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May 12, 2010


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I honestly think that line is "You mean like Democrats?" I just saw that clip a couple of weeks ago. I could be wrong.

Glenn Kenny

@ Bill: Nope. Just wrote this up after popping the DVD out. AND I took notes!

Hope DID do similar lines in other pictures, such as "The Ghost Breakers," and did switch the names of the parties as the tenor of the times indicated. But here it is "Republicans," which does make sense for 1939...

The Siren

Nifty Hope defense. I couldn't abide Hope's later incarnations--aside from the weak material, there was this rather obvious nastiness lurking underneath. It isn't there in the early stuff and some of his movies are quite funny. You may mark me as a fan of Beau James. And I'm pretty excited to see this one too.

And zing! to Christopher Hitchens. Speaking of people whose shtick is wearing thin to the point of threadbare...


Ah, well, there you go. The clip I saw was, I've since discovered, from THE GHOST BREAKERS.

Ernie Blitzer

I think that you can separate Good Hope from Bad Hope around the time the Sixties acquired that capital "S." The ultimate dividing line may be found in the book Pictures at A Revolution, where Mark Harris talks about Hope's quips as the MC of the 1968 Oscars, where he made a series of jokes about- ho, ho!- how the ceremony had been delayed a few days, implying that the delay was ridiculous and unnecessary.

Reason for postponement? The murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

But that said, that 1930s/1940s Hope was one of the great American "characters," a contemporary equivalent to Dickens or Twain's best in showing a cowardly, snarky but ultimately lovable loser who the worst and best of us could recognize as our own.


1940s Hope is superb-- the ROAD comedies remain as fresh as ever (well, the forties ones, anyway), and I loved THE GHOST BREAKERS, so I'm really looking forward to THE CAT AND THE CANARY (and hooray for Paulette Goddard, too, who remains an underrated comic foil, I'll watch her in just about anything). I really love the passion and excitement that leaps off the screen in this post-- very contagious, and way more fun than a Hitchens column.

Tom Block

Glenn, this guy says he has "Seven Footprints to Satan" but with Italian subtitles. Since it's silent the titles may not be an issue.


I'd never seen that Metcalf column about "The Searchers"--I'm fucking speechless. There's something wrong--a misrepresentation, a mangled fact, a false assumption--in almost every single point he makes. (And since he slings them around so much, I'm also sick unto death of the terms "film geek/nerd/dork/fanboy". You really want to hold yourself out as some kind of obsessive specialized twerp? Hey, baby, have at it. It's really not a good look, though.)


Not sure what bootleg copy I watched, but I saw "Cat" on DVD this past summer. Transfer was not great, but certainly watchable.

Stephen Whitty

Thanks for this heads-up, Glenn. ANY chance to see the lovely Paulette Goddard is a gift. She could be wonderfully cool and kittenish, when freed of Chaplin's sentimentality.

And agree with the Siren about the early Hope (about the later Hitchens, too, but that's another thing entirely).

Hope could be very quick and the Road films are marvelously surreal at times. And -- as I think he admits -- Woody Allen appropriated a lot of his early lascivious coward shtick from them (with Tony Roberts, I guess, as his Bing).

Glenn Kenny

@ Stephen: Re Allen, indeed; all that and more. In fact, "Love and Death" is as much a homage to Hope as it is to Russian film and literature. Maybe even moreso. "My mother, folks..."


Hitchens going off on Hope was insensitive, but he gets a free pass from me for pissing all over the grave of that hatemongering demon Jerry Falwell. That guy's death should have been a national holiday.

I found The Ghost Breakers on laserdisc a while back and never checked it out. Now is a good a time as any, I imagine...

D Cairns

The copy of Seven Footprints that's in circulation has Italian intertitles, which is an issue if you don't speak the language. You can either pause and babelfish each one, or make up your own story. But far more seriously, the picture quality is fuzzy to the point of incoherence. A proper DVD release would be a wonderful thing: it may just be a silly romp, but you can tell it's stylish and fantastical and unique, even in the blurry version.

greg mottola

As a kid, I watched "The Cat and the Canary" every time it showed up on TV. Loved that movie ... and can't wait to see it again. Yes, humor is subjective, but was Hitchens lazily assessing the Hope he remembered from the 70s? Gotta love those "trash 'em while the body's still warm" obits (the NY Times did it to both Bergman AND Fellini)

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