“I’m not interested in dogs, women, or children — in the order of their importance.”
Vaudevillian Eddie Foy (Bob Hope) values his career above all else, but when he falls in love with a beautiful ballerina (Milly Vitale), they marry and begin having kids every year. After Vitale passes away, Hope decides to bring his seven kids on the road with him, much to the consternation of his stern sister-in-law (Angela Clarke), who is helping to raise them.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bob Hope Films
- Jimmy Cagney Films
- Raising Kids
- Vaudeville and Burlesque
- Widows and Widowers
Bob Hope starred in two “serious” dramas throughout his comedy-filled career, both biopics: this one about famed vaudevillian Eddie Foy, Sr. (whose act with his seven children made headlines) and Beau James (1957), about flamboyant New York mayor Jimmy Walker. In this earlier film, Hope comes across as essentially a variation on himself: wise-cracking, self-absorbed, and career-obsessed.
The script does little to elevate the basic storyline of a man whose devotion to his career trumps all else, even leading him to miss the news that his wife is dying (!). It’s no wonder poor Clarke is so pissed off, though she’s never given a chance to emerge as anything other than a dour killjoy.
The most famous sequence shows Hope and Jimmy Cagney (starring once again as George M. Cohan) dancing together on a tabletop at the Friar’s Club — but considering the scene that comes immediately after this, it’s simply more evidence of Foy’s misguided loyalties. The ending wraps things up in a conveniently Hollywoodized bow, but isn’t convincing for a second.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Hope and Cagney dancing together on a table top at the Friar’s Club
- Color VistaVision cinematography
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a Hope completist.