Ghost Story is a 1981 American horror film based on the book of the same name by Peter Straub. It is directed by John Irvin and it stars Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman and Craig Wasson (in a dual role). It was the last film to feature Astaire, Fairbanks, and Douglas, and the first film to feature Michael O’Neill.
Lawrence D. Cohen Writer
Peter Straub Novel
Douglas Green … co-producer
Ronald G. Smith … associate producer
Burt Weissbourd … producer
Fred Astaire … Ricky Hawthorne
Melvyn Douglas … Dr. John Jaffrey
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. … Edward Charles Wanderley
John Houseman … Sears James
Craig Wasson … Don Wanderley/David Wanderley
Patricia Neal … Stella Hawthorne
Alice Krige … Eva Galli/Alma Mobley
Jacqueline Brookes … Milly
Miguel Fernandes … Gregory Bate
Lance Holcomb … Fenny Bate
Mark Chamberlin … Young Jaffrey
Tim Choate … Young Hawthorne
Kurt Johnson … Young Wanderley
Ken Olin … Young James
Make Up Department
Irving Buchman … makeup artist
Albert Jeyte … makeup artist
Robert Jiras … makeup artist
Philip Leto … hair stylist
Rick Sharp … makeup artist
Dick Smith … special makeup
Special Effects Department
Henry Millar Jr. … special effects
Visual Effects Department
Syd Dutton … matte artist
Dennis Glouner … matte photography
Bill Taylor … matte photography
Albert Whitlock … special visual effects
Henry Schoessler … matte crew
- The last feature film for veteran actors Melvyn Douglas, Fred Astaire, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
- Melvyn Douglas (Dr. John Jaffery) is actually mentioned in the novel on which the movie is based.
- Fred Astaire (Ricky Hawthorne) is actually mentioned in the novel on which the movie is based.
- Young Ricky Hawthorne says, “I can’t dance.” Old Ricky Hawthorne is played by Fred Astaire. This line wasn’t in the novel.
- Searching for someone qualified to score a story dealing with elderly people, the production team was reminded of Le chat (1971), a French film about a bitter old couple spending time arguing. That’s how Philippe Sarde was hired and why some of the main theme of that precise film is repeatedly used in the score of “Ghost Story.”
- Robin Curtis’ film debut.
- The pipe organ used is the same organ that was used by Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
- Interiors were constructed inside the abandoned Union Station, the former New York Central Railroad’s passenger train station on Broadway in Albany, NY and included a two story set. The murder or death scene was filmed on the second floor of that set. Scenes were filmed in sequence and the two story set was significantly aged after the death scene so that it later appeared as the derelict house. After the movie, the old station was refurbished and restored to its former grandeur and served as office space for Fleet Bank and now Bank of America.