My Favorite Brunette

Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Aug 09, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Comedy legend Bob Hope’s talents have stood the test of time, and in watching much of his work, one can still find laughs galore. My Favorite Brunette, released in 1947, is a film noir spoof that finds Hope working with his film series cohort Dorothy Lamour, as well as with drama/horror legends Peter Lorre and Lon Cheney, Jr. But what makes My Favorite Brunette so impressive is that a seventy year old film can still provide fresh laughs without ever feeling tired or dated.

Hope plays Ronnie Jackson, a hapless, bumbling, cowardly baby photographer who is envious of his next-door neighbor, the gritty and suave detective Sam McCloud (a cameo appearance by Alan Ladd). When McCloud goes out of town on business, he asks Jackson to look after his office and answer his phone, a duty Jackson relishes as it allows him to indulge in his gumshoe fantasies. It’s while he’s playing around in McCloud’s office that a mysterious woman named Carlotta (Dorothy Lamour) shows up, seeking McCloud’s assistance. She claims her husband has been kidnapped, and she needs McCloud’s help in finding him.

Yet all is not as it seems, as soon Carlotta is saying the kidnapped man is not her husband, but her uncle. Jackson is approached by the men Carlotta claims have kidnapped her husband/uncle, who then state that Carlotta is mentally ill, and that she has been making said claims for some time, out of desperation for attention. They state that her uncle is in fact on a secret mission for the government, when in fact they are criminals and smugglers, led by Kismet (Peter Lorre). But things get even screwier, and when Jackson and Carlotta wind up in a mental institution after Jackson happens upon their plans, the story takes a wild turn, eventually leading to the death of a police detective, the seeming disappearance of Carlotta, and Jackson being minutes away from the gas chamber.


What happens next is pure comedy delight, and one that shows how masterful a talent Bob Hope really was. My Favorite Brunette is pure fun, as it parodies both the then-dominant film noir genre and the comedic road movies Hope and Lamour had featured in alongside Bing Crosby. This little comedy is wholesome enough for the whole family but masterfully laden with charmingly subtle innuendo—in other words, Hope at his finest, doing what he did best.


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