“Listen to me, Beaucaire — your life is in danger!”
During the reign of Louis XV (Reginald Owen), a French barber (Bob Hope) who has recently been spurned by his ambitious girlfriend (Joan Caulfield) is forced to impersonate a duke (Patric Knowles), whose upcoming marriage to a Spanish princess (Marjorie Reynolds) will supposedly stop imminent war between the two countries.
Based on a novel by Booth Tarkington, this farcical costume drama is a classic Bob Hope feature, featuring the beloved ski-nosed star bumbling his way through numerous semi-dangerous scenarios — all while keeping an eye on the girl he hopes to win (in this case, an enjoyably feisty Joan Caulfield), and spouting characteristically snappy come-back lines:
Count D’Armand: Go on! Help him!
Monsieur Beaucaire: Who me?
Count D’Armand: Yes, you! You’re a man. You’ve got blood in your veins.
Monsieur Beaucaire: I wanna keep it there. It’s the squirty kind.
How much you’ll enjoy Monsieur Beaucaire depends precisely on how funny you find this kind of exchange. For myself, I find that a little of Hope goes a long way — and having watched soooo many of his films in recent months, I’m feeling a little weary at this point. In fact, now that I’ve finished reviewing all of the Bob Hope titles in Peary’s book, I think I can safely say that you only need to a see a couple of his films (one of the Road To… flicks with Bing Crosby, and what I consider to be Hope’s best satirical vehicle — My Favorite Brunette) to get a sense of what his enduring popularity was all about. If you’re a fan, rest assured that there are plenty of other competent Hope films out there — like this one — to enjoy.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Plenty of Hope’s typically light-hearted humor
No, though naturally Hope fans will want to check it out. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.