1942, Paramount. Directed by Sidney Lanfield. Bob Hope, Madeleine Carroll, Gale Sondergaard, George Zucco.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Teens & Up|
Content advisory: Mild innuendo and sensuality; semi-comic menace and violence.
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My Favorite Blonde (DVD)
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
One of Bob Hope’s best comic-thriller vehicles, My Favorite Blonde benefits from its semi-serious spy-thriller ambiance, tolerably cogent plot, scene-stealing penguin, and above all one of the more human, less caricatured, less one-dimensionally narcissistic characters in Hope’s movie oeuvre.
That character is Larry Haines, a vaudeville player whose trained-penguin act has him Hollywood bound — until he gets mixed up with a mysterious blonde named Karen Bentley (Madeleine Carroll, of the original The 39 Steps). Unbeknowst to Haines, Bentley is a British agent desperately trying to get time-sensitive intelligence information past a cadre of determined Nazi pursuers led by Gail Sondergaard and George Zucco. (That the plot never permits Bentley to demonstrate a credible level of espionage acumen is one of the film’s chief weaknesses.)
Typical screwball zaniness ensues, but the picture doesn’t really hit its stride until Haines finally learns what’s going on. This leads to one of the movie’s funniest sequences, a hilarious escape from a hotel room where they’ve been cornered. Shortly afterward, there’s a rare moment of soul-searching and moral feeling from a Bob Hope character, with Haines vacillating between manhood and mousehood. And when boy finally gets girl, for once there’s a sense that Haines’s feelings for Bentley don’t begin and end with the physical.