My Favorite Spy

1951

Comedy / Crime / Music

3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 59%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 1160

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 22, 2021 at 07:53 AM

Cast

Morris Ankrum as Gen. Frazer
Marc Lawrence as Ben Ali
Mike Mazurki as Monkara
Bob Hope as Peanuts White / Eric Augustine
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
860.08 MB
960*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 33 min
P/S 3 / 24
1.56 GB
1440*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 33 min
P/S 9 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 7 / 10

Hope's First Glimmer of Trouble.

As an entertaining comedy for Bob Hope, MY FAVORITE SPY is one of the best films in his career. It is typical for his normal plot line - a glib, slightly sleazy coward is forced into some job in which he conflicts with dangerous types. He manages to bungle his way to victory. It was the plot line for MY FAVORITE BLONDE, MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE, THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE, MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE. THE LEMON DROP KID, PALEFACE, SON OF PALEFACE, SORROWFUL JONES, even FANCY PANTS. In each film he'd be assisted by the heroine (Jane Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Lucille Ball, or whoever), and would confront serious villains like Bruce Cabot, Lloyd Nolan, Charles Dingle, Walter Slezak, Joseph Schildcraut, Otto Preminger, and Peter Lorre. In each of these films the villain is interested in money, stolen secrets, the chance at marrying the heroine, or power. The comedy would center on Hope's behavior and antics, sometimes pulling in the heroine and the villains as accidental recipients of Hope's blunders (like his attempt to give Lucille Ball a special hairdo in FANCY PANTS). If he confronts the villain the villain might be temporarily discomforted (like Schildkraut is momentarily in the duel sequence in BEAUCAIRE). But the villain is normally captured by outside forces running to Hope's rescue - he is incapable of beating the villains by himself (in FANCY PANTS he just barely beats Bruce Cabot with an assist by Teddy Roosevelt - John Alexander). It is all familiar, but Hope is still in top form.

It was in MY FAVORITE SPY (1951) that Hope finally got a glimmer of trouble in his paradise. The trouble was from his co-star: Hedy Lamarr.

Hedy Lamarr's movie career, unfortunately, is considered something of a joke today. From the start of it, her classic pornographic masterpiece ECSTASY, her critics considered her solely as a beautiful woman with little talent - a wooden actress. This is very unfair, because when given good direction and a top script (H.M. PULHAM, ESQ., THE STRANGE WOMAN, SAMSON AND DELILAH) she proved a first rate actress. Maybe she was not "Oscar" caliber, but she was close to it on these occasions. Moreover, Lamarr had brains. She actually is one of the few actresses who holds a patent. She was determined to show her best acting if she could.

When Hope made a comedy he chose actresses who were perfectly willing to be second bananas to him. Even long time "Road Film" partner Dorothy Lamour reacted to his comedy in their movies (in her case she usually could also depend on co-star Bing Crosby in those films; but she made MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE with Hope alone). It was rare for any of these actresses to act zany in his films. Hope liked it that way. He appreciated being at the center of attention in his films.

But with MY FAVORITE SPY he discovered that the formula would not totally work. Lamarr rarely had a chance to play pure comedy (HEAVENLY BODY with William Powell was more typical of the quiet comedies that she got cast in). She was determined to really be Hope's equal in this film - and Hope had problems with that.

In the plot of MY FAVORITE SPY, Lamarr was an adventuress named Lily Dalbray who had formerly been romanced by spy and thug Eric Augustine (Hope - playing a rather unscrupulous villain for a change). Augustine is injured while going to retrieve valuable microfilm, and the government find that he resembles a burlesque comic named Peanuts White (Hope again). They force White to go in place of Augustine. Lily has been hired by Eric's old rival and enemy Karl Brubaker (Francis Sullivan) to romance and stop or thwart Augustine. The film follows the mix-up, with Hope assisted by a government agent Tasso (Arnold Moss).

As I mentioned before the film is very entertaining, but Hope had problems he never experienced before. Lamarr insisted on equal comic time to Hope, especially in the conclusion - a slapstick chase involving a fire and a fire engine. Her performance in the film actually shows that she was enjoying slapstick. But most of her performance actually ended on the cutting room floor. Hope had control of the production, and saw to it. Lamarr protested but Hope had legal right to it. Lamarr never forgave Hope, and never appeared opposite him again in film (unlike other leading ladies) or on his television specials.

The film showed Francis Sullivan to good form as the forbidding Brubaker - who actually so hates Augustine that he tries to shoot him at the conclusion of the film. Although made by Paramount, one wonders if Sullivan was the original choice for the role. One can imagine Sidney Greenstreet playing Brubaker as well. Possibly Greenstreet was thought of for the film, but either was in poor health or had other commitments. Arnold Moss also does well as Tasso, having to deal with that hopeless simpleton Peanuts White. As I said Hope's film is entertaining, but he was put on notice that his formula could not last if he had problems with his cast. The next time it happened he was unable to control the filmed appearance of his co-star. It was Katherine Hepburn in THE IRON PETTICOAT.

Reviewed by blanche-2 8 / 10

Bob Hope in a dual role

1951's "My Favorite Spy" stars Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr, Francis L. Sulllivan and Mike Mazurki. Hope plays Peanuts White, a burlesque comedian, who bears a strong resemblance to a spy, Eric Augustine. When Augustine is injured, the government gets Peanuts to go in his place to Tangier with $1 million to collect some microfilm. Peanuts, like Hope's other characters, is a bona fide coward, but he goes after Harry Truman talks with him on the phone. ("Oh, she's out on tour?" Hope asks, referring to Truman's daughter Margaret, who at that time was pursuing a singing career.) When Peanuts arrives in Tangier, he meets the woman with whom Eric was previously involved, the beautiful nightclub singer Lily Dalbray. She's under orders from the other side to get the microfilm, so she acts as if she's ready to resume things with Eric. Unfortunately, the real Eric escapes from the hospital and makes his way to Tangier, causing the situation to become even more confusing as everyone chases everyone else.

Hope is very funny in this and does indeed create a second role in Eric Augustine, who has a much darker persona than Peanuts. There are some great laughs, my favorite scene being Hedy and Peanuts dancing in the hotel while his contact tries to get his attention. The part where Lamarr drives a fire engine while Hope hangs onto the ladder is funny as well.

Hedy Lamarr was 36 or so at the time of the filming and looks glorious, particularly in the form-fitting white sequined gown she wears during her nightclub act. It's so unfortunate that in Hollywood, once a woman turned 30, lead roles became so difficult to get. Lamarr was one of the most beautiful and glamorous women in film - at any age. She's basically straight man to Hope here and holds her own in what is a Dorothy Lamour part, right down to the nightclub act. She contributes to the foreign flavor of the film.

This isn't Hope's best film, but it's still very good with some great bits and laughs.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

Hope Plays For Peanuts

Haven't movie fans wondered how Bob Hope has managed to have so many glamorous leading ladies fall for the schnooky characters he played in his career? It's a source of amazement and amusement too. But I've always thought that was part of the secret of Hope's appeal, that if he could get the glamor girl, anyone could.

They don't get much more glamorous than Hedy Lamarr who was in the midst of a mini-comeback because of Samson and Delilah. Unfortunately the roles she got post DeMille didn't sustain her career.

When one works on a Bob Hope film as a leading lady you will definitely be second banana. Hedy Lamarr was not second banana material and that was a source of some friction between her and Hope. But being second banana was something she should have known walking in.

In My Favorite Spy, Hope was spoofing all those espionage/adventure films set in various exotic places like Casablanca. He gets to play a dual role here. First as Eric Augustine, Bogart like adventurer, and secondly as Peanuts White burlesque comic who is a dead ringer the U.S. government drafts into getting some secret microfilm before Sidney Greenstreet stand-in Francis L. Sullivan does. Of course Hope has a Peter Lorre type factotum in Arnold Moss.

Though uneven in spots, mainly because Hope doesn't have the chemistry between him and Lamarr the way he did with Jane Russell or Madeleine Carroll, or Dorothy Lamour, My Favorite Spy does have some good moments. My favorite moment is when the truth serum is administered to Peanuts White and he starts doing his burlesque shtick for Sullivan.

It's not the best of Hope's Paramount films, but it does have some good moments.

And besides only Bing Crosby could ever really expect to not be a second banana.

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