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Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) is a peaceful baby photographer who would
like nothing rather than become a hardboiled detective, just like his
next-door neighbour Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd) - and when McCloud leaves town
for a few days and asks Ronnie to handle his phone, Ronnie jumps the
opportunity and poses as McCloud - and before you know it, a beautiful
lady, Carlotta Montay (Dorothy Lamour) is in his office and asks him to
find her uncle Baron Stefan Montay (Frank Puglia) who she claims has been
abducted - and sh gives him a map he is to guard with his life ...
However, when Ronnie later that evening stops by the Montay residence,
he is convinced by the Montays' family friend Simon Montague (Charles
Tingle), the family doctor Lundau (John Hoyt) and kindeed Baron Stefan
himself that the Baron is not at all missing but Carlotta is suffering
from schizophrenia. For some reason though, the Baron is hidden away from
Carlotta, which makes Ronnie a little suspicious, everybody seems to want
to get their hands on Carlotta's map despite her schizophrenia, which
makes Ronnie more suspicious, and then he happens to take a picture of
wheelchairbound Baron Stefan walking about like he has never even seen a
wheelchair - which makes Ronnie most suspicious ... especially when
Montague's trusting henchman Kismet (Peter Lorre) starts throwing knives
at him ... and all of a sudden, Ronnie doesn't believe Carlotta is
Ronnie's investigations soon get him and Carlotta admitted to a
nuthouse, drawn into an international espionage affair that involves a
phony Baron Stefan Montay, and Ronnie becoming the prime suspect of a
murder he did not commit, which starts a nationwide manhunt.
Ultimately, Ronnie and Carlotta manage to trick all the baddies into
making a confession on record, but unfortunately Kismet is sneaky enough
to exchange records and when the police arrivs, the record is long gone,
and Ronnie is arrested for the murder after all, tried and sentenced to
death while Carlotta has made a smooth getaway.
Finally, Ronnie is saved from the gas chamber only minutes before the
execution when Carlotta has finally gathered enough evidence to have him
set free, including the photo of the phony Baron Stefan walking about, and
somehow, baby photographer Ronnie Jackson has saved the nation.
Bob Hope's frequent partner Bing Crosby has a small cameo as Hope's
would-be executioner, Lon Chaney jr has an amusing role as one of
Montague's henchmen who cracks walnuts in his elbow. Basically, he repeats
his performance of Lenny in Of Mice and Men
from 8 years earlier.
Often amusing if not always terribly on-point film noir parody
that manages to perfectly mimick film noir in atmosphere, but
somehow the story doesn't always quite match up, a few times too often
going for the obvious joke rather than subtle allusions. And Bob Hope, who
is basically his usual comic self, is not quite perfect as a parody of the
All that said though, My Favorite Brunette still packs plenty of
laughs and features some delightfully amusing supporting performances by
among others Lon Chaney jr, Peter Lorre and even Alan Ladd, and should be
seen by all film noir fans.