Larry Haines, a mediocre vaudeville entertainer, boards a train bound for Los Angeles. Is Hollywood waiting for him with open arms? Not really as the one he signed a contract for is Percy, his roller-skating penguin partner! But, as the proverb says, the shadow of glory is better than no glory at all! Anyway, doesn't Larry meet a woman on the train? And a blonde one! And a British agent into the bargain! The delicious creature who is carrying a coded message hidden in a brooch and is being pursued by Nazi agents. She will need Larry (and Percy)'s help to elude her pursuers and to get the secret information to destination. The mission will be accomplished, although in an eventful and hilarious way... Written by
Some cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names): William Irving (Waiter), Mike Lally (Chicago Taxi Driver). 'Frank Marlowe' (Chicago Taxi Driver) and William Lally (Telegraph Operator). See more »
Larry Haines is a vaudeville entertainer who's act involves a roller skating penguin. He becomes entangled in a war time plot when British agent Karen Bentley is forced to use him as cover to help her get American bomber plans into the right hands and keep it safe from the Nazis.
It's a shame that this film has eluded me until the great man himself has actually died, but it was to mark his passing that this film got screened on television recently. The plot is largely meaningless but is good natured and involving enough to keep the film moving along as a thriller of sorts. However it is really no more than a nail from which to hang a series of quips, one liners and wise cracks from Bob Hope. These are scripted well and the film manages to be very funny even more than half a century later.
Hope is at his best here as the cowardly, self-depreciating performer who is sucked into the plot with his trademark unwillingness. His lines are still sharp and his delivery here is as good as some of his best work. Madeline Carroll was never going to be able to share the limelight with Hope given that she has to carry the plot side of the film, however she does really well and has some laughs herself. The nazis fail to make a significant mark in the film and I struggle to remember them other than stooges even a short time after watching the film.
Regardless of this, the film should and will be enjoyed for it's main selling point the wise cracking comedy of Bob Hope. This film seems to be forgotten against some of his other works but it is a fine example of the wisecracks, jokes and delivery that made Bob Hope famous years after he left show business and will keep him famous for many more years yet.
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