Before watching the movie:
“Noir spoof” sells. Bob Hope as a wannabe detective gets in over his head in a real case.
All I really have to say besides that is that I hope that handlebar caterpillar in the poster is a disguise, not worn for the entirety of the movie. But I doubt it.
Another selection from the great big box of movies loaned to me by my grandparents.
After watching the movie:
Shortly before being executed for a murder he didn’t commit, baby photographer Ronnie Jackson gets the opportunity to tell his story. He’d been longing for the excitement of being a detective, and begging the detective in the office across the hall to let him be his partner. Sam wasn’t interested, but was going out of town for the week, leaving Ronnie to answer the phone for him. Seconds after Sam leaves, Carlotta Montay enters the detective office, and mistakes Ronnie for Sam. Ronnie takes her case, head turned by her beauty, and gets involved in a caper involving a missing baron and mining rights for a lode of Cryptobar.
Sometimes it seems like movies fall into public domain because the rights holders didn’t care. Public domain films are often of low artistic/performance quality and, at best, forgettable. This is not such a film. Hope is on great form here, and the writing is, while nothing revolutionary, sparklingly witty. The plot is a bit harder to follow than I expected for a spoof, but the best spoofs are straight genre with jokes added.
The title could have been much better, but somebody decided that making it look like a relative of My Favorite Blonde was the way to sell it. As well as making a poster showing Hope’s giant head leering at Lamour in an outfit she never wears in the film while himself wearing a ludicrous mustache and deerstalker cap that likewise never appear. I thought that kind of marketing craziness only happened overseas.
This film is great fun, and leaves little desired. It’s not life-changing, but it’s highly enjoyable, and much easier to watch than to criticize. And as it’s in the public domain, anyone can watch it right now.