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Monday, March 16, 2015

Casanova's Big Night (1954)

It's 18th century Italy and when the notorious lover Casanova (Vincent Price) skips town to avoid his creditors, his tailor (Bob Hope) is pressed into service to impersonate him. It seems a mother (Hope Emerson) is willing to pay "Casanova" 10,000 ducats to seduce her son's (Robert Hutton) bride to be (Audrey Dalton). This lively anachronistic costume comedy is one of Hope's best vehicles. The jokes and puns are low (Hope dips his fingers into the Venice canal and dabs behind his ears and quips "Canal No. 5") but Hope's expert comedic timing gets the laughs anyway. Indeed, Joan Fontaine (taking over for Bing Crosby) can barely keep a straight face in her scenes with Hope. It's colorful with a few swashbuckles tossed in and the handsome art direction and elegant costumes (courtesy of Edith Head) make it a winner. Directed by Norman Z. McLeod (TOPPER). Hope's partners in crime include Basil Rathbone, Raymond Burr, Hugh Marlowe, John Carradine, Arnold Moss, Natalie Schafer, Frieda Inescort, Joan Shawlee, John Hoyt and Lon Chaney Jr.

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