My Favorite Blonde (1942)

“Do you know what it feels like, to be followed and hounded and watched every second?”

Synopsis:
A vaudeville performer (Bob Hope) goes on the lam with a British secret agent (Madeleine Carroll) after being framed for murder by a Nazi spy (Gale Sondergaard).

Genres:

Review:
The first of three similarly-titled satires which paired Bob Hope with a classic Hollywood beauty (followed by My Favorite Brunette with Dorothy Lamour in 1947, and My Favorite Spy with Hedy Lamarr in 1951), this comedic thriller — co-written by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama — allowed Madeleine Carroll the opportunity to spoof her most famous film, Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935). While it’s full of plenty of humorously throw-away one-liners and gags, however, the film as a whole isn’t as consistently enjoyable as My Favorite Brunette (the best of the “series”). It’s interesting to know that Hope (in real life) was head-over-heels in lust with Carroll, who was going steady with Sterling Hayden at the time and eventually broke Hope’s heart by marrying Hayden on the sly; in the film, Carroll’s “push-me-pull-you” romantic teasing with Hope seems like an especially appropriate fictional approximation of these tensions. Watch for a cute shot showing Hope’s trained penguin, Percy, bowing to the audience in roller skates.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A high-energy satire of Hitchcockian thrillers

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look.

Links:

One Response to “My Favorite Blonde (1942)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see – a consistently tiresome ‘comedy’. Even though it’s not great, ‘My Favorite Brunette’ is the best of the three films in this series.

    Competently produced and photographed, ‘Blonde’ nevertheless plods along – being unfunny (sometimes painfully so). The rare line or exchange that *is* witty –

    ‘My name is Karen Bentley – I can’t tell you any more.”
    “My name is Larry Haines – there’s no more to tell.”

    – only serves to highlight how lame the rest of the script is.

    Carroll is at least pleasant to watch throughout and handles herself with complete conviction – all the more impressive considering she has nothing to play off of. But why cast the terrific Sondergaard appropriately as a Nazi spy and then give her next-to-nothing to do?

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