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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Paris Holiday (1958)

An American comedian (Bob Hope) travels to France in the hopes of persuading a playwright (director Preston Sturges, MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK in a rare acting role) to sell him the American rights to his play. But when the playwright is murdered, he becomes the chief suspect. As a Bob Hope vehicle, the film is diluted by the presence of the popular French comic Fernandel who shares equal co-star billing and whose appeal I don't understand. The laughs are few and far between with only a handful of sight gags and Hope's one line zingers that actually work (when Ekberg coos, "Je t'adore" to Hope, he eyes the door and quips, "I just did!"). More often though, one is more inclined to roll one's eyes than chuckle. Visually, it's more opulent than most of Hope's film comedies. Handsomely shot in Technirama wide screen by Roger Hubert (CHILDREN OF PARADISE), the film serves as a travelogue of the Paris sights and the French countryside. Directed by Gerd Oswald (SCREAMING MIMI). With Anita Ekberg who's used mostly as eye candy in her Pierre Balmain wardrobe, Martha Hyer and Andre Morell.

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