Scared Stiff (1953): Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis’ Ninth Film and Carmen Miranda’s Final Feature

Directed by George Marshall, Scared Stiff, a musical horror comedy, was one of the 17 films made by the popular Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis team.  It was also the final film of the Portuguese-Brazilian musical star, Carmen Miranda, who died of heart attack, two years later, in August 1955.

Lizabeth Scott plays Mary Carroll, a young woman who inherits her family’s home on a small island off Cuba.  Despite warnings and death threats, she decides to sail to Havana and get the haunted castle. She is joined by nightclub entertainer Larry Todd (Martin) who, believing he has killed a mobster, flees New York with a friend, Myron (Lewis).

Once on the island, the three enter the eerie castle and, after viewing the ghosts of Mary’s ancestors and fighting off zombies, they find the castle’s treasure

The team’s ninth picture, Scared Stiff is a remake of Paramount’s 1940 comedy, The Ghost Breakers, starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, also directed by George Marshall. Prior to that, there were two silent versions, The Ghost Breaker (1914) directed by DeMille and The Ghost Breaker (1922) starring Wallace Reid.

Bob Hope and Bing Crosby appear in a cameo in Scared Stiff.

Both Lewis and Martin were against making the picture, based on their belief that the original was good. However, producer Hal B. Wallis held the two to their contract for the film.

Jerry Lewis impersonates in the film Carmen Miranda, lip syncing one of her signature numbers, “Mamãe Eu Quero.”