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Peanuts White, a burlesque comic, is recruited by U.S. agents to impersonate international spy Eric Augustine (whom White resembles) in a mission to purchase a million-dollar microfilm in mysterious, exotic Tangier. There, he encounters the irresistable Lily Dalbray, an "old friend" of Augustine who is now dealing with his arch-enemy, Brubaker. But where is the real Eric? Comedy thriller with slapstick climax. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
1951's "My Favorite Spy" stars Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr, Francis L. Sulllivan and Mike Mazurki. Hope plays Peanuts White, a burlesque comedian, who bears a strong resemblance to a spy, Eric Augustine. When Augustine is injured, the government gets Peanuts to go in his place to Tangier with $1 million to collect some microfilm. Peanuts, like Hope's other characters, is a bona fide coward, but he goes after Harry Truman talks with him on the phone. ("Oh, she's out on tour?" Hope asks, referring to Truman's daughter Margaret, who at that time was pursuing a singing career.) When Peanuts arrives in Tangier, he meets the woman with whom Eric was previously involved, the beautiful nightclub singer Lily Dalbray. She's under orders from the other side to get the microfilm, so she acts as if she's ready to resume things with Eric. Unfortunately, the real Eric escapes from the hospital and makes his way to Tangier, causing the situation to become even more confusing as everyone chases everyone else.
Hope is very funny in this and does indeed create a second role in Eric Augustine, who has a much darker persona than Peanuts. There are some great laughs, my favorite scene being Hedy and Peanuts dancing in the hotel while his contact tries to get his attention. The part where Lamarr drives a fire engine while Hope hangs onto the ladder is funny as well.
Hedy Lamarr was 36 or so at the time of the filming and looks glorious, particularly in the form-fitting white sequined gown she wears during her nightclub act. It's so unfortunate that in Hollywood, once a woman turned 30, lead roles became so difficult to get. Lamarr was one of the most beautiful and glamorous women in film - at any age. She's basically straight man to Hope here and holds her own in what is a Dorothy Lamour part, right down to the nightclub act. She contributes to the foreign flavor of the film.
This isn't Hope's best film, but it's still very good with some great bits and laughs.
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