HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
Incredible Paris Incident
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agn├Ęs: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Monsieur Beaucaire Get him to the guillotine!Buy this film here.
Year: 1946
Director: George Marshall
Stars: Bob Hope, Joan Caulfield, Patric Knowles, Marjorie Reynolds, Cecil Kellaway, Joseph Schildkraut, Reginald Owen, Constance Collier, Hillary Brooke, Fortunio Bonanova, Douglass Dumbrille, Mary Nash, Leonid Kinskey, Howard Freeman, Lewis Russell
Genre: Comedy, Historical, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: A bumbling barber at the court of King Louis XV of France, Beaucaire (Bob Hope) accidentally gets his beloved would-be girlfriend, ambitious chambermaid Mimi (Joan Caulfield) exiled from the palace. Thereafter the Duc le Chandre (Patric Knowles), renowned as the finest swordsman and lover at the French court, persuades Beaucaire to impersonate him after the King (Reginald Owen) arranges a diplomatic marriage to the daughter of King Phillip II of Spain. En route to the Spanish court, the Duc rescues and swiftly falls in love with a beautiful woman unaware she is in fact his bride-to-be, Princess Maria (Marjorie Reynolds). Meanwhile poor old Beaucaire continues the ruse while a vengeful Mimi allies herself with dastardly Don Francisco (Joseph Schildkraut) to expose the impostor as payback. It falls to the hapless and cowardly Monsieur Beaucaire to keep his wits about him, lest he lose his head.

No less a comic authority than Woody Allen singled Monsieur Beaucaire among a handful of early Bob Hope comedies for praise. While less well known today than Hope's celebrated Road movies with Bing Crosby, this rollicking costume romp was a big hit in the Forties and has aged especially well. Published in 1900, Booth Tarkington's original Pulitzer-prize winning novel was first adapted for the screen as a far more serious vehicle for silent film star Rudolph Valentino. It also served as loose inspiration for Ernst Lubitsch's classic Monte Carlo (1930). Here Tarkington's novel gives a typically zany Bob Hope comedy what many others lack, namely a compelling plot. Co-writers Melvin Frank and Norman Panama - with uncredited input from Frank Tashlin - fashion a farce out of a swashbuckling romance without betraying its essential spirit.

Of course Bob Hope had made period comedy-adventure films before, notably MGM's Technicolor charmer The Princess and the Pirate (1944), and the success of Monsieur Beaucaire emboldened him to do so again with Casanova's Big Night (1954). In these films the central gag is Hope's own anachronistic presence. He is a man of the Forties inexplicably transplanted to the Seventeenth century where his fast-talking, cowardly, lecherous schtick sparks laughs off the stuffed-shirts of the era. Yet in Monsieur Beaucaire Hope's stock comic persona slots into Tarkington's intricate plot with surprising ease. The script invests Beaucaire with pathos and humanity as we come to empathize with his plight and frustrated romantic yearning for Mimi. Similarly, beyond mere cardboard stooges for Hope's comic schtick, the supporting cast essay fairly faceted characters with their own interesting, entangled motives. Chief among them gorgeous Joan Caulfield who gives an especially winning performance. Mimi has her own character arc, slowly transforming from venal gold-digger to worthy love interest instrumental in saving the day. Indeed the romantic subplot here is unusually rather sweet as Beaucaire and Mimi move from thwarted romance to outright adversaries then eventually sincere love.

Veteran comedy director George Marshall does a fine job intertwining the comic and dramatic sides of the plot even though, as per Forties film convention, the 'serious' heroes Duc le Chandre and Princess Maria are less interesting and alarmingly callous in their treatment of the buffoonish lead. Marshall went on to direct The Paleface (1948), one of Hope's most popular movies, and stuck with him well into the late Sixties. Frank and Panama supply ol' ski-nose with a gourmet selection of killer one-liners ("Talk to me later, I'm killing myself"). It is easy to see why Hope's line deliveries were the envy of Woody Allen. His patter is machine-gun fast and lighter than air. Meanwhile Tashlin's influence on the script is evident in moments of delightful cartoon-like slapstick as when Beaucaire hides the Duc and his lady-love in the same barber's chair or the lively climactic swordfight laden with zany sight gags.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 417 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: