THE FUTURIST! has found these early Bob Hope films to be quite enjoyable. In the very beginning, Hope had not yet formed his definitive movie character ... the Hope we know ... the cowardly, yet full of false bravado, quipster who fancied himself a ladies' man. A conniver with a good heart. You see this character form in THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939) and even more so in another film he did with Paulette Goddard in 1940 ... THE GHOST BREAKERS. Often, Hope seemed to be ad libbing movie reference metaphors about the action in the story line ... but they were scripted. It was his effortless style that made his lines seem off the cuff. The very early films portray Hope as a greedy opportunist out for himself ... not evil, but an untrustworthy wise ass and usually playing an emcee of sorts.
The song below is from his first film entitled THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938. The movie actually starred W.C. Fields and a bunch of vaudeville spawned guest stars. It is a crazy quilt of a story involving a race between two giant ocean liners. Hope sings this song with co-star Shirley Ross who plays one of ex-wives. This moment is one of the best scenes in the somewhat pleasantly forgettable film. The tune is catchy and later became Hope's signature song. But, THE FUTURIST! just loves the acting in the scene that transpires as they sing. It is performed like a dramatic moment of insight into the past of these characters. Listen to each line ... the phrasing ... the hand gestures and asides. THE FUTURIST! feels this very scene with song shows the great actor that Hope was in film. And Shirley Ross is just as good.
Listen and watch:
THANKS FOR THE MEMORY
music: Ralph Rainger lyrics: Leo Robin
performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross
from the film THE BIG BROADCAST of 1938 (1938)