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Baby photographer Ronnie Jackson, on death row in San Quentin, tells reporters how he got there: taking care of his private-eye neighbor's office, Ronnie is asked by the irresistible Baroness Montay to find the missing Baron. There follow confusing but sinister doings in a gloomy mansion and a private sanatorium, with every plot twist a parody of thriller cliches. What are the villains really after? Can Ronnie beat a framed murder rap? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film contains a number of in-jokes. Bob Hope's character is just saying that he wants to be a private detective like Alan Ladd - when Ladd appears, playing a private detective. Dorothy Lamour's character looks longingly after Bing Crosby for a moment (in their "Road" movies with Bob Hope, Crosby nearly always got the girl) before Hope wins back her attention. There is also a comic reference to legendary music conductor Arturo Toscanini, then considered the greatest conductor in the world, and who at that time was conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. (Bob Hope had a radio program on NBC and was soon to make his TV debut on NBC as well.) See more »
Ronnie is supplied with a torn-off piece of printed stationery from "Seacliff Lodge," but the sign at the main entrance to the facility shows its name as "Seacliffe Lodge." See more »
You see, I wanted to be a detective too. It only took brains, courage, and a gun... and I had the gun.
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Good Hope comedy is a spoof of all the detective film noirs...
The worst thing about MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE is the bad print TCM is showing. Looks like a poor Public Domain print that is almost worn out with the years.
The comedy itself is a bright one with clever lines and situations. BOB HOPE is a baby photographer mistaken for a private eye by no less than DOROTHY LAMOUR who asks his help in finding her hubby's murderer. Turns out she's really talking about her uncle, but she's a liar (like Mary Astor in THE MALTESE FALCON).
The gags get off to a good start with ALAN LADD asking Bob to mind his office while he packs a gun and goes on a private eye mission. Hope obliges Lamour by showing up at the mansion she occupies, described by Hope as "something left over from Wuthering Heights." PETER LORRE, JOHN HOYT, CHARLES DINGLE, REGINALD DENNY and LON CHANEY, JR. are excellent in sustaining the humor as they go about making things tough for detective Hope. LON CHANEY, JR. is particularly effective in a replay of his dimwit role from "Of Mice and Men". Dingle, likewise, seems to be repeating his role of the crooked Southern gentleman in THE LITTLE FOXES.
Hope is told that Dotty is a schizophrenic imagining that her uncle has been kidnapped and she's only dangerous when emotionally disturbed. He's supposed to believe that the map she talked about and a missing treasure is just part of her illness. "Promise me you'll guard the map with your life," she tells Hope.
Once Hope finds out Carlotta (Lamour) is telling the truth, the gags come fast and furious and he spends the rest of the film coping with the various dangerous situations involving the gangsters.
Part of the comedy comes from the bad guys planting misleading clues in the hope that Hope will find them, to no avail. It's entertaining with Hope at his liveliest and Lamour at her prettiest and a supporting cast that more than compensates for a script that's only fault is that it's pretty predictable from start to finish.
Despite flaws, if you can find a decent print of the film it's worth watching.
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