Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Funnies - My Favorite Brunette (1947) - Starring Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour

Way back when your Ol' Professor was but a wee nubbin, one of the local stations (yes, this was back in the days of the dinosaurs when local stations were all we had and there were only four of them, weep for us kids of today, weep for us...) used to have a movie feature every afternoon. Called "The Big Show", they would usually have a theme for each week - one week it would be westerns, the next giant japanese monsters, the next Abbott and Costello flicks. And at a certain point in each showing, the local weatherman would appear with the phone book and a telephone and, picking a number at random, he would ask whoever picked up the phone what movie they were showing. If the person on the other end could answer correctly, they would win whatever the day's pot was. If not, then the prize would be raised for the next call.

I'm sure it was The Big Show, along with my father's enthusiasm for the entertainers featured in these movies that formed the basis for my own love of the movies of this period. Among the staples of The Big Show rotation were the "Road" movies of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. These movies showcased two stars who were otherwise during that time relegated to the occasional TV special- Bing would show up at Christmastime with his family, and Bob was a regular staple on USO tours where he and other stars of the day would entertain troops. But these movies showed that not only was there more to these guys than just a bit of standup or an occasional song, they were full-fledged movie stars.

Hope himself, besides just the "Road" movies, starred in at least two movies a year (and sometimes as many as four) pretty much every year from 1934 to 1959. and onr of those movies, from 1947, was My Favorite Brunette.  And actually, I suppose I should make a slight correction to one statement I made above - when talking about the "Road" movies I said they starred Hope and Crosby, and that's true, but they also starred Dorothy Lamour, who appeared in all of them but the last and was probably as big a reason for their success as the two marquee names. I bring her up now, because she also appears with Hope in this film, portraying the movie's titular brunette.

The film itself is a pretty light comedy, a parody of the film noir style, with Hope playing a bumbling photographer who wishes he could be a private eye. One day he is answering the phones for the detective who works across the hall when in walks Lamour, the archetypical noir dame. Mistaking Hope for the actual detective, she pleads for his help, and sure enough he finds himself in way over his head. The film also gives us Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney Jr, and Alan Ladd in supporting roles, and even a cameo by Crosby.

Here's a two-minute clip that'll give you a good taste for this film:

And now, the skinny:

Title: My Favorite Brunette
Release Date: 1947
Running Time: 87 min
Black and White
Starring:  Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour
Director: Elliot Nugent
Producer: Daniel Dare:
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

The movie is available for free to watch or download here.
It's also available on DVD from  Amazon: My Favorite Brunette.
And Netflix has it available for rental: My Favorite Brunette

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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