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The Lemon Drop Kid
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The Lemon Drop Kid More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A Damon Runyon Christmas

9/10
Author: telegonus from brighton, ma
21 December 2002

This is a terrific Christmas movie for adults, since it revolves around money and debt. Bob Hope is a racetrack tout who, for too many reasons worth going into here, winds up owing a gangster ten large during the Yuletide season, and comes up with an ingenious way to raise the cash. Hope fits in reasonably well with the general scheme (so to speak) of this Damon Runyon story, and Marilyn Maxwell is gorgeous. In able support are William Frawley, Sid Melton, Ben Welden and a gaggle of other big city types without whom this kind of movie can't work. Thanks in large part to them, it does. Only Lloyd Nolan, as Oxford Charlie, seems wrong for this one. His movie persona was too inflexible for Runyon antics. Maybe Brod Crawford wasn't available. But this is a minor quibble. The movie is a delight.

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Absolute Cracker

9/10
Author: dilsonbelper from Bangor Ireland
14 March 2017

Still makes me laugh after all these years impeccable timing great writing beautiful comic acting from all, Hope is wonderful as usual if you haven't seen this and looking for an hour or so of laughs the sit down put your feet up and enjoy. They Obviously Want Me To Sing ...not now please

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Sidewalk Santas take care of destitute "old dolls" and themselves

8/10
Author: weezeralfalfa from United States
28 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this entertaining farce, Hope plays "The Lemon Drop Kid": a swindler and horse race tract tout, who nearly always has a box of lemon drops in his pocket. Unfortunately, he convinced the wrong lady to change her betting, not realizing she is the moll of notorious gangster Moose Moran, who demands payment of $10,000., which is what he would have won if she had bet on the horse he so instructed. The remainder of the film chronicles the details of his sidewalk Santa scam to collect the $10,000. within a couple weeks, just prior to Christmas.

The Kid has a good-looking blond for a moll: Marylyn Maxwell, as Brainey Baxton. No clue how she earned her nickname: perhaps as sarcasm? As a chorus line dancer for a gangster, and the moll of a perpetually broke small time hood, she doesn't appear to be especially brainy. When she tells her boss, Oxford Charlie, of the financial success of the Kid's Santa scam, he decides to take over the scam, replacing the kid's accomplices with his own men. A group of near destitute "old dolls" are mostly pawns in this scam, as the money is supposed to go toward their upkeep, rather than into the pockets of the scammers.

Despite the kid's spending some time in jail, as expected, in the end, things work out well for the kid, his accomplices, and the old dolls. Moran and Charlie are arrested for separate violations. An old doll is reunited with her safe-cracking husband, who just got out of jail and demonstrates his needed skill. The kid is able to pay off his "debt" to Moran and to provide ample funds for the near future of the old dolls. Brainey is finally agreeable to marriage with the Kid, on the supposition that he has reformed his larcenous ways. However, we seriously question such a reformation, from his comments on a set of silverware.

There many large gaps in the screenplay, and many contrived coincidences, typical of Hope comedies, but with only a moderate amount of slapstick. Music isn't a big part of the film. However, the Christmas classic "Silver Bells" was composed for this film, and sung by Marylyn and Hope, as well as a chorus. However, Bing Crosby scooped them with the release of a record before the Christmas season, ahead of the release of the film, well after Christmas.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

There is Hope For the Holidays.....

7/10
Author: mark.waltz from United States
19 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The silver bells are clinking down on Fifth Avenue here in New York City as I write this review, and what movie is more appropriate to write about than the one that famous Christmas song came from? I find this to be Bob Hope's best non-Road movie; funny, touching, and filled with the joy of the season. This is not a remake of the 1934 Lee Tracy movie, although it does surround a character addicted to lemon drops who happens to hang out at a race track. That was a sentimental tale about a ne'er-do-well father who does all he can to get his kid back. This movie is a lot lighter and instead of a father missing his child, it is about a con man who learns something about giving when he decides to help out a group of old ladies. Of course, he has his own selfish motives, but when gangsters threaten to take over what he has come to see as the right thing to do, Hope takes action and reforms himself, winning the heroine (the lovely Marilyn Maxwell) in the process.

The leading old lady is a street newspaper seller played by the Academy Award Winning Jane Darwell who is absolutely lovely here and will steal your heart, much like she did as the birdseed seller in London years later in "Mary Poppins". William Frawley is Hope's crusty sidekick, whose gravely voiced singing introduces a more cynical "Silver Bells" ("Chunk it in, Chunk it in, or Santy will give you a mickey"). Fifth Avenue and the surrounding snowy streets become a Christmas wonderland, a vision that has made New York one of the most romantic Christmas getaways for years. Maxwell and Hope also sing the delightful "It Only Costs a Dime to Dream" to the old ladies in the redecorated gambling home (where the ladies sleep on moving crap tables). Hope even ends up in drag, looking like Ray Bolger in "Where's Charley?", and has a delightful exchange with another old lady (the wonderful Ida Moore) about his hour glass figure. Fred Clark, that delightful sourpuss, is great as the gangster and Lloyd Nolan is also amusing as another racketeer who tries to get his hands on all the old dolls so he can take over Hope's racket.

Future "Ed Wood" veteran Tor Johnson ("Night of the Ghouls", "Plan Nine From Outer Space") is instantly recognizable as the Swedish wrestler whom Hope involves in his scheme while other typical Damon Runyeon style characters are played by such familiar faces as Harry Bellaver and Jay C. Flippen. The lovely Andrea King is all Southern charm as Clark's mistress whom Hope mistakenly passes on a fake tip to at the race track to his imminent regret. Veteran diminutive character actor Francis Pierlot has an amusing cameo as Darwell's recently prison released husband who has an act for cracking safes.

This is a must for the holiday season that will charm everybody and make you feel good about the true spirit of the holidays.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Lemon Drop Kid is a perfect comedy to watch during the Christmas holidays!

8/10
Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, LA
24 December 2015

Just watched this again in order to get in the spirit of Christmas. It's another Bob Hope vehicle in which he tries to get out of jams he himself caused. He's a con man trying to raise more than a thousand dollars in order to avoid getting killed! It all takes place during the holidays. In fact, this is the movie that introduced the song "Silver Bells" in which Hope shares a duet with his leading lady, Marilyn Maxwell, here. There's also William Frawley-later Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy"-and Lloyd Nolan and Fred Clark to add in the fun. Oh, and one of the writers is Frank Tashlin who was previously a director of Warner Bros. cartoons. He supposedly directed some of the more cartoonish sequences like that of the hilarious one involving a female mannequin who is allowed to appear nude in a movie made during the Code era! Okay, so on that note, I highly recommend The Lemon Drop Kid.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

delightful Bob Hope comedy

7/10
Author: blanche-2 from United States
14 December 2014

Bob Hope is Sidney Milburn, "The Lemon Drop Kid" in this film based on a Damon Runyon story. Hope plays a racetrack "tout" who talks up horses to eager bettors. In the first scene we see him conversing with a neighing horse and taking notes. He tells one bettor that most of the horses are sick: "That's why they head for the inside rail so they have something to lean on."

Unfortunately, he talks mobster Moose Moran's (Fred Clark) girlfriend out of betting on the horse Moose sent her to bet on, and the horse, Lightning Streak, comes in last. Sidney then owes Moose $10,000 and is in big trouble. He goes to New York and looks up some old friends.

One is Nellie (Jane Darwell) whose husband Henry is about to be released from prison, but she is about to be evicted; and the other is Brainey (Marilyn Maxwell). Sidney moves Nellie and some other elderly ladies (or old dolls, as they're called) into Moose's casino which is sitting empty on Long Island, gets a vendors license, and sends his friends dressed as Santa out to collect money for "The Nellie Thursday Old Dolls Home." Trouble follows.

Hope is surrounded by some fine character actors: Jay C. Flippen, Sid Melton, William Frawley, and Lloyd Nolan.

Marilyn Maxwell sings "Silver Bells," which became a big hit. She toured with Hope entertaining the USO and was apparently having a huge affair with him.

There's a lot of slapstick at the end, which is very funny, as Hope goes on the run dressed as an old woman. There are some great lines as well throughout, in part thanks to Hope's flawless delivery. Despite not playing a savory character, he comes off as one of the most likable crooks you'll ever meet.

Fun, and a nice film to see at holiday time.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Damon Runyon Greatness

7/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
16 December 2013

Bob Hope plays Sidney Milburn, a.k.a. The Lemon Drop Kid. The Kid is a racetrack tout, which is a person who sells tips on horses at the track. He causes gangster Moose Moran to lose big at the track. Moose gives The Kid until Christmas to come up with the money. So, together with some criminal friends, The Kid hatches a scheme to get the loot.

This is a great comedy for Christmas or any time of the year. Hope is fantastic and is backed up by a terrific supporting cast that includes Marilyn Maxwell, Jane Darwell, William Frawley, Harry Bellaver, and Lloyd Nolan. Fun script with great Damon Runyon characters. And, of course, let's not forget this is the film that introduced the Christmas classic "Silver Bells."

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Sweet Taste of Lemon-The Lemon Drop Kid ****

10/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
16 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Very funny 1951 Bob Hope film where he plays a small-time gangster who has accidentally dropped money of a bigger mob person at the track and then finds an ingenious way to get the money back.

The gags are great with Marilyn Maxwell as Hope's girlfriend and eventual partner in the scheme.

Jane Darwell showed a gift of comedy in this hilarious film. As one of the old dolls, she brings plenty of humor as the wife of a convicted safe-cracker about to be released at holiday time.

Hope's great idea of setting up a licensed home for old dolls is very humorous. How will he pay for the home in a gambling home? He sends his band of crooks out playing Santa Claus and soliciting money.

All goes well until Lloyd Nolan, a real big-time gangster, gets wind of the scheme and steals the money from Hope. Bob has to retrieve the money and free the dolls who have been taken hostage by a ruthless Nolan.

Funny and yet very poignant with the holiday-spirit like ending.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Forgotten Christmas Classic

8/10
Author: bigverybadtom from United States
15 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Too old for the Rankin Bass movies? Dissatisfied with "It's A Wonderful Life"? (I was.) Other Christmas movies either too juvenile, or unsuited for the family? Well, even though Bob Hope was in a lot of bad movies, this is not one of them.

It's based on a Damon Runyon story about a man who distracts a mobster's girlfriend, causing her to lose a $10,000 racetrack bet. The mobster learns of this and threatens the man to get him his money back by Christmas, or face his brutality (which is strongly hinted at).

The man tries to ring a bell to collect money to rescue himself, but falls afoul of the law for not having a charity license. Not taking chances the next time, he arranges for a mobster's closed-up gambling joint to be secretly opened, the money ostensibly going to charity. Complications set in when a different mobster gets wind of it and wants the funds for himself. The the man is really in a bind. What to do?

Trivia: This was the movie where the Christmas song "Silver Bells" was first performed. Ironic that the film has fallen into obscurity.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Hope in Top Form

7/10
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
29 July 2013

The gags fly thick and fast in this Hope romp. If a viewer doesn't like one set-up, the next will be on in a flash. Hope's got to settle a debt to mobster Clark, otherwise he's toast. So the race-track tout sets up a phony Santa scheme using sidewalk donations supposedly going to an old ladies home. Can he pull it off since there're more characters to manage than a circus.

Hope's at his peak, physically and wise-crack wise. His shtick looks effortless, gliding from one set-up to the next. It's about as smooth as madcap comes, and not even the spare romantic scene dawdles And catch movie vets like a pre-Lucy William Frawley, fast-talking Lloyd Nolan, and professional grouch Fred Clark of the old Burns and Allen show. And for eye candy there's a luscious Marilyn Maxwell to sweeten things up. But shouldn't overlook versatile Jane Darwell of Grapes of Wrath.

But the real ace-in-the-hole is writer and uncredited director (IMDB) Frank Tashlin. His comedic stamp is all over the physical comedy. For instance, catch that undressing of the manikin in the storefront window. It's a hoot, and I would think a challenge for censors given the female detail. Or the cyclonic wind where the Girl Scouts help the wobbly Hope negotiate a sidewalk. In fact, there are numerous touches throughout that make this Hope entry a sleeper, especially at Xmas time. Too bad it's not better known among his stellar entries, Crosby or no.

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