Don't be deceived by the title. There are no spooks on this sailing vessel. The Ghost Ship is a straight up thriller filled with murder and mystery. I'm definitely a Val Lewton fan and this one delivers the goods. The Ghost Ship has a nicely written screenplay with a few twists and turns. Furthermore, it is filmed impeccably thanks to Mark Robson's direction and Mr. Lewton's skills as a producer. His films always look amazing to me and remind me of Hitchcock in their use of light and shadows. The action sequences are also nicely done and and greatly add to the enjoyment of this film.
The plot is set into motion when third officer Tom Merriam [played nicely by Russel Wade] goes aboard a ship that is captained by Will Stone. Everything seems fine and good until Merriam begins to suspect that something is not quite right with the good captain. [Cue ominous music!] Richard Dix is excellent as the captain. He was one of RKO's leading men from 1929 to 1943 and definitely plays the captain right on the edge between clarity and insanity.
If you need lots of gore and violence to keep you entertained, then this film might seem boring to you. However, if you like a well told, old fashioned thriller, then The Ghost Ship is right up your alley. A "remake" was done in 2002 simply titled Ghost Ship but it bears absolutely no resemblance to the original film. One reviewer called the remake "ghost shit" which pretty much describes how I feel about it as well. Stick with the original on this one!
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.