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It's a natural mistake assume that Bob Hope's familiar theme Thanks for
the Memory comes from an early film with this title, but it isn't the
The Academy Award theme song came from Bob Hope's feature film debut in The Big Broadcast of 1938. Hope and Shirley Ross sung the number as a duet and proved so popular that Paramount rushed to put them in a film together and they used the song title to take advantage of its popularity. By now Hope was on radio and Thanks for the Memory became his theme that lasted the rest of his century long life.
Hope and Ross are a young married couple who are having their problems. He's a novelist who can't seem to come up with a finish for his latest work. She's a former fashion model and a former fiancé of Hope's publisher Otto Kruger who still has a yen for her.
Kruger certainly has ulterior motives when he suggests Ross go back to work and Hope stay at home do the housework and finish the novel. But it does seem like the only practical solution. Of course this is where the comedy starts.
Hope's not bad in this, but the role was far better suited for someone like Cary Grant. He and Ross get to sing another duet, Two Sleepy People, which was also a big hit. About this time Bob Hope and Shirley Ross recorded Thanks for the Memory and Two Sleepy People for Decca as a 78 rpm which sold over a million copies in Depression America.
Thanks for the Memory also gives one an opportunity to see Eddie Anderson do a variation on his Rochester character as the building janitor. Anderson had the gravelly comic voice which he used to great effect on Jack Benny's show. He was certainly never servile to Benny on the radio, in fact usually gave him a zing every show. He has a Rochester like moment with Hope as he insists that Hope pay him $10.25 for doing his laundry which Hope doesn't have. For a black man to stand up like that in 1938 is a rarity unto itself.
The title song is heard at the end where Hope and Ross reprise their duet from The Big Broadcast of 1938. And the song was sent well on its way to becoming an American classic.
Bob Hope and Shirley Ross play newlyweds trying get ahead. Hope has
written part of a novel. It's good
but can he do better? Prospective
publisher Otto Krugerwho happens to be an old flame of Ross'stells
him that if he's serious about the book, then he should quit his day
job and treat writing as a business. Shirley convinces Bob to give it a
and returns to her old modeling job to earn a living till he gets
established. Bob has difficulty concentrating, home alone while his
wife is out supporting him.
Their apartment is also a sort of social center for an entertaining gang of friends. Clever couple Charles Butterworth and Hedda Hopper drop in at all hours and help themselves to the apartment. Roscoe Karns is another buddy who frequently shows up, sometimes accompanied by his new wife (Laura Hope Crews), whose only real charm is her money.
Eddie Anderson is excellent as the building superintendent who spends most of the picture trying to collect payment for the laundry he delivers. His funniest line is when he steps into Hope's kitchen and observes Hope attempting to prepare a meal. "Do you cook?" he asks doubtfully in that unique Rochester voice.
There are other funny scenes .Hope cracks an egg, can't figure out what to do with the shell, and so crams it into the pages of the cookbook he's holding.
The supporting cast really provide most of the best moments. Slinky neighbor girl Patricia Wildercomplete with breathy southern drawltraipses in at one point when everyone is gathered in the main apartment. She has a bat in her living room: "I'm in trouble and I wonder if one of you boys can help me out," she pouts. At which Hopper turns to Ross with arch look: "She's in trouble and she wants a boy."
It's not great dialogbut delivered by these pros it's quite entertaining. The plot is hardly surprising but it holds together okay.
The song "Two Sleepy People" is easily the film's high pointHope and Ross just look and sound so good together, and the song is perfectly sweet and drowsy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In this follow-up to "The Big Broadcast of 1938", Bob Hope plays a
novelist who switches places with his wife Shirley Ross so he can
finish his book while she goes back to work as a model. A plethora of
old friends keep popping in to take advantage of their hospitality (and
especially their liquor) while misunderstandings erupt concerning the
dizzy southern belle neighbor who lives next door. Finally, Hope
explodes and moves out just as Ross is about to tell him some important
In most of his films, Hope joked around with wisecracks and gags so old that it seemed as if he was trying to bring vaudeville back from the dead. In this film, he has his share of jokes, but this is more a plot-driven comedy with music rather than one of his burlesque style joke fests that he later perfected with Bing Crosby in a series of "Road" movies. Hope and Ross are surrounded by a group of talented supporting players, most notably droll Charles Butterworth, wisecracking Hedda Hopper, tough-as-nails gold digger Roscoe Karns, and stout Laura Hope Crews, extremely funny as Karn's new wealthy wife who is stuffing Karn's piggy bank with silver dollars. Patricia Wilder is annoying as the too friendly neighbor, while Otto Kruger plays his usual older businessman (here a publisher) with designs on the heroine.
There are several pleasant songs, including the Oscar Winning Title Tune (sung by Hope and Ross in the same year's "The Big Broadcast of 1938"), with new lyrics to fit the situation, and "Two Sleepy People", a charming duet with lyrics by future Broadway legend Frank Loesser. This film is made better by the fact that Hope actually plays a real character, something he would only do a few more times, much later in "The Seven Little Foys" and "Beau James", films which were based on real-life people. Ross is a delightfully charming heroine, quite lovely in the outfits she models. This is the type of film where you can literally say at the fade out, "Thanks for a Story!"
Bob Hope plays a down of his luck writer who do not want the wife to work. His wife finds a job to make ends meet to pay the bills, so he can write. Company come to visit unexpectedly chaos break loose. I do not think is Bob Hope best movie work, but his comedic style show through in story line. There are better films he did in career that show his talent full of potential plots comedic skill. Hope is funny starring with himself in Casanova's Big Night and The Princess and the Pirate, or with Bing Crosby in the Road Pictures. Just to name a few of his better films. The film was in enjoyable to watch, but the only curiosity thing where he got the song for end of his comedic routine.
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