Neil Jordan's High Spirits was one of Palace Pictures' high profile attempts to crack the American market that fell to Earth with a crashing thud at the box-office, and it's not hard to see why. The idea is perfectly sound, with Peter O'Toole's impoverished Lord of the manor attracting American tourists to his 'haunted' Irish castle where he gets the servants to play ghosts only for the castle's real ghosts (Darryl Hannah, Liam Neeson, Ray McAnally) to make an unexpected appearance and get caught up in romances with the guests (Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo). The problem is the execution. With too few good lines to go around, and those often clumsily delivered by the cast, the film tends to wildly overcompensate by having everyone race around and deliver their dialogue louder in the belief that that somehow makes it funnier (Neeson is especially bad). Only Peter O'Toole emerges with much credit, showing an Alastair Sim-like ability to turn even a simple word like 'masonry' into something genuinely funny.
In Jordan's defence the film was heavily re-edited by co-producers Alliance, but from what's left here there's little evidence that it was little more than damage limitation - the kind of film that doesn't look badly directed because it was re-edited but the kind that was re-edited because it was badly directed. It's watchable enough, but never lives up to its potential. Optimum's UK PAL DVD has an excellent widescreen transfer that nicely showcases Anton Furst's excellent production design but no extras.