My Favorite Brunette (1947, Paramount Studios)
My Favorite Brunette is another Bob Hope movie that has unfortunately found itself in the public domain. That means there are TONS & TONS of DVD (and VHS) copies of this movie available from various super low-budget distributors and the print is rarely any good. There’s even some releases that show Dorothy Lamour on the cover only and try to downplay that Bob Hope is even in the movie. I once saw a VHS copy years ago that was sad bad it was unwatchable; the audio was atrocious and it wasn’t from the typical wear ‘n’ tear of the VHS cassette itself.
I have to give credit to Digiview Productions’ copy they released in 2004 — it’s actually a pretty good print. Whether they found a cleaner one or did clean-up on their own, it’s good, though the audio seems to hiss for a bit during the opening. I’ve read Shout! Factory’s The Bob Hope Collection features the best available print these days. I plan on buying that set some day so I can own The Seven Little Foys so it’ll be interesting to check out the rest of that public domain collection to see how much cleaning up they did.
More praise for my Digiview copy — I love the cover art. Out of all the various releases for this movie, this is the cover I like best. Looks like they used original promo art and that same photo of Bob & Dorothy is nicely printed on the disc itself. I don’t remember where I bought this copy but it’s in one of those flat DVD cases that typically is reserved for $1 videos, so I’m guessing I got it at Walmart if I didn’t buy it used at some point on Amazon.
As for the original theatrical poster, I don’t really get it. At no point does Hope wear a mustache and Lamour doesn’t walk around in a sarong (though that’s what she was famous for doing). I found a promo photo that tries to explain the mustache with a spoof of Sherlock Holmes but the movie isn’t that type of detective story. This is a film noir spoof, you get that idea from the Digiview cover art but now the original movie poster.
As for the movie itself, it’s fun and it deserves more than a life in the public domain but it’s not one of Bob’s best movies. Bob stars as a baby photographer who ends up impersonating a private eye and gets wrapped up in a mystery concerning a group of crooks trying to swindle a uranium mine. This is the second in the “My Favorite…” series (and it’s working title was The Private Eye). My Favorite Blonde (1941) & My Favorite Spy (1951) are more enjoyable comedies but this is still worth looking act because of the talented cast (Peter Lorre and Lon Chaney play criminals). Alan Ladd cameo’s as the real P.I. and there’s a really funny Bing Crosby cameo too!
This was the first Paramount movie to be made in conjunction with Hope’s Bob Hope Enterprises production company.