26 July 2009 | dave13-1
A great intro to Bob Hope
My Favorite Blonde is not just one of Hope's very best films, but an excellent introduction for new fans. Hope's usual roles were as a vaudevillian or radio comedian who finds himself having to reluctantly participate in some dangerous intrigue which is way over his head, and this movie shows the formula at its cleanest and most smoothly executed. Madeleine Carroll plays a British agent delivering a coded message who has run afoul of Nazis operating in the U.S., and Hope, a ne'er do well road company performer who does an act with a penguin, meets her on a train and bravely (well, sort of bravely) pitches in to keep her safe. The cloak and dagger nonsense on the train is a deft nod to Carroll's star-making turn in The 39 Steps, and this movie has much of that earlier film's energy. Carroll and Hope banter amusingly as they are chased across half of the U.S. The bright dialogue is the film's best feature and Hope's reluctant hero persona, introduced in The Cat and The Canary and Ghost Breakers, is a fully polished comic gem at the the film's center. The look of the film is very 'film noir' with looming shadows and danger on staircases and other now-familiar devices, but it still comes off as fresh entertainment even now. This one movie alone was enough to convince me that Hope is one of the great comic actors in all of movie history and this is an excellent showcase of what he could do. Also a must see for fans of the deliciously sinister Gale Sondergaard, here at something near her best.