Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1947. Hope Enterprises. Screenplay by Edmund Beloin, Jack Rose. Cinematography by Lionel Lindon. Produced by Daniel Dare, Bob Hope. Music by Robert Emmett Dolan. Production Design by Hans Dreier, A. Earl Hedrick. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Ellsworth Hoagland.
Bob Hope is on death row waiting to be executed for murder and is visited by curious reporters who want to know his story. He flashes back to some time earlier when he was working as a portrait photographer, renting an office next to a private investigator (played in a tongue-in-cheek cameo by Alan Ladd). When gorgeous Dorothy Lamour visits Ladd’s office and the dick isn’t there to take her call, Hope steps in pretending to be ready for the job and, since she’s a hottie, decides to help her locate her missing uncle. This immediately plunges him into a dangerous conspiracy involving murderers, scientists and kidnapped witnesses that has him pinned for killing someone while trying the entire time to get Lamour into his embrace. If you’ve seen enough film noirs from this era you’ll have a good time seeing the genre sent up by Hope’s insouciant personality and the clever in-jokes (including a very funny cameo by the main couple’s Road movie co-star Bing Crosby), but it doesn’t quite zing effortlessly and a lot of the humour feels labored.