RARA-AVIS: Bob Hope, noir comedian

From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@adelphia.net)
Date: 29 Jul 2003

Watching the various tributes to Bob Hope, I was again struck by the idea that in the black and white movies he made in his prime, the 40s and early 50s, he was nearly as noir as Garfield or Mitchum or Bogart. He delighted in playing the loser. A brash loser, but a loser nonetheless. He takes it on the chin and loses the girl to Crosby in every Road movie save one and in that one, his and Lamour's child looks like Crosby. His "My Favorite Brunette" may be the best private eye parody (of "Murder My Sweet") ever filmed. Many if not most of the movies he made during that period involved crime -- and particularly vicious criminals. Otto Preminger leads a cadre of homicidal Nazis in
"They Got Me Covered." Roland Young of all people, as a strangler in "The Great Lover." (That film opens with Young choking George
"Superman" Reeves to death.) Francis X. Sullivan doing a Casper Guttman turn in "My Favorite Spy." In all, Hope is a hapless, hard luck hero being played for a sap by every other character, even the women who wind up falling for him.

Dick Lochte

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