CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: My Favorite Brunette

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For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

My Favorite Brunette is regarded as one of the top cinematic performances in the incredibly lengthy career of Bob Hope. But this 1947 film had a lot more going for it than just it’s leading man, who by this time had already become one of the biggest names in show business.

“Brunette” was actually the second of three “My Favorite…” movies that was produced by Paramount Pictures. Five years prior, Hope starred in My Favorite Blonde, which also featured Madalyn Carroll. Four years later, Hope returned for My Favorite Spy, co-starring Hedy Lamarr.

Aside from the title, the main star and a somewhat similar “misdirection/wrong identity” formula, the three movies had very little in common. “Brunette” was by far the most financially successful of the three films and was the only one of the three that was universally praised by critics and fans alike.

While the first film came at the peak of the film noir era and incorporated many elements from that time frame, “Brunette” was more of a classic romantic comedy. If anything, the second film poked fun at the noir-style, as that brand of filmmaking had, by that time, become passe. Clearly, the second film had jokes that were much funnier and fresher than its predecessor, which is no surprise when you look at the two writers who penned this screenplay.

Writer Jack Rose was coming off a successful turn in writing another Hope vehicle, The Road To Bali, which is also regarded by many as the best of that film series. Rose had success writing jokes for Hope and Milton Berle for each one’s radio shows. Rose would go on and be nominated for three Academy Awards for his writing and also scripted all of the episodes in the 1960s comedy, The Good Guys.

The other writer of this film was Edmund Beloin. Beloin had established himself as one of Hollywood’s best comedic scribes by co-writing all of the scripts for The Jack Benny Program when the program first became the number one rated show in the country in 1936.

He too had success in films in the latter 1930s and throughout the 1940s, also working with Rose on the “Bali” film. Beloin would go on to write for classic television shows like The Lucy Show, My Three Sons, and Mayberry RFD.

Speaking of “The Road To…” movies, “Brunette” also benefited from having Hope’s cohort in those films, Doroth Lamour, as a co-star in this flick. The chemistry between Hope and Lamour clearly works better than it does in the other “My Favorite” entries and makes this particular film’s pace much quicker, more familiar and thoroughly more entertaining.

One last benefit of this film is the supporting cast. Peter Lorre and Alan Ladd both lent solid contributions in advancing the movie’s plot while, at the same time, played against type. Both actors are used in the comedic take of poking fun at the noir style.

Fellow established movie veteran Lon Chaney Jr. was also featured prominently, playing Willie, which was based on his character in the film classic Of Mice And Men.

Last but not least was the cameo of Bing Crosby. Throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, it became almost expected that a film featuring any one of Hope, Crosby or Lamour, would have at least one of the others popping up for a brief, uncredited role in the film.

Tune in for My Favorite Brunette, this Monday at 2:30pm on RCN-TV. To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN-TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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