The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) Poster

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Simply lovely con artist caper delivering mirth for the yuletide season.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
The Lemon Drop Kid is directed by Sidney Lanfield (Frank Tashlin uncredited) and based on the short story of the same name written by Damon Runyon (Edmund Beloin adapting). It stars Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, Lloyd Nolan, Jane Darwell, Andrea King & Fred Clark.

It's perhaps a bit unfair to call it purely a Christmas movie? But watching it during the festive holiday season itself more than doubles the impact of the viewing. Bob Hope is The Lemon Drop Kid, a scam artist who during one of his cons at the race track finds himself in debt to a gangster for $10,000. If he doesn't find the money by Christmas day then he's going to be done for in a very grizzly way. We then follow the intrepid Hope on his various escapades to get the money; no mater how morally corrupt it be! A charity scam in the name of an old peoples home brings about much mirth and frivolity, and as the film twists as much as Hope does in his energetic scenes, it leave us with a delightful feel good seasonal offering. The lead cast are fine, with Hope in his element with the material to hand, while Marilyn Maxwell is perfect foil for Hope in the lead female role that calls for gusto and sentiment to be layered equally. While the final cherry on this lovely yuletide cake comes with the Hope/Maxwell rendition of "Silver Bells" that underpins the Christmas flavour of the piece.

It's unlikely to impress hardcore Runyon followers, and those that don't buy into Hope's form of comedy are probably best to avoid it. But for many folk, myself included, The Lemon Drop Kid is a 10/10 film, particularly at the Crimble season.
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Great Hope Classic
artzau28 February 2002
Hope's films always spun on his zany sense of humor. In this, a redo of a Damon Runyon story (see Little Miss Marker), Hope is at his best. I noted with interest the comments of one reviewer who bristling with politically correct indignation, accuses Hope of everything from Sexism to nearly murder. True, they were not as tuned into the careful not to offend anyone scene we are now but most of this stuff is pretty mild. Besides, being a senior citizen myself, I was hardly offended. The list of wonderful studio character actors in this film is delightful. Fred Clarke who was at his best as a villain or sleeze ball gives a delightful show as a gangster. And, then there's Marilyn Maxwell: her singing of "Silver Bells," gave us a new Christmas carol that is sung every holiday season. I'm sorry that some of our other reviewers were piqued by this film. I think it has held up well and I still delight at Hope's antics. I guess that dates me. I was in junior high when I saw this film. I loved it then and love it now.
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I have loved this movie for years.
MrJodie-216 December 1999
I saw this movie when I was only about five years old and I've loved it since. It epitomizes the typical good hearted man in a bad situation who undergoes a character transformation worthy of old Scrooge himself. Bob Hope plays a grifter who tries to play both sides of a scam. All of this is infused with just the right amount of holiday fun and Christmas Carols (and even a few cracks at Bing) to make it a real holiday classic. I would recommend it for any age and any family.
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Lemon Drops With Silver Bells
bkoganbing17 September 2006
The Lemon Drop Kid is the second of two films Bob Hope did from stories based on Damon Runyon's colorful collection of characters, the first being Sorrowful Jones. Sidney Melbourne known to one and all as The Lemon Drop Kid for his inordinate fondness for lemon flavored candy is a fellow who lives by his wits as a race track tout.

Sometimes our hero is too clever by a half and when he gives the wrong tip to gambler Fred Clark's girl friend, Andrea King, Clark says that Hope owes him ten thousand dollars, the amount the horse would have paid him.

Things move fast and furious as Hope evolves a scheme to raise the money by starting a home for little old ladies named for Jane Darwell. Hope gets everyone in his set involved including his long suffering girl friend, Marilyn Maxwell.

Maxwell, who was reputedly involved romantically with Hope during the shooting of this film, plays a part almost identical to Runyon's better known Adelaide from Guys and Dolls.

Of course this film is famous for introducing that modern Christmas classic Silver Bells by Bob and Marilyn. And in an act that some might consider charity, that other well known Paramount star, Bing Crosby made a hit record of it with his radio girl singer of the moment Carole Richards.

In his musical autobiography record Bing said that he thought the secret of Silver Bells popularity is that it is an urban based song with its images of department stores, kid's rushing, and above all the bustle the sound of bells from street corner Santas. The song fits in real nice in the film with Hope's scheme involving his fellow street people in Santa Claus suits collecting for that little old ladies home.

Silver Bells got nominated for Best song, but lost to that other Paramount film song In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening introduced by Bing Crosby.

Still the popularity of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans classic modern holiday ballad will insure people will be watching The Lemon Drop Kid for years to come.
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Everything a Christmas Movie Should Be!
AbeStreet31 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Possible Spoilers!

Bob Hope portrays a lemon drop eating race track hustler who hustles a local crime boss out of $10,000. Hope is given until Christmas to get the money together. Hope goes to NYC and cons his girlfriend, friends and local thugs into dressing up in Santa suits and collecting money for a senior citizens home for "old dolls." Hope intends to make off with the donations and pay off his debt to the crime boss. However, a NYC crime boss figures out what Hope is up to and blows the whistle on Hope and takes over the Santa donation scheme himself. Hope then redeems himself by entraping the two crime bosses, making sure the senior citizen home gets the donations and he gets his girl back. It would seem that Hope's character has finally learned the Christmas message, that it is better to give than to receive.

This is probably my favorite Bob Hope film. He is excellent as a scheming hustler type. It seems to come natural to him. The film makes great use of character actors from the 30,s 40's and 50's in the films various supporting roles. Marilyn Maxwell is a real treat to look at and has great chemistry with Hope. The song Silver Bells is beautiful and fits the film perfectly. I think my favorite scene is where Hope is dressed as an elderly woman trying to describe what he is knitting to the other elderly woman. It was a mop that goes so well with his argyle scrub bucket.

If you like Bob Hope, Christmas movies or comedies than you'll probably like this film.
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Great Holiday Fun
d-mrice11 January 2006
This is one of my favorite holiday movies. It is a great example of Runyan's work. I would recommend it for the whole family! It is a nice departure from the usual holiday sentimentalism. The dialog is peppered with typical Runyan phrases that truly capture the "Guys and Dolls" types and yet still has the Bob Hope send up comedy typical of his "Road" pictures. The musical numbers add to the picture without making it into a big budget Hollywood show. Jane Darwell, William Frawley and Lloyd Nolan are really enjoyable. Even though some of the comedy it perhaps a bit ethnic oriented, it really isn't offensive. My family and I would rather watch this than any other "wonderful" holiday movie.
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The film that introduced the classic song "Silver Bells"
Christmas-Reviewer16 September 2017

The Lemon Drop Kid is a 1951 comedy film based on the short story of the same name by Damon Runyon, starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. Although Sidney Lanfield is credited as the director, Frank Tashlin reportedly was hired, to finish the film. The story had previously been adapted as a 1934 movie starring Lee Tracy, with actress Ann Sheridan in a bit part. William Frawley is featured in both versions.

The song "Silver Bells," sung by Hope and Maxwell, was introduced in this film

The Lemon Drop Kid (Bob Hope), a New York City swindler, is illegally touting horses at a Florida racetrack. The Kid touts across a beautiful woman intending to bet $2,000 on a horse named Iron Bar. Rigging a con, the Kid convinces her to switch her bet, but learns that she was betting for boyfriend and notorious gangster Moose Moran (Fred Clark). When the horse finishes dead last, a furious Moran demands the Kid pay him $10,000 (the amount he would have won) by Christmas Eve, or the Kid "won't make it to New Year's."

This film is typical one liners that Bob Hope was famous for. This film however suffers because many of them are "flat" and have not held up over time!

This film runs about 90 minutes but it seems to run 3 hours. Some parts of this film however is funny but it has equal parts that are not funny. It is also hard to hear 48 year old Bib Hope refereed to as kid in this film.

This is a great film for Bob Hope fans. For the rest of us it is just an okay film. Not a bad film but not very good either!
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Most enjoyable.
MartinHafer25 November 2012
"The Lemon Drop Kid" is from a story by Damon Runyon--and it's heritage is obvious based on the sorts of names for the characters, such as Stan the Surgeon, Moose Moran, Nellie Thursday and Straight Flush Tony. The title character is played by Bob Hope and he's a real schmuck. He makes his living, such as it is, by selling fake tips on horses at the racetrack. However, when he convinces a big-time mobster's girl to bet on a horse instead of the one she intended to bet on, the mobster (Fred Clark) is NOT happy. He insists that The Kid must pay him back by Christmas....or else. The problem is that The Lemon Drop Kid has no money and no friends--so he heads to New York to try to convince someone to loan him the money. But, he is a schmuck after all and none of his 'friends' in the city are willing to give him a dime. What's he to do....just wait to have his legs broken....if he's LUCKY?! Nah, he comes up with a scheme involving the creation of an old folks home and Santa. Confusing? See the film to find out why he does this and what's next.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable Hope vehicle. He's in top form and the movie is entertaining despite a few small glitches. For example, look for Bob Hope's lips as he 'sings' "Silver Bells" and tries to get money from some very little kids. You can clearly see that his lips AREN'T moving yet he's somehow singing! Oops. Despite this silly mistake, I must say that this is a lovely part of the film--a real highlight. Clever and worth your time.
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Is it any wonder we love Bob Hope?
teepee-99 November 2000
Though this movie is a favorite of my Mother's, it inevitably is one of mine. Bob Hope is "ON" in this Season's Greeting which, by the way, introduced the world to the song "Silver Bells". A MUST-HAVE in your home library.
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