HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
   
 
Newest Articles
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
   
 
  Great Lover, The Clown courts Countess on Killer Cruise
Year: 1949
Director: Alexander Hall
Stars: Bob Hope, Rhonda Fleming, Roland Young, Roland Culver, Richard Lyon, Gary Gray, Jerry Hunter, Jackie Jackson, Wright Esser, Orley Lindgren, Curtis Loys Jackson Jr, George Reeves, Jim Backus, Sig Arno, Jack Benny
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: French police and an American private eye are after C.J. Dabney (Roland Young), a serial killer who uses innocent young Americans in a gambling racket. As Dabney sets sail aboard an ocean liner he spies his next patsy, Freddie Young (Bob Hope), an inept scoutmaster seemingly less interested in guiding his young charges than romancing beautiful aristocrat Duchess Alexandria (Rhonda Fleming). Cunningly positioning himself as Freddie’s romantic confidante, Dabney convinces the penniless American to pose as a wealthy man, all the while setting him up for a poker scam and a violent death.

More than any other comedian of his time Bob Hope’s style of humour worked especially well in comedy thrillers. Although some of these were simple spoofs, the best were proper suspense stories wherein Hope’s sparkling wit served to heighten the tension, as was the case with The Cat and the Canary (1939), The Ghost Breakers (1940), My Favourite Blonde (1941) and My Favourite Brunette (1947). Hope’s nervous wisecracks made him that more vulnerable a leading man. You cared about him, wanted him to survive the danger and consequently relished those moments when he came out on top. If Hope’s previous comedy thrillers poked fun at the old dark house and hardboiled private eye genres then The Great Lover (whose working title was indeed My Favourite Redhead, in light of flame-haired siren Rhonda Fleming) carries some small elements of Alfred Hitchcock. Not least in the mind games between killer and victim as Dabney, a crafty and genuinely chilling adversary, sets out to see that Freddie is corrupted and dependent upon his advice before set up for the kill.

Alexander Hall plays the murder mystery elements deadly straight aided by the shadowy noir stylings of D.P. Charles Lang, although the grainy transfer featured on the region 2 DVD does a disservice to his velvety textures. Things open on a surprisingly intense note as Dabney disposes of his first victim played by future Superman George Reeves. Thereafter both the humour and suspense hinge on the contrast between Dabney’s conniving ruthlessness and Freddie’s bumbling innocence. As in many a Warner Brothers cartoon, innocence triumphs over evil largely, for wont of a better explanation, because the force is with them. In this instance the force is part embodied by Freddie’s scout troop, a bunch of precocious know-it-alls who nonetheless bail him out of many a jam. The scouts also embody Freddie’s nagging conscience which ultimately proves the thing that not only saves his life but wins him the heart of Alexandria.

Despite an oddly unflattering hairdo, lovely Rhonda Fleming is a marvellous foil for Hope and brings no small amount of pathos to her role. Ten years later the pair teamed again for the comic western Alias Jesse James (1959). The charming screenplay, co-written Edmund Beloin, Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson - who went on to direct Hope in The Seven Little Foys (1955) and Beau James (1957) - is mildly risque for the period when detailing the comic courtship between the leads and crams an awful lot into a slim yet sprightly running time including an agreeably complex plot that hinges on a double-bluff. There are the expected delightful Hope quips along with an enjoyable post-modern cameo from Jack Benny seemingly playing himself (“Nah, he wouldn’t be travelling first class”), but beneath the irreverent surface it is a comedy of great skill and delicacy with a disarming degree of humanity. For example, the duet where Freddie and Alexandria plan out their happy future together in spite of their mutual lack of money. Hall cranks up the tension in the third act after an unexpected death finds Freddie framed for murder, culminating in a taut climax with Hope dangling from a rope above a ravenous shark while the killer menaces Fleming. All in all, The Great Lover serves as a potent example of how comedy thrillers can indeed be both comic and thrilling.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2696 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: