The set-up is classic noir: the tough guy convicted of murder is in his cell at San Quentin, awaiting his execution. The reporters crowd around the cell, and as the tough guy begins to tell his tale, we fade into the flashback. The difference is that this time the tough guy is Bob Hope.
Hope plays Ronnie Jackson, a baby photographer who shares an office suite with Sam McCloud, private-eye. Hope wants to be a p.i., too. "All it took was brains, courage, and a gun. And I had the gun."
McCloud leaves town, and Hope is in his office when Dorothy Lamour walks in. Thinking he's McCloud, she asks him to find her missing husband. Hope goes along, playing his usual tough-talking sniveling coward as the plot rollicks along with characters like Peter Lorre and Lon Chaney, Jr., having a swell time parodying their usual roles. There are a couple of nice cameos, too.
The one-liners and in-jokes come thick and fast, but the sad thing (to me) is that it's hard to imagine anybody under 60 getting even half of them. I mean, does anyone but me remember who James C. Petrillo was? Last year when I subjected my daughter to one of Hope's radio shows, I asked her if she thought it was funny. She said it was sad. When I asked why, she said, "It's sad that anybody ever thought that was funny." So once again my geezerdom is confirmed. Stay off my damn lawn!
But I digress. Being an Old Guy, I got a kick out of seeing this again, and it was well worth the buck I spent at Wal-Mart on the DVD, which was of surprisingly good quality for something so cheap. Check it out.