For Reel

My Favorite Blonde (1942)
November 13, 2014, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sidney Lanfield
4.5 Stars
My Favorite BlondeBob Hope would often make humorous comments about how deeply he lusted after British actress Madeleine Carroll on his radio show. His fantasy was fulfilled when she would costar with him in 1942’s My Favorite Blonde, a Hitchcock-inspired spy comedy that had slightly more ambition than Hope’s usual one-note slapstick fare. The 39 Steps is clearly the mold here–besides Carroll’s presence, it also involves Nazi agents and an unlikely pairing embarking on a road trip of sorts. Hope is mostly reactionary in the early-goings, with the humor deriving from his reactions to Carroll’s peculiar behavior as she treats him as her husband for cover. It’s a familiar but successful dynamic, as are the romantic adventure elements that become more pronounced in the second half. The high stakes nature of the plot is perhaps what makes it all feel more pressing and grounded than the usual Hope picture, but director Sidney Lanfield also makes the most out of the smaller moments, such as an intimate trip aboard a freight train (a setting familiar to some of the most successful screwball comedies of the time).

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