My Favorite Brunette

Another Bob Hope-Dorothy Lamour entry from Paramount (Hope and Lamour were busy in the late 40s), My Favorite Brunette (d. Elliot Nugent) spoofs the hard-boiled detective (noir) film, with particular nods to The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity. Hope narrates the voiceover narration of the flashback in suitable deadpan tones, while each of the conventions of the genre get replayed and sent up. Peter Lorre even has a prominent role as the bad guy. Perhaps most interestingly, there's a loving focus on the typical noir spaces, like the darkened office building...

... or the suburban spanish-revival mansion...

In all, I personally found this my least favorite among the '47 Hope films, but perhaps not coincidentally, it's the one with the lousiest (public domain) DVD transfer. Video cinephilia can value fussiness for fussiness' sake, but there's a strong argument to be made that the image quality shifts our value judgments in ways we may be aware of, but may not.


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