My Favourite Brunette
Release Year: 1947
Director: Elliott Nugent
Writers: Edmund Beloin (screenplay), Jack Rose (screenplay)
Starring: Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney Jr., John Hoyt, Charles Dingle, Reginald Denny, Frank Puglia, Ann Doran
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #210, week 26 2018
Shortly before his execution, amateur sleuth and professional baby photographer Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) is given a chance to tell reporters the story of how he got there.
The charming Bob Hope comedy was the ninth collaboration between him and Dorothy Lamour (another five would follow) at a time when both were hugely succesful. Although similarly titled the earlier Bob Hope comedy, My Favourite Blonde (1942), the two are not related. Both Bob Hope and the detective film were doing great during the 1940s and so what could be better timed than a film in which Bob Hope spoofs the detective film. He stars a hard-working baby photographer turned private eye, quite by accident when a beautiful brunette walks through the door. It is a dream come true: he gets to do some detecting, use his self-invented gadget camera, and, most importantly, true his luck with the beautiful brunette. But he soon finds himself involved in a plot that goes way above his head and on his heel is the deadly gangster assassin Kismet, played by the always engaging Peter Lorre (The Maltese Falcon, 1941). Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolf Man, 1941) has a funny part as an orderly at an asylum. Lamour (Road to Morocco, 1942) is dazzling and Bob Hope whips out visual and spoken comedy as easily as breathing. It has an overly complicated plot (part of the spoof, I suppose) that I’m not even sure I have understood completely, but the plot is hardly the point. There are no obvious gaps in the story and the characters are fun and engaging, even though the criminal mastermind is overshadowed by Lorre. A fun classic detective comedy and a gently and pleasant film to watch.
The mansion used in the film still exist. It is located on the famous 17 Mile Drive in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Bob Hope wanted Bing Crosby so bad for the cameo role of Harry that he paid him $5000 to appear. The money was later donated to charity.
In one of the opening scenes, Bob Hope’s character remarks to his neighbour, private detective Sam McCloud, that he dreams of being a detective like Humphrey Bogart or Alan Ladd. MCCloud is played by Alan Ladd in an uncreditec role.
Picture Copyright: Jazzmedia Aps