My Favorite Spy (1951)

“It’s nights like this that drive men like me to women like you for nights like this.”

Synopsis:
A vaudeville performer (Bob Hope) with an uncanny resemblance to wounded international spy Eric Augustine (also Hope) is recruited by the U.S. government to impersonate Augustine and obtain critical microfilm in Tangiers, where he falls for a beautiful but dangerous female agent (Hedy Lamarr).

Genres:

Review:
The third and final film in Bob Hope’s My Favorite… “trilogy” is also the least successful of the bunch. Lamarr is as beautiful as ever (and truly stunning in some of Edith Head’s dresses), but ultimately lacks the comedic sensibility and timing necessary for her role as Hope’s foil; she takes everything far too seriously. Hope, meanwhile, seems to be merely repeating his character from My Favorite Blonde (minus the trained penguin); at least his protagonist in My Favorite Brunette had the unique job of being a baby photographer. Equally disappointing is the failed use here of Hope in doppelganger roles: as others have commented, the one scene in which they’re both present on-screen is shot from such an awkward angle that it doesn’t quite look realistic, and the two characters never even have a chance to talk to one another. My Favorite Spy ultimately ends up feeling oddly similar to entries in the Road to… series, complete with Paramount’s faux-exotic backlots and soundstages — which suddenly shift to real-life outdoor sets in California during the film’s wacky slapstick ending (involving a firetruck and Spanish-speaking firemen — in Tangiers??). Stick with My Favorite Brunette as the only one of the My Favorite… outings that’s must-see for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Hope’s characteristically deadpan one-liners: “When I look into a girl’s eyes, I can tell just what she thinks of me. It’s pretty discouraging, too.”

Must See?
No; this one is strictly for Hope fans.

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One Response to “My Favorite Spy (1951)”

  1. Not a must. Just more ‘Hope-less’ piffle. Not all that funny, but with the occasional slight wit that could bring a smile.

    A Hope film without Crosby, though, is often a bit easier to take. I’ve no problem with his persona – there is certainly something inviting about it, compared to Crosby’s somewhat ‘icy’, removed demeanor. But it really is a shame that Hope (even when alone) labored under such awful writing material. (I do like Hope’s small, ‘evil twin’ bit, tho. And I like that he doesn’t talk in the dual role.)

    Fave bit: the kissing camels.

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