A glorious Bo Derek romantic comedy from her prime co-starring Anthony Quinn

With a name like Ghosts Can’t Do It, no one goes in expecting Oscar caliber fare. Ghosts Can’t Do It may not be an Academy Award winner but it is a spectacular slice of Bo Derek fan service. First rising to fame in Dudley Moore’s 10, the stunningly beautiful starlet became known more for her looks than her erratic filmography.

Fans of the sex symbol shouldn’t miss this bizarre, oddly compelling comedic tale about a young wife and her elderly husband’s ghost. Anthony Quinn co-stars as the ghost in one of his latter roles. It’s not his proudest moment on screen but he plays the jealous ghost husband with a certain wink to the audience.

Written and directed by her husband John Derek, it sees Bo Derek traveling across the world in a variety of revealing swimsuits as her character tries to find a suitable replacement host for her dead husband’s ghost. Businessman and current presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a surprising cameo in this 1989 comedy.

Let’s get one thing clear: this goofy “romantic” comedy is not a great movie. The plot is nearly ridiculous, a ghost story plucked from some bizarro version of the Twilight Zone. Scott (Anthony Quinn) and Kate (Bo Derek) deeply love each other, despite Scott being an elderly man several decades older than Kate. In that regard it is a thinly veiled story based on John and Bo Derek’s own marriage. John Derek met Bo when she was 16; he was three decades older than her. The elderly Scott passes away and becomes a ghost, meeting an angel played by Julie Newmar. Scott and Kate are so deeply in love with each other that they continue talking with each other after he becomes a ghost.

… a cheesy Eighties romp with one of that decade’s biggest sex symbols.

Scott hits upon the idea of possessing a living person’s body so he can once again live with Kate in marriage. The young wife doesn’t seem interested in anyone but her beloved Scott, but soon she meets Fausto (Don Murray). Fausto is a young piece of beefcake that hits on the widow. Has the ghostly Scott found the perfect person to possess so he can get back to loving Kate?

The most surprising thing about Ghosts Can’t Do It is a cameo from a younger Donald Trump as a businessman. It’s a fairly typical, smaller role but he does have a few lines. I doubt you’ll see him touting this on his resumé as he campaigns this year for President.

This cheap, direct-to-video movie intended for the VHS market likely saw heavy play back in the day in the nascent premium cable market. Prominently featuring Bo Derek in skimpy outfits and the occasional nude scene, it’s a cheesy Eighties romp with one of that decade’s biggest sex symbols. It has an inexplicable charm, possibly due to the old-fashioned plot device it uses as its central concept and Bo Derek’s undeniable charisma.

Movie ★★★★☆

Ghosts Can't Do It Blu-ray screen shot 14

Shout Factory has included Ghosts Can’t Do It in a Bo Derek-themed double-feature with Bolero on a single BD-50. The following comments pertain solely to Ghosts Can’t Do It. The 94-minute main feature was produced in 1989. It is encoded in AVC, averaging 26 Mbps. This is a fine, if soft, presentation from suitable film elements. Clarity is on the high side given the film stock and era, but this is not a new film scan from the camera negative. Licensed from MGM, the video is properly framed at 1.85:1.

There is no real video processing evident in the 1080P video. Likely an older transfer struck from secondary elements, it is free of debris and film damage. The solid print condition has adequate definition and shows some improvement in actual fine detail. There is a consistent magenta push to flesh-tones. A few scenes of Scott meeting his angel in Heaven are completely washed out, though this looks intentional, if poorly done.

Inconsistent black levels and a slightly erratic contrast ding what is generally a nice-looking movie. Much of the movie takes place at a tropical island resort, which provides a picturesque beach setting.

Video ★★★☆☆

A stereo 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack generally sounds fine with one minor problem. This is an aggressive stereo mix recorded in Ultra Stereo. The one problem is a couple of scenes with bass mixed far too high. They will make you jump out of your seat if your listening volume is set at normal levels. Dialogue remains intelligible throughout the movie with clean audio. The soundtrack does a solid job conveying the Foley work like gunshots and other manufactured sounds.

Shout Factory provides optional English SDH subtitles in a white font.

Audio ★★★☆☆

This is included on a double-feature set with Bolero, another Bo Derek movie. Reversible cover art is included with alternate movie posters. It would have been fascinating to hear Bo Derek’s thoughts on this film in a commentary, but I guess fans should be happy enough it has come to Blu-ray.

Ghosts Can’t Do It Trailer (02:48 in HD)

Extras ☆☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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