I love the old comedies. I adore Abbott and Costello. I love Laurel and Hardy. I enjoy the Three Stooges. I relish Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Most of the modern day comedies just leave me flat. But show me Abbott and Costello’s rapid-fire banter or Hope and Crosby ad-libbing their way down a “Road” and I’m in comedy heaven.
My Favorite Brunette is a romantic comedy film released by Paramount Pictures in 1947. Directed by Elliott Nugent, My Favorite Brunette stars Bob Hope as baby photographer and wanna-be detective Ronnie Jackson. Also starring are Dorothy Lamour as femme fatale Carlotta Montay, Peter Lorre as dour henchman Kismet, and Lon Chaney, Jr. as slightly looney Willie. There are also cameo appearances by Alan Ladd and Bing Crosby.
The story is told in flashback from San Quentin prison as Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) tells reporters how he ended up on death row. He is a baby photographer who desperately dreamed of being a dashing private detective. One day a mysterious lady in distress (Dorothy Lamour) mistakes Ronnie for his next door neighbor, private eye Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd). Soon, Ronnie is involved in a mystery that has him sneaking around a gloomy mansion, running from dastardly thugs, imprisoned in a private sanatorium, and framed for murder.
Some fun scenes and funny dialog to look out for:
– Ronnie (Hope) describes his longing to be a detective: “You see, I wanted to be a detective, too. It only took brains, courage and a gun…and I had the gun.”
– Dorothy Lamour wears a 14-karat gold dress which famous costume designer Edith Head made out of the last of the gold-plated cloth in Paramount studio’s pre-war stock.
– Ronnie describes Carlotta: “Uh oh, her schizo’s about to phrenia.”
– Ronnie moons about Carlotta: “Nutty as a fruitcake and with all that beautiful frosting.”
– Longtime Bob Hope partner Bing Crosby makes a cameo appearance at the end of movie but has his fondest movie hopes dashed.
Some fun film tidbits:
– My Favorite Brunette was the first production of Hope Enterprises, Inc.
– The film was Dorothy Lamour’s thirty-fifth picture.
– My Favorite Brunette spoofs popular mystery and film noir movies of the day.
– Peter Lorre’s character, Kismet, is a comedic take on his many film noir roles.
– Lon Chaney’s character, Willie, is based on his character of Lennie in Of Mice and Men.
– Bob Hope made two other “My Favorite” movies but none of the three films are related except for the similar titles: My Favorite Blonde (1942) and My Favorite Spy (1951).
But best of all, My Favorite Brunette is available FREE for the viewing in the Public Domain at The Internet Archive. The sound quality is excellent. The visual quality is a bit rough in places, especially during the opening. But overall, My Favorite Brunette is just a plain great old-fashioned comedy.
Click the link to watch My Favorite Brunette, FREE at The Internet Archive.