HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
Leprechaun Returns
Man in the Wilderness
Mug
Love Me Deadly
Look Away
J.C.
Filmworker
Sixty Glorious Years
   
 
Newest Articles
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
   
 
  Casanova's Big Night Hope springs eternalBuy this film here.
Year: 1954
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Bob Hope, Joan Fontaine, Audrey Dalton, Basil Rathbone, Hugh Marlowe, Arnold Moss, John Carradine, John Hoyt, Hope Emerson, Robert Hutton, Lon Chaney Jr., Raymond Burr, Frieda Inescort, Vincent Price
Genre: Comedy, Historical
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Pippo Popolino (Bob Hope), a humble tailor in Eighteenth century Genoa, impersonates the great lover and swordsman Casanova to try to woo lovely ladies like Francesca Bruni (Joan Fontaine) but is always found out. When the real Casanova flees town to escape his creditors he convinces Pippo to take his place. As a result a wealthy Genoan family mistake Pippo for the legendary lothario and task him to test the fidelity of intended bride Elena Di Gambetta (Audrey Dalton). Capitalizing on Pippo's predicament Francesca and scheming valet Lucio (Basil Rathbone) encourage him to pilfer Elena's petticoat as proof of seduction to collect their fee from the Gambetta family. To that end the unscrupulous pair try their utmost to transform hopeless schnook Pippo into a believable facsimile of the super-suave Casanova. Which proves no easy task.

Bob Hope was often at his best as an anachronistic comic presence in lavish period romps. So it is no surprise that Casanova's Big Night ranks among his funniest vehicles and is often singled out for praise by fans like Woody Allen (for what that's worth nowadays). Having previously directed The Paleface (1948) along with several notable comedy classics, Norman Z. McLeod was among a handful of directors that knew exactly how to tailor a movie around Hope's precise talents. Here he weaves a relatively sophisticated farce worthy of classical Italian comedy yet peppered with Hope's machine-gun patter and lovable fourth-wall breaking silliness. Along with showcasing Hope's trademark quickfire quips the script, co-written by Aubrey Wisberg, Edmund Hartmann and Hal Kanter, goes some way towards crafting a sympathetic tragicomic hero. A man whose amorous ambitions not only exceed his grasp but leave him humiliated at every turn by smug aristocrats. Including Vincent Price in a cameo as the honey-tongued serial seducer himself. The arc of the plot charts how Pippo's innate decency slowly eclipses his cowardice. His refusal to take advantage of Elena (an endearingly sweet turn by beautiful Audrey Dalton) sparks qualities he did not know he had that do not go unnoticed by Francesca.

Casanova's Big Night may not quite scale the same heights as Hope's previous period comedy, the thematically similar Monsieur Beaucaire (1946), but maintains a consistent hit rate of gags. Highlights include a musical scene where Hope serenades the swooning ladies of Venice by gondola like a cut-rate Bing Crosby, a slapstick sword-fight, his big dramatic soliloquy sharing a jail cell with a cackling Lon Chaney Jr. (which ends with a great punchline) and funniest of all: the costume ball with Bob and Joan in reverse drag, donning an ill-fitting ball gown and mustache respectively. Audiences at the time may have been surprised to see serious actors like Basil Rathbone (making his return to the screen after a five year absence) and especially Joan Fontaine in a Bob Hope comedy. Happily, far from slumming it, both enter into the spirit of the farce with great gusto. Fontaine in particular is a minor revelation exhibiting hitherto unseen comic talent. She upholds a longstanding tradition of Hope leading ladies cast as characters smarter, braver and more capable than ol' ski-nose's stock persona. Not only does Joan Fontaine handle most of the sword-fights and save Hope's life multiple times, she performs a hilarious mock-German accent. At a brisk eighty-six minutes Casanova's Big Night is a breezy, often delightful comic trifle that wisely does not outstay its welcome and climaxes with arguably one of the most memorable endings featured in any Bob Hope comedy.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 643 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: