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Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
USA
1951

 

While on his way to Tangier to purchase a microfilm containing important war secrets, foreign spy Eric Augustine (Bob Hope) is wounded and captured by the authorities. Burlesque comedian Peanuts White (Also, Bob Hope); a dead ringer for Augustine is recruited by the government to take over Augustine’s mission. He’s briefed in the role of the suave and romantic Augustine, dressed to look exactly like him and is thrust into the world of espionage and international intrigue. In Tangiers, he meets Lily Dalbray (Hedy Lamarr), Augustine’s sweetheart, a beautiful spy working with Karl Brubaker (Francis L. Sullivan) mastermind of the spy ring. All of Bob Hope’s “My Favorite” films (My Favorite Blonde, My Favorite Brunette, My Favorite Spy) were parodies of classic genre films. Directed by Norman Z. McLeod (Topper, Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

***

In the comedy My Favorite Spy (1951), Bob Hope plays a dual role as a third-rate comic named Peanuts and an international spy named Eric Augustine. When federal agents discover Peanuts' resemblance to Augustine, they convince him to go to Europe and pose as the spy in order to retrieve some valuable microfilm. Hedy Lamarr co-stars as Augustine's girlfriend, and comic hijinks ensue.

Though she had recently scored a big hit in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949), Lamarr was at the beginning of a career decline from which she would not recover. She was still gorgeous, and perhaps, she thought, Hope's star wattage would rub off a little. In her ghost-written "autobiography" Ecstasy and Me, Hope is presented as quite aggressively wooing her to play the role, showering her with gifts and attention. Lamarr was worried about being too inexperienced in comedy to play opposite him, but Hope reassured her, "No one's going to laugh at you. You play it straight. You're perfect for the part."

Lamarr was also, at this point, anxious about the direction of her career and her personal life; she wanted another husband (she'd already married and divorced three times). As she is quoted, "I was beginning to get tired. Really physically tired. The emotional strain, plus the hours and the pressures, were taking their toll. I still looked good because I had the bone structure, especially facial; but I had to confess I wasn't a kid anymore. My ambitions were as strong as ever, but the strength to push them wasn't.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: December 17th, 1951

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:33:36 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: September 28th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

Olive Films Opus is releasing more Paramount films from the past - My Favorite Spy will come out on the same date as Where Love Has Gone, Once Is Not Enough, Knock on Wood and Harlow. The format is continuing being dual-layered, progressive and bare-bones.  

This looks excellent - solid contrast and good detail with only some minor speckles as a negative. Quality is consistent with no damage at all - source must have been in terrific shape and it gives an impressive and extremely watchable video presentation. 

The unremarkable audio is flat mono but everything is consistent and dialogue very clear. Once again there are no extras or any subtitles.

I think the most appealing value of these Olive Film DVD releases is to watch and own movies that haven't been out before on disc. I may have seen My Favorite Spy at some point in my life - but don't recall. I do feel like it is one of the better entries in the extensive `Hope` comedy cycle. He's right at the top of his game here and couldn't have asked for a better co-star than Hedy Lamarr. While it may fall short of pure classic - his misadventures here are desperately fun.

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC



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