HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mission, The
Wild Life, The
Eve of Destruction
Mad Death, The
Lost in Vagueness
Sleeping Beauty
Allure
In Search of Dracula
Fantastic Woman, A
Emmanuelle II
Far from Vietnam
Inherit the Wind
Post, The
King Frat
Commuter, The
Mister Buddwing
Kiki's Delivery Service
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S
Mansfield 66/67
Old Enough
Bleeding Steel
Double Hour, The
My Generation
Geostorm
Pendulum
Certain Magical Index: The Movie - The Miracle of Endymion, A
That Good Night
Psychopath, The
My Beloved Bodyguard
.44 Specialist, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
   
 
  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 543 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
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
   

 

Last Updated: