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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 »
When baby photographer Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) office-sits for traveling p.i. Sam McCloud, he finds his dreams of playing detective coming all too true all too soon when mysterious damsel-in-distress Carlotta Montay (Dorothy Lamour) sashays into his office. Soon our hero is up to his ski-nose in trouble as he and his comely client are chased by a gang of cutthroats with designs on Carlotta's uncle's uranium (that's right, uranium!). One of Hope's best comedies, BRUNETTE deftly spoofs hard-boiled private eye thrillers of the era with a barrage of uproarious one-liners and set pieces. Hope and Lamour's usual comic/romantic chemistry is at its finest amid a nifty supporting cast including Peter Lorre, the unfairly uncredited Jean Wong (a delight as Mrs. Fong, mother of a tot so loathe to smile that Ronnie quips, "This kid's gonna grow up to be a sponsor!"), Lon Chaney Jr. (essentially playing his classic and oft-imitated OF MICE AND MEN role for laughs), and a couple of cameos too hilarious to spoil here (including the Paramount tough guy who appears as McCloud)! The DVD currently available doesn't have the most pristine print, but it's got some fun interactive features, including a trivia quiz. I only hope somebody decides to give this cheeky, cheerful farce the Criterion-caliber treatment it deserves! UPDATE for 2011: There's a remastered Bob Hope DVD collection available from The Shout Factory, including a gorgeous print of MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE, complete with Paramount logo! HOORAY!
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