Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Favorite Brunette

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.

11 comments:

August West said...

My favorite Bob Hope movies are the "Road" films-After those come this one. Love the cameos by Alan Ladd and especially Bing at the end. I have a copy and watch it a couple times a year. The is nothing wrong with making people laugh without swearing and being dirty. Let these new comics try doing that!!!

Bill Crider said...

I love the Road films. I have a couple of DVD that I need to watch one of these days.

JTD said...

So the mystery is finally solved! I now know the identity of the OTHER person who digs through the Alvin Wal-Mart bargain DVD bin.

Bill Crider said...

Surely we aren't the only ones.

Todd Mason said...

Indeed, I've seen the public domain print discs for MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE selling at gas station convenience stores for 50c. Now That's a bargain. (I think I paid $2-3 for my Laserlight disc at a B&N).

I must admit, I had to refresh my memory of who Petrillo was, but certainly as a jazz fan curse his memory (on the more selfish levels) for the 1940s recording bans. But I certainly dug the movie when I first saw it as a teen, and haven't given it a spin since quickly checking the disc to see if it wasn't faulty several years ago. I suspect your daughter simply had your number. (It's a sad thing anyone thought Jerry Lewis comedies were funny...and, of course, no one thought Bob Hope's 1960s comedies were funny. In fact, I was disappointed in GHOST BREAKERS after enjoying BRUNETTE as much as I did.) And, if anything, Hope was the George Carlin of his time, pushing the language and innuendo envelopes harder than anyone on radio aside from Mae West, but they all knew about Her.

Bill Crider said...

I haven't seen Ghostbreakers in years, but I remember liking it. The Petrillo reference goes by in an instant, like a lot of Hope's lines, but I caught it because when I was a kid, I thought "James C. Petrillo" was a quite euphonious name. Hope's envelope-pushing was evident on some of his radio shows of my childhood. I even caught a couple of things, myself.

Graham Powell said...

I'm not even forty and I thought this movie was a riot. As I recall, My Favorite Blonde was pretty good, too.

My favorite quote: "All my life I wanted to be a hardboiled detective like Humphrey Bogart or Dick Powell - or even Alan Ladd." Said to Alan Ladd.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

It was a big hit at Tankon a year or two ago, and I've enjoyed it each of the 4-5 times I've seen it.

Bill Crider said...

Bunch of old geezers at Tankon, right?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I like to think of it as a bunch of old geezers and me.

Bill Crider said...

Riiiiiiiiight.