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Sunday, June 7, 2015

MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE (1947)

The middle entry in Bob Hope’s MY FAVORITE series (post-BLONDE/’42; pre-SPY/’51) isn’t as solidly constructed as the first, but is still pretty damn funny, with Bob in peak physical & verbal comic form. He’s a baby photographer, jealous of the glamorous private detective working in the next office. (Why it’s Alan Ladd!*) Sitting in for the absent dick, he takes on a crazy case for Dorothy Lamour (very sharp, very appealing) and winds up on the run from a host of threatening supporting actors (Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney, Jr., Reginald Denny, et al.). These farcical plots can grow awful tiresome awful quick, but Hope’s execution at the time was just about untouchable. And kudos to unsung director Elliot Nugent just for keeping up with him. Check out the staging (and Bob’s deft physical technique) in a lunatic bedroom scene where Peter Lorre keeps trying to leave a clue for Bob to pick up. A bit with a dresser drawer would have pleased Chaplin. NOTE: Lots of lousy Public Domain copies out there so Buyer Beware. One from BCI (not seen here) has a decent rep.

CONTEST: *In addition to Ladd, a second uncredited cameo ends the film in a unique, not to say hilarious, manner. At long last, Bob . . . Well, you figure out the surprise to win a MAKSQUIBS Write-Up on a DVD of your choice.

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