whether it is horror or comedy. So, can anyone tell me if this movie is really good because I saw a few scenes of it when my father was watching it when I was like 7 or 8. Can anyone really tell me of their opinions of this movie?? All opinions respected and am grateful for it! (=

  15. Jessie_Enchanted
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    I think that they should remake this movie or make a GOOD sequal. I have just always really liked this film

  16. Psyche-8
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    …He’s lying in Sharon’s bed and half of him (the top half) vanishes. She looks under the sheet and gasps and he says "Oh lady, I’ve got the best bahoogies (I think) from here to…" what does he say then? It sounds like ‘Balenderry’. Is that a place? What word does he say and what does it mean?

    "He murders his wife every night. Other than that, I think he’s pretty harmless."

  17. sendraak
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    For those interested in seeing what the original “High Spirits” might have been, the one movie director Neil Jordan steadfastly claims was altered “by the studio,” there is Jordan’s original screenplay. It is published by Faber and Faber, 3 Queen Square, London, WCIN 3AU, and with a copyright date of 1988. I purchased my copy back in 1990 here in America at the Drama Book Shop, 723 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY.

    In the Introduction to the screenplay Jordan provides the background inspiration for writing the story, as well as a poem he penned to demonstrate his frustration in dealing with Hollywood and its film executives. (From a separate source, the “1988 Motion Picture Guide Annual,” which includes almost an entire page with the analysis and review of “High Spirits,” there is a sizeable paragraph providing evidence to support Jordan’s claim. Some examples provided in that analysis are, (1) “In the closing credits… Lynzee Klingman is listed as an ‘editorial consultant’– the sort of credit that often appears on films with a troubled production history and often is an indication that the studio chiefs sent some of their own people in to tinker with the film after the director delivered his final cut”; and (2) “Another clue potentially supporting the missing footage theory is that scenes mentioned in on-the-set interviews with Jordan and others do not appear in the final cut…”)

    The biggest change seems to be the opening scene where in the film the camera pans through exterior locations, such as the slime-covered swimming pool, whereas in the screenplay the camera is to pan only the interior of the castle. The opening voice-over “…pecker-head,” etc. has been added to the telephone monologue, which begins at the “postal strike,” etc. in the screenplay. There is also additional scenes and dialogue of all the American guests en route on the plane to Ireland, which provides more background for each of them. For the most part (at least 95-percent), however, what you see on screen is what is in the screenplay. Unless Neil Jordon deviated considerably from his scipt, which seems doubtful in light of his Introduction to the published edition of his screenplay, we, the viewer, pretty much get the entire film as he intended. My impression is that Jordan, like most directors, didn’t want the movie executives to tinker with his film at all.

    Notwithstanding the films flaws (which can be easily overlooked), I still have a high regard for Jordan (as a writer and director), and feel “High Spirits,” in its own way, is a 1980s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”– set instead in Ireland in October! Further, Ray McAnally’s Plunkett Senior plays exactly as Prospero in “The Tempest,” another Shakespearean story set “in the heart of an incomparably beautiful [island] countryside…” For these (and other) reasons, "High Spirits" is still one of my favorite films.

  18. porhq-3
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    Years ago when this was running on HBO (or some other movie channel) they did a behind the scenes sort of thing about this film that ran between movies. It had the cast memebers being interviewed, one on one, and they were all asked about the producer. Every one of them would suddenly become nervous and all of them said the exact same thing.. I don’t recall what it was but it was obviously supposed to be some made up line so they wouldnt get in trouble. One of the women actually started "crying" as she said it. It was obviously a joke but i was wondering if anyone (besides me) remembers this? If any of you do and know where I can see this again could you let me know? I checked youtube in hopes it would be there but I couldnt find it.

  19. powderblue
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    Neil Jordan the director states that his vision and version of this film has never been seen, and he was locked out of the editing suite during post-production of the film.

    Id love to see his version so to compare. Apparently his was more comedy and the producers wanted to make it scary??

    And will this film ever get a U.K DVD release in any version????? PLEASE!!!!

    " I know what it does fur-face..now activate the transport beam!" Skeletor

  20. lsmith335
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    Which ghost/haunting sequence did you like best in the movie? It has to have been by the real ghosts, whether it be the evil nuns, the stage coming to life, Martin in the school bus, etc, not Kate falling on top of the bus at the beginning or anything like that. :)

  21. Raekami
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    I recently bought High Spirits on DVD. It’s one of my all time favorite movies and there’s only so long you can keep a video tape on auto rewind and repeat before bad things start to happen, so I was psyched when I finally worked it into my budget to get the DVD.

    Now, to my question, and this question applies to all those who either own the DVD or have seen it:

    Has anyone else noticed that the music is LOUD? The background music in every scene is almost as loud as the people talking. I don’t remember the video EVER being like that. I noticed it the second Plunkett started talking in the opening scene. (you notice these things when you have the entire opening scene MEMORIZED)

    My mother said it is probably because the DVD is re-mastered. I don’t think she’s wrong, I just want to make sure it’s not my television.

  22. chasethegreenfairy
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    According to IMDb, Neil Jordan claims that he had no say in the final editing and that his original version is still "in the vault." I know the movie was a commerical flop–even though I loved it as a kid and must have watched it hundreds of times!–but do you think Jordan’s intended version will ever be pieced back together and released?

  23. Anonymous
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  24. creepshow
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    I checked out the High Spirits soundtrack at Amazon, but the CD didn’t list the song Katie sang in the pub scene. I looked up the song (Oft In the Stilly Night), and Sarah Brightman, of Broadway fame, wrote a popular rendition of it, of which sounds terrible. The version in the film is much better –very haunting and beautiful.

    Here are the lyrics:

    Oft in the stilly night

    Ere slumber´s chains have bound me,

    Fond memory brings the light

    Of other days around me.

    The smiles, the tears of boyhood years

    The words of love then spoken,

    The eyes that shone, now dimmed and gone,

    The cheerful hearts now broken.

    Thus in the stilly night

    Ere slumber´s chain has bound me

    Fond memory brings the light

    Of other days around me.

    When I remember all

    The friends so linked together,

    I´ve seen around me fall,

    Like leaves in wintery weather

    I feel like one who treads alone

    Some banquet hall deserted

    Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead

    And all but he departed.

  25. Anonymous
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  26. Anonymous
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  27. lauraquinn05
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    can anyone tell me if they have High Spirits on a Region 2 dvd and if so can you tell me were you bought it? been looking 4 ages and can only get it 4 a Region 1 dvd player

  28. Psyche-8
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    Am I right in thinking that the Plunketts and Brogans have been at war with one another since Martin and Mary? Because this is what I perceive to be the history of Castle Plunkett, and that it was Martin’s suicide that triggered the enduring struggle between the Brogans and the Plunketts. The fact that Peter Plunkett is in debt with Sharon’s father is further evidence of this.

    As far as I see it, Mary’s father was in debt to either Martin or Martin’s father, and arranged Mary’s marriage to Martin in order to pay off the debt (since this way Martin would inherit the castle on Mary’s father’s death). But when both died, this started a feud between the two families. The Brogans would argue that the castle belongs in their family through Martin’s marriage, whilst the Plunketts would argue back that when Martin killed Mary he forfeited any claim the Brogans had to Castle Plunkett. And from this point I get confused – how did Peter Plunkett come to inherit the castle? And how is it possible that Sharon’s father also lived there (Sharon says to Jack something like "Daddy loves this place, he was born here, he hates the Plunketts)? This would imply that the castle has been passed back and forth between the Plunketts and the Brogans, right? Can anyone enlighten me?

    "He murders his wife every night. Other than that, I think he’s pretty harmless."

  29. lm_ilovemusicals
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    Hey

    This movie is actullay pretty good, its just a kind of fun movie!

    I hired it coz Daryl Hannah was in it and got a nice surprise with Jennifer Tilly in it too!

    I enjoyed it!

    SWEET FANCY MOSES…It’s like a full body dry heave set to music!

  30. sneakyclevermongols
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    There is a sub-category of bad movie, that is a total joy to watch.

    IT knows it’s a bad movie. It makes damn sure YOU know it’s a bad movie. It has utterly no pretentions that every successive frame is going to do anything but get steadily sillier and ludicrously worse.

    And it makes sure you love it. "High Spirits" invites you to frolick in its awfulness, with a whoop of unabashed delight. It’s a celebration of what great fun it is, to be a dumb Irish ghost movie. (Whee!)

    An early exchange:

    MRS. PLUNKETT: "…your father is furious!"

    PETER: "Mother, father has been dead for twenty years."

    (Pause.)

    MRS. PLUNKETT: (not backing up an inch)"Well, he’s still UPSET…"

    IMHO, this bit is topped only by the arrival of Mr. Plunkett’s ghost (who still apparantly pays conjugal visits to his widow) and the thunderous rant of Shakespearean melodrama, where Peter O’Toole dresses down "the old goat" for "dying on me, ***JUST LIKE THAT***!!!" ROFL!

    Liam Neeson has never looked hotter. ;) I wish he did comedies more often.

    Darryl Hannah, whose acting I normally despise, was actually funny.

    Steven Gutenberg was tolerable. That’s good, for him.

    (Most memorable quote: "Don’t you just…love…whiting.")

    Rent it out this St. Patrick’s Day!

  31. icri
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    4.9 is a shame. This is a totally decent comedy. Deserves at least a 6.5.

  32. shadydarkchild
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    Hi!

    I’m trying to figure out if this is the movie I’m trying to find…I saw this movie umpteen years ago, and don’t even remember who acted in it.

    At the end credits, was the song "Istanbul not Constantinople" playing?

  33. Anonymous
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