Son of Paleface (1952)

“You, sir, have cast aspersions on my dear old daddy — the brave, low-down, mangy, crooked, drunken hero that won the West!”

Synopsis:
The grown son (Bob Hope) of a notorious pseudo-sharpshooter travels West to retrieve his father’s fortune, but quickly finds that it’s been hidden. Meanwhile, a federal agent (Roy Rogers) is hot on the trail of the beautiful leader of a gang of thieves (Jane Russell), who Hope promptly falls in love with.

Genres:

Review:
This sequel to the enormously popular comedic western The Paleface (1948) is widely considered to be even better, thanks to the direction and vision of Frank Tashlin (who scripted the original film, but was disappointed with how it was executed by director Norman Z. McLeod). To be honest, however, I don’t really find this one to be all that funnier or more original — with the exception of some amusing visual gags sprinkled throughout (sure to appeal to those who enjoy Tashlin’s uniquely “cartoonish” sense of humor). On the plus side, Russell is just as bodacious and sassy here (playing a character named “Mike”) as she was portraying Calamity Jane. On the negative side, Hope’s character (an acknowledged “idiot”) is even more of a ninny than his notorious father, Painless Potter the dentist. The presence of Roy Rogers and Trigger provides a bit of historical interest, but Rogers’ acting range isn’t all that broad, and Trigger’s tricks — while cute and impressive — are few and far between.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Creative visual gags
  • Russell’s stunning gowns

Must See?
No, though it’s recommended for fans of Hope, Russell, and/or Tashlin.

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One Response to “Son of Paleface (1952)”

  1. Not a must; certainly ‘The Paleface’ will suffice as a once-must. I agree that this sequel is not necessarily better than the original. It’s innocuous-enough as light entertainment but there does seem to be something of a forced quality about it.

    With more contemporary films, there appears to be pressure on writers/directors to come up with sequels that in some ways surpass what went before. Clearly that was not the case decades ago – when sequels would more often coast on prior success.

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