7 January 2003 | GoonerAl
Bob at his Best
This is a great film for all Bob Hope fans and lovers of vintage comedy everywhere. The colour, as in a lot of these old movies, is very rich and is a real treat for the eyes. As pointed out by other reviewers, the theme is quite similar to that of Bob's earlier black and white film "Monsieur Beaucaire", but none the worse for it.
In order to save a group of merchants from bankruptcy, Bob, as Pippo Popolino, a miserable tailor's apprentice, agrees to impersonate the great lover "Casanova". As Casanova, he is engaged by a Duchess to test the love of her son's future bride and is promised a large sum of money if succeeding in the seduction. The jokes arrive thick and fast and as usual, Bob's delivery is masterful. Ironically though, for me, one of the funniest lines comes from Basil Rathbone who, playing Lucio, the former servant of Casanova sharing in the deception of the impersonation of his former master, declares to the hapless Pippo at a particularly frustrating moment "You'll never be anyone other than Pippo Popolino and I can't think of anything more insulting!". There are excellent supporting roles from the aforementioned Rathbone and Arnold Moss as the Doge, who our hero refers to as "a snake with a beard". There are some great visual jokes too with Bob remarking while dancing with his intended victim "I have a big following in Venice" at which point his sword drags a tablecloth loaded with crockery from a table, which he then trails behind him in the dance and tries to kick away nonchalantly. What really makes the film though is the pace and delivery of Bob's stream of one-liners.
Mr Hope at his very best!