My Favorite Blonde/Star Spangled Rhythm [DVD]

Two big Bob Hope hits from 1942 are matched up in this special video package. My Favorite Blonde features Hope in a tale of comic espionage; his co-stars include Madeleine Carroll and Gale Sondergaard. A host of Hollywood's biggest stars turned out for the morale-raising musical Star-Spangled Rhythm; along with Hope, the guest list includes Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Ray Milland, and many, many more.
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Overview

Synopsis

Star Spangled Rhythm
Star-Spangled Rhythm is a typical wartime all-star musical-comedy melange, this time from Paramount Pictures. The slender plot involves the efforts by humble studio doorman Pop Webster (Victor Moore) to pass himself off as a big-shot Paramount executive for the benefit of his sailor son Jimmy (Eddie Bracken). The overall level of humor can be summed up by the scene in which Webster is advised that the best way to pretend to be a studio big-shot is to say "It stinks!" to everything -- whereupon Cecil B. DeMille shows up to ask Webster's opinion about his current production. Betty Hutton, cast as studio switchboard operator and co-conspirator Polly Judson, is at her most rambunctiously appealing here. The huge lineup of guest performers includes Bing Crosby (and his 8-year-old son Gary!), Bob Hope, Veronica Lake, Dorothy Lamour, Dick Powell, Mary Martin, Alan Ladd, Fred MacMurray, William Bendix, Paulette Goddard, and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, most (but not all) of them going through their characteristic paces. Highlights include a surrealistic rendition of That Old Black Magic with Johnnie Johnston and Vera Zorina; a frantic staging of the old George S. Kaufman sketch "If Men Played Cards as Women Do" with MacMurray, Ray Milland, Franchot Tone, and Lynn Overman; and The Sweater, the Sarong and the Peekaboo Bang, first performed by Goddard, Lamour and Lake, then lampooned in drag by Arthur Treacher, Sterling Holloway and Walter Catlett! PS: The actor playing Rochester's chauffeur in the Smart as a Tack number is John Ford "regular" Woody Strode. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

My Favorite Blonde
Each of Bob Hope's "My Favorite" films (My Favorite Blonde, My Favorite Brunette, My Favorite Spy) was, by accident or design, a parody of a dead-serious movie genre. 1942's My Favorite Blonde, for example, was a takeoff of Alfred Hitchcock in general and Hitchcock's 39 Steps in particular. Two-bit vaudeville entertainer Hope gets mixed up with gorgeous blonde British-spy Madeline Carroll. The "maguffin" (Hitchcock's nickname for "gimmick") which ties the two stars together is a ring which contains the microfilmed plans for a revolutionary new bomber. Hope and Carroll are forced to take it on the lam when Hope is framed for murder by Nazi-agents Gale Sondergaard, George Zucco et. al. Highlights include Hope eluding capture by impersonating a famed psychologist (watch for Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as Hope's most contentious "patient"). Madeline Carroll also got several opportunities to shine comedically, especially when she lapsed into cloying baby talk while posing as Hope's wife. Bob Hope was hesitant to work with My Favorite Blonde director Sidney Lanfield, having heard of Lanfield's reputation as an on-set dictator. However, the two got along so swimmingly that they would collaborate on such future top-notch Hope farces as Let's Face It (1943) and The Lemon Drop Kid (1951). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Victor Moore
    Victor Moore - Pop Webster
  • Betty Hutton
    Betty Hutton - Polly Judson
  • Eddie Bracken
    Eddie Bracken - Jimmy Webster
  • Anne Revere
    Anne Revere - Sarah
  • Walter Abel
    Walter Abel - Frisbee
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