Monday, April 30, 2018

Film classics of the 20th century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRT WATER FOX,  NEVER BEEN KISSED, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADERTEA WITH MUSSOLINITHE LATE SHOW, SUMMER STOCKTHE FULLER BRUSH GIRL,  The Net,  Your Friends & Neighbors,  Shampoo,  The Player,  Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.


MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE kicks off with Bob Hope behind bars in San Quentin prison, on death row.  The 1947 comedy -- screenplay by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose, directed by Elliott Nugent -- proceeds backwards as Bob's Ronnie Jackson explains how he ended up on death row.


Baby photographer Ronnie Jackson dreams of being a private eye . . .


. . . like Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd) -- the private eye Ronnie shares adjoining offices with.  McCloud's leaving town and asks Ronnie to keep an eye on his office which is where he is when Carlotta Montay (co-star Dorothy Lamour) enters.


Hooked by her story and a map she provides, he takes her case -- while failing to explain he's not Sam McCloud.


He goes to meet her at Major Montague's mansion where he meets Kismet (Peter Lorre).


And he meets Montague (Charles Dingle).


At the mansion, he'll learn that Carlotta's father is missing, not her husband as she'd said.


He'll learn that Montague is not what he seems.  A number of scenes will recall Alfred Hitchcock's later film NORTH BY NORTHWEST -- especially when Ronnie takes the police to the mansion.

He'll be knocked out by Kismet who's looking for the map that Carlotta gave Ronnie.


He and Carlotta will be locked away in an institution that they'll escape from.


No sooner are they free from the institution and attempting to explain what's really taking place than Ronnie's framed for murder and they're on the run, hocking Carlotta's jewels for money.


They head to New York with a plan to trap the Major.


But the plan backfires.


And Ronnie ends up on death row.

But this being a comedy, there's a happy ending.


There's a surprise guest appearances at the very end that we won't spoil.

We will note that this movie is hilarious and that it demonstrates how effective both Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour could be.  It's definitely one of their best films -- either together or solo.

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