For Reel

Fancy Pants (1950)
August 21, 2016, 12:33 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: George Marshall
2 Stars
Fancy PantsBob Hope and Lucille Ball teamed for the second time in this loose adaptation of the Leo McCarey classic Ruggles of Red Gap, with Hope attempting to fill the sizable shoes of Charles Laughton. That Hope is so unconvincing as an English butler is wrought into the script—he’s a lousy American actor who only barely passes as one! Director George Marshall had worked with Hope on one of his most successful pictures in The Ghost Breakers, but here the storytelling is shallow and inept. If it hits the notes of a traditional romantic comedy involving a confused identity, Marshall’s flat direction and the rushed script gives the film no sense of an emotional trajectory, much less a suspense in the growing infatuation between the unlikely couple. No one involved seems inspired to use the drawing room comedy as the canvas for a Hope genre subversion, and the western elements that become introduced late in the picture are tangential at best. While viewers going into a Hope picture are not necessarily expecting emotional resonance, one would have liked to see this re-imagining carry over a fraction of the sensitivity of its predecessor, which is among the most heartfelt dramas of the 1930s.