Douglas Fairbanks Jr, John Houseman, Fred Astaire, and Melvyn Douglas are lifelong friends in a New England town who meet regularly to tell ghost stories. They’re also haunted by a decades-old secret.
Fairbanks has two sons, both played by Craig Wasson (possibly best known as the protagonist of the Brian De Palma suspense film Body Double). When one of the sons falls to his death from a New York high-rise, his brother disputes the police report labeling it a suicide. He thinks it had something to do with a strange, beautiful woman he’d been seeing before some weirdness caused him to split up with her, and he begins to wonder if there’s also a connection with whatever secret his father and friends are keeping. The mysterious woman is played by South-African born British actress Alice Krige, whom you might recall as the Borg Queen.
Ghost Story is based on a best-selling novel by Peter Straub, and it’s OK (if not all that scary) as a ghost story, but the main reason to see the film is a chance to watch four great actors near the ends of their lives. Patricia Neal (The Day the Earth Stood Still) has a relatively small part as well as Fred Astaire’s wife.
One silly but amusing in-joke: In a flashback, the younger version of Fred Astaire turns down a young woman’s invitation to dance with her, saying he can’t.