Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Lazy Sunday Afternoon Movie: BACHELOR IN PARADISE(1961)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Movie: BACHELOR IN PARADISE(1961)

I think my initial introduction to Bob Hope was via his humorous cameo in SPIES LIKE US("Doctor. Doctor. Glad I'm not sick"). I never really paid him much attention at the time. It wasn't until years later when I would hear Woody Allen speak of him in reverent tones about just how big an influence he was. Allen cited Hope's performances in MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE and THE GREAT LOVER as particular impactful and informative in terms of him developing his own comic persona. When I finally watched those films, I could absolutely see the through line. Those films also opened the door for me as far as my current fascination with Hope. He can certainly be kinda hit or miss, but in coming across other gems of his like ALIAS JESSE JAMES, I continue to sift through his filmography.
In BACHELOR, Hope plays a jet-setting author who writes books like 'How The Swedes Live' and 'How The French Live'. After a snafu with his business manager, he is put into a state of "instant poverty" and forced to write a new book called 'How The Americans Live'. His place of research: a family-focused tract development called Paradise Village in the San Fernando Valley.
This sort of 1960s suburban milieux is one I enjoy, so this film is disarmingly pleasant and funny enough. Henry Mancini adds a layer of lovely tonal ambience with his musical stylings. I'll be seeking out the score very soon without question.The crackerjack cast includes Lana Turner, Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss & Agnes Moorehead. Director Jack Arnold, most known for his classic sci-fi films(THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE & THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN) handles the comedy well enough and I always love to see a full 2.35 to 1 frame. I was reminded of Frank Tashlin at points throughout, though this would certainly be considered Tashlin-lite(with a dash of MR. MOM).
Warner Archive put out a nice disc of this film a while back(along with several other Hope entries: http://shop.warnerarchive.com/search.do?query=Bob+hope).
My parting thought was that this flick would make a disturbing double feature with Martin Ritt's rare 1957 film NO DOWN PAYMENT...

The Warner Archive MOD DVD can be purchased: HERE


 

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