Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection (2010, Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Run time: 8 hrs. 24 min.
Bob Hope and the Road to Success
Entertaining the Troops
Command Performance 1944
Command Performance 1945
Hollywood Victory Caravan
This is a fantastic collection of six Bob Hope movies (all originally were released by Paramount Pictures but have found themselves under the control of Universal Studios in modern times). Some of these films I had never seen before and some had never even been released on DVD until this collection. I was browsing around on Amazon and came across this release (which I never knew existed) the other week and being the huge Hope fan that I am, I ordered myself a copy. My ultimate goal is to own all of Hope’s movies anyway so I figured I might as well knock down six in one shot (even if I already own Road to Morocco from another Hope box set).
Thanks for the Memory (1938)
Making its DVD debut as a part of this collection is one of Bob Hope’s earliest movies. Thanks for the Memory is a romantic comedy/drama that pairs Hope again with the very pretty Shirley Ross. Their first pairing was in 1938’s Big Broadcast of 1938, where they would duet and debut Hope’s signature song “Thanks for the Memories” (the song is again sung during this film). Ultimately, while seeing Hope in the early stages of his career is fun, the film never really seems to go anywhere. Literally. Almost the entire movie takes place in the couple’s cozy apartment… talk about feeling claustrophobic!
It’s pretty interesting to see Hope in this type of role as a solid, stand-up guy (though his wisecracks and one-liners are in good supply) instead of the skirt-chasing, dollar-chasing buffoon he would play throughout most of the 1940s and 1950s.
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
A remake of the 1927 film of the same (and there’s been various remakes over the years since), this particular version of The Cat and the Canary is set as a horror comedy though you’d be hard-pressed to know that by looking at the movie poster. The film has a cult following and it too is debuting on DVD as a part of this collection. I was really surprised (in a good way) by this film, I knew it was a mystery but was thinking because it was Bob Hope, the comedy was going to override all of that. In fact, the whole movie is played straight with only Hope adding comic relief at times. The theatrical trailer certainly sets the tone that this movie is a horror thriller. It’s just so weird to see Hope star in a movie like this but the film is very good and even if it did not feature Hope and was played completely straight, I think the film would still have a cult following.
The Ghost Breakers (1940)
Caught this one for the first time last year through Netflix and liked it a lot so I’m glad to finally own it. It’s another horror comedy co-starring Goddard but unlike The Cat and the Canary there’s much more comedy and romance thrown into this film and anything that could be deemed horrific doesn’t really sprout up until the third act once they finally get to the haunted house.
Nothing But The Truth (1941)
Another DVD debut and also the third movie in this collection to pair up Hope with the striking Paulette Goddard. These two definitely had some chemistry together. It’s a shame they only made three movies together. Bob Hope was teamed up with many beautiful women throughout the years but out of all of the women he was teamed up with, I think I like the Hope/Goddard pairing best (though obviously the chemistry with Dorothy Lamour and Lucille Ball was off the charts and the Paleface movies with Jane Russell made for a great pairing as well).
Paullette is truly the All-American girl next door, someone you’d love to take him to mom. She’s absolutely adorable and his warmth fills the screen. That innocent quality she brings works much better with the type of scheming buffoon characters Hope plays as opposed to him running around chasing some sexpot like Russell or Lamour.
Road to Morocco(1942)Another classic Road movie. Despite it being selected for preservation by the Library of Congress for the U.S. National Film Registry and despite it being listed at #78 on AFI’s 100 Funniest movies list, it has come under fire in modern times for its stereotypical portrayal of the Middle East.
While political correctness is something I’ll leave to others to argue about, this is the series’ best film and I enjoy it for what it is — a screwy comedy starring three classic actors with great chemistry.
The Paleface (1948)
Not to be confused with the 1922 movie of the same name, The Paleface sees Hope & Jane Russell tangling with dynamite smugglers and
Indians Native Americans. This is a fun movie with Bob being Bob and Jane Russell playing as his sexy no-nonsense protector Calamity Jane.
A sequel (Son of Paleface) followed in 1952 and this movie was remade as The Shakiest Gun in the West in 1968 and starred Don Knotts.
Overall, a GREAT collection if you’re a Bob Hope fan and since I only owned one movie from this collection already and hadn’t seen three of them, buying this was a no-brainer. All the films are enjoyable but Thanks For the Memory really pales when compared to the rest. Still, it’s interesting to see this set start with such humble film beginnings from Hope and then end with his trademark zaniness in Road to Morocco and The Paleface. I also strongly recommend checking out The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers for those that like comedy mixing with their horror.
Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection at Amazon.com