The Bob Hope Collection, Vol. 2 [3 Discs] [DVD]

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The Great Lover
In The Great Lover, Bob Hope plays "Boy Rangers" scoutmaster Freddie Hunter, who accompanies his young charges on a European tour. During the ocean voyage to the continent, Freddie falls under the influence of erudite cardsharp O. J. Dabney (Roland Young), who promotes a romance between Freddie and Duchess Alexandria (Rhonda Fleming), the daughter of chronic gambler Grand Duke Maximillian (Roland Culver). What Freddie doesn't know (but the audience does) is that Dabney is not only a crook, but a murderer. Musical highlights include the peppy romantic ballad "A Thousand Violins," delivered by a delightfully intoxicated Rhonda Fleming. Watch for cameos by George "Superman" Reeves and Jack Benny. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cancel My Reservation
The title of this Bob Hope vehicle Cancel My Reservation is a multiple pun, referring to elements in the story. The ever-youthful Hope plays Dan Bartlett, a late-night TV talk show host. Frazzled, he takes a much-needed vacation in Arizona. There, he stumbles upon a murder and a conspiracy by local rancher, John Ed (Ralph Bellamy) to defraud a local Native American group of part of its reservation. Dan is a suspect in the murder, and must investigate in order to clear his name. Though the story is rather light, celebrities of all sorts have either small parts or cameos in this film, and much of the film's entertainment value comes from spotting them. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell
O'Farrell (Bob Hope) is a navy sergeant who tries to boost the moral of the men by bringing in a shipment of beer. When the beer turns up missing, he calls an all-out search for the suds. In the process, O'Farrell captures a Japanese submarine single-handedly and tries to pilot the boat to safety. Phyllis Diller stars as the nurse who does absolutely nothing for troop moral in this uneven and poorly conceived comedy. Gina Lollobrigida and Jeffrey Hunter also star in the feature. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

How to Commit a Marriage
Frank Benson (Bob Hope) and his wife, Elaine (Jane Wyman), decide to end their marriage after 20 years. Their daughter, Nancy (Joanna Cameron), announces she wishes to marry her college sweetheart, David Poe (Tim Matheson). David's father, Oliver (Jackie Gleason), is against the union and tries to sabotage the relationship. Nancy ends up pregnant and puts the baby up for adoption. Frank and Elaine become the foster parents to their grandchild. Frank poses as the young couple's guru to get them to raise the child themselves. Leslie Nielsen plays Phil, a divorced man who dates Elaine, while Frank takes up with Lois (Maureen Arthur). Comedy ensues when, at Oliver's urging, Frank and Elaine join the rock group the Comfortable Chair. Another sequence has a chimpanzee beating a frustrated Frank easily in a game of golf. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Son of Paleface
A sequel to Bob Hope's 1948 box-office success The Paleface, 1952's Son of Paleface is a superior product in every way, thanks largely to the spirited, creative direction of Frank Tashlin. Hope is cast as Junior Potter, a Harvard-educated dude who heads West to claim the inheritance left him by his gunslinger father. Much to his chagrin, Junior discovers that his dad has left him nothing but debts. To stave off Potter Sr.'s angry creditors, Junior pretends that his father has salted away a fortune somewhere in the hills. This arouses the attention of curvaceous saloon owner Mike (Jane Russell), who doubles as a mysterious masked bandit known as The Torch. Meanwhile, Roy Rogers (playing a federal agent named Roy Rogers) keeps tabs on Junior, hoping that he'll lead him to The Torch and her gang. True to form, ex-cartoonist Tashlin fills the screen with a wealth of inventive sight gags and inside jokes: Cecil B. DeMille shows up as a photographer in one scene, while in another, Hope, about to embark on the film's wild climactic chase sequence, shoos away a couple of vultures wearing bibs, warning them that "You'll make the whole thing look impossible." Our favorite scenes: Hope's Wile E. Coyote-like reaction to a particularly potent drink, and his bedroom scene with Roy Rogers' wonder horse Trigger. And don't forget the film's slightly risque punch line "Let's see them top that on television," (you have to be there). Songs in Son of Paleface include "You Are My Valley of Sunshine," "Four-Legged Friend," "Wing Ding Tonight," "What A Dirty Shame," and a reprise of The Paleface's Oscar-winning "Buttons and Bows," performed by Hope, Russell and Rogers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Paris Holiday
Two of filmdom's finest farceurs--Hollywood's Bob Hope and France's Fernandel--are teamed in the location-filmed Paris Holiday. Since Hope coauthored the script, however, guess which actor has the largest part. Cast more or less as himself, Hope plays an American comedian who comes to Paris to purchase a script. Little does his suspect that the script contains secret messages pertaining to a vicious gang of counterfeiters. With the help of villainess-turned-heroine Anita Ekberg, Hope is committed to an insane asylum to protect him from the bad guys; he then must rely upon Fernandel to spring him from the looney bin. Throughout Paris Holiday, Bob Hope looks too old and too rich to be indulging in such nonsense. Film buffs will enjoy the brief, unbilled appearance by famed producer-director-writer Preston Sturges. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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