My Favorite Brunette (1947)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - Mar 19, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Woody Allen often stated that Bob Hope was a major influence on his work, and this is especially clear in My Favorite Brunette. Many of the gags and one-liners given to Hope would not seem out of place coming from Allen, with the crucial difference that the former delivers them "sincerely," whereas coming from the latter they would be tinged with irony. Brunette is a send-up of the "private dick" film, with Hope's take on a Phillip Marlowe type, giving him the chance to play his favorite "fish out of water" routine for all it's worth. For most of the film, the gags come fast and furious here, often making no sense but accumulating an irresistible force nonetheless. Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the way through, the tangled plot (an essential feature of the genre being spoofed) takes precedence and slows things down a little; it isn't a fatal change of pace, but it does keep the film from being the full-length laugh-fest it could have been. Hope is right at home with the material, and, of course, he gets good assistance from Dorothy Lamour. What's surprising is how delightfully funny Peter Lorre and (especially) Lon Chaney Jr. are. If My Favorite Brunette just misses being a classic comedy, it still has a great deal to recommend it.