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Beaucaire is a barber for the royal French court which becomes a real "royal pain" for the king. As a result he is sent to the guillotine - however he is saved by the Duc de Chandre, who rescues and transports him to the Spanish court. While there Beaucaire poses as a nobleman. The only problem is, he gets into even more trouble.Written by
Some current film fans with a perfunctory knowledge of cinema stars of the past will be shocked to learn that Rudolph Valentino and Bob Hope played the same title role in two different versions of Booth Tarkington's Monsieur Beaucaire. Of course you can believe there's a vast difference in the version.
The Valentino version is a straight dramatic part about a Parisian barber in the court of Louis XV pretending to be a nobleman. Rudy was at his most romantic in the role and it was one of his biggest hits in the Twenties.
Bob Hope's Monsieur Beaucaire finds Bob as a barber at Versailles in the court of Louis XV and worried about the romantic intentions of his sweetheart, scullery maid Joan Caulfield. Cole Porter wrote it best that Caulfield is true to Hope in her fashion, but she's an ambitious girl who knows what it takes to get ahead in the court. She aspires to be Madame Pompadour who is played here by Hillary Brooke.
Due to a set of circumstances way too complex to write about, Hope and Caulfield both get themselves banished, mainly because of Hope's fantasies and both get themselves involved in the politics between France and Spain where a royal marriage is being arranged to the dismay of both participants, Marjorie Reynolds for the Spanish and Patric Knowles for the French.
Playing the puppet-master in all the intrigue is Joseph Schildkraut who shows a real flair for comedy. His final duel with Hope ranks right up there with one Hope engaged in with Basil Rathbone in Cassanova's Big Night.
Rounding out a wonderful cast of supporting players are Howard Freeman as the King of Spain and Reginald Owen and Constance Collier as the King and Queen of France. You don't doubt why Louis has Madame Pompadour around when you take one look at the Queen.
By the way Joseph Schildkraut comes to one of the most satisfying ends a villain ever got in film. You'll have to see Monsieur Beaucaire and laugh all the way through to see what happens.
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