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The Paleface Bob Hope's Technicolor western spoof The Paleface was one of the comedian's biggest box-office hits. Hope plays Painless Potter, a hopelessly inept dentist who heads west to seek his fortune. Meanwhile, buxom female outlaw Calamity Jane (Jane Russell) is engaged in undercover work on behalf of the government, in the hopes of earning a pardon for her past crimes. Jane is on the lookout for notorious gun-runner Robert Armstrong. To put up an innocent front, Jane marries the befuddled Potter, then keeps the criminals at bay by convincing everyone that Potter is a rootin'-tootin' gunslinger (actually, it's Jane who's been doing all the shooting). Armstrong, who has been selling guns to the Indians, arranges for Jane to be captured by the scalp-hungry tribesmen, but Potter comes to the rescue. Somewhere along the way, Bob Hope and Jane Russell get to sing the Oscar-winning Jay Livingston/Ray Evans tune "Buttons and Bows". There are many hilarious moments in The Paleface, but screenwriter Frank Tashlin felt that director Norman Z. McLeod failed to get the full comic value out of his material. To prove his point, Tashlin directed the side-splitting sequel, Son of Paleface (1952), which once more teamed Hope and Russell. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Cat and the Canary The classic "old dark house" motif is given sterling treatment in this second filmed version of the hit play. Bob Hope's status as a star was assured with his role as Wallie Campbell, the cowardly protector of Joyce Norman (Paulette Goddard), who must spend one night in the eerie mansion of her late, eccentric, millionaire uncle. If she can make it through the night without losing her mind, Joyce stands to inherit her uncle's entire fortune. Of course, all the other potential heirs now have a motive to drive her insane. The frights are nonstop as hands reach out from nowhere, people disappear between trap doors, the halls echo with terrifying sounds, and secret doorways lead to hidden passageways. Three people are murdered before Wallie solves the mystery and sees Goddard through the night. Hope integrates his wiseacre comedic style into a essentially straight role, with the humor well-placed in the otherwise moody material. Creepy lighting and music also aid director Elliott Nugent in crafting an effective and fun version of one the genre's archetypal stories. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi
Nothing But the Truth In this version of the oft-filmed stage play by James Montgomery, Nothing But the Truth stars Bob Hope as an up and coming young stockbroker working in Florida. He makes a bet with his coworkers that he can tell nothing but the absolute truth for 24 hours, and the other bettors are determined to keep tabs on him to make sure he doesn't falter. The rest of the action takes place aboard a yacht, where Hope's undiplomatic truthfulness gets him into hot water with a wealthy client, several other influential people, and his girl friend (Paulette Goddard). Hope's coworkers contrive to trick Hope into losing his wager, but African-American valet Willie Best foils their scheme. The picture ends with Hope having to explain his curious behavior for the past 24 hours without offending anyone (P.S.: he pulls it off). Nothing But the Truth was Paramount's third Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard costarring effort, all three based on past stage successes. The film lay unseen for years after its 1941 release due to legal tangles, but was finally made available again through the auspices of film historian Leonard Maltin in the early 1980s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Ghost Breakers Paramount followed up its successful Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard co-starrer The Cat and the Canary (1939) by warming up another venerable "old dark house" stage play, Paul Dickey and Charles Goddard's The Ghost Breaker, pluralizing the title to accommodate both stars. This time Hope plays radio personality Lawrence L. Lawrence (the middle initial stands for Lawrence: "My folks had no imagination") who has to flee New York to avoid being mistakenly arrested for murder. He and his manservant Alex (Willie Best) book passage on a Cuba-bound liner, where they meet lovely heiress Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard). She is heading to Cuba to take charge of her ancestral mansion, despite warnings from several sinister characters that to enter this "haunted" house will mean certain death. Appointing himself Mary's protector, Lawrence investigates the mansion on his own, thereby crossing the path of a zombie (Noble Johnson) and an apparently genuine ghost. He also meets the twin brother of the man he's accused of killing (Anthony Quinn), who seems the most likely suspect when Mary nearly comes to harm. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Thanks for the Memory The popularity of both Bob Hope and the sentimental tune "Thanks for the Memory" by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin in The Big Broadcast of 1938 led to this plodding little domestic comedy-drama in which Hope plays a stay-at-home author and Shirley Ross his working wife. The situation is, of course, ripe for misunderstandings, and soon each spouse accuses the other of infidelity, with everything neatly solved in the final reel. In addition to the title tune, Hope and Ross also perform Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser's "Two Sleepy People." The film was an unofficial remake of the 1931 production Up Pops the Devil. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
The Road to Morocco
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