The Bob Hope Collection, Volume Two (Great
Lover/Cancel My Reservation/Paris Holiday/Private Navy Of Sgt. O’Farrell/Son
Of Paleface/How To Commit Marriage/Shout!
Factory DVD Set) + Call Me Bwana
(1963/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD)
Picture: C Sound: C/C+ Extras: D Films: C+
PLEASE NOTE: Call Me Bwana is an online-only exclusive from MGM and can be
purchased from Amazon.com, which you can reach through the sidebar of this
these years, it is amazing how there are Bob Hope films that still did not make
it to DVD. Though there is always Hope
material on DVD, it has often been the same limited amount of titles and not
always with the best prints. Shout!
Factory has tried to correct the release problem and MGM has added a title
never issued before. The Bob Hope Collection, in what turned
out to be Volume One, is a set we
already covered from Shout! at this link:
the titles from Volume Two:
Hall’s The Great Lover (1949) is a
black and white romp pairing Boy Scout leader Hope in a ship with Rhonda
Fleming and murder is also happening on the ship. Some nice moments in a decent film that is
not great, but more watchable than expected.
Bogart’s Cancel My Reservation
(1972) is a wacky, politically incorrect romp about Hope as a TV talk show host
getting arrested like he is a counterculture protester in the midst of being
involved in an Indian Reservation (with stereotypical Hollywood “Indians”) in
what is bad funny and also stars Keenan Wynn, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Bellamy,
Forrest Tucker, Ned Beatty, Anne Archer and Chief Dan George in Hope’s last
major leading role feature film.
Oswald’s Paris Holiday (1958) is a
glossy Technirama production offering an earlier pairing of Hope with Anita
Ekberg in tale of movie executive Hope going to France to buy a screenplay, but
there is romance and wackiness instead.
Fernadel is given the co-male lead role and they are joined by Martha
Hyer, Andre Morrell, Alan Gifford, Yves Brainville, Maurice Teynac, and
legendary writer/director Preston Sturges in a rare acting role.
Tashlin’s Private Navy Of Sgt. O’Farrell
(1968) is yet another wacky, politically incorrect Hope romp as he tries to
boost troop morale (in WWII) with beer and sexy nurses, but gets stuck with
Phyllis Diller! Tashlin’s final
narrative feature film shows off his bizarre humor once again and the cast
includes Jeffrey Hunter, Gina Lollobrigida, Mako, Dick Sargent, William
Christopher and Jack Grinnage.
Son Of Paleface (1952) is one we previously
reviewed in the now-defunct HD-DVD format and you can read more about it at
had a better transfer of the film, yet the sound is a little better here on
this lower-definition DVD for some reason.
Guess a Blu-ray is not far behind.
Panama’s How To Commit Marriage
(1969) offers a mixed pairing of Hope and Jackie Gleason (whose character is
involved in the music business and is sick of Rock music!) in a comedy with
Hope and Jane Wyman about to divorce when their daughter (JoAnna Cameron of Isis fame) announces a baby is on the
way and her and her boyfriend cancel getting married and decide to just live
together instead! Leslie Nielsen, Tina
Louise, Maureen Arthur and Tim Matheson also star in dated-on-arrival flick
that was barely shocking then, but is odd and strangely watchable (no matter
how bad it gets) now.
as any of the above, Gordon Douglas teamed up with James Bond producers Albert
R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to do a Hope comedy entitled Call Me Bwana (1963), which includes
most of the creative team that made the first Bond film, Dr. No, including the producers, Co-Writer Johanna Harwood (who
wrote on the first two Bonds), Composer Monty Norman (who created the legendary
Bond theme), Director of Photography Ted Moore, Editor Peter R. Hunt and the
result is a film that very much feels like the first two Bond pictures at
story (co-written by Nate Monaster (Get
Smart), longtime Hope writers Mort Lachman (later of All In The Family and Gimme
A Break!) and Bill Larkin with Harwood) is a Cold War satire as a U.S.
Space capsule is lost somewhere in Africa and writer Hope (who is supposedly
very savvy about the continent) is asked by the government to find it, paired
with the underrated Edie Adams as an agent out to help him, but the Soviets
have their own agent in Anita Ekberg working with an expert played by Lionel
Jeffries to get that capsule first.
Douglas (Them!, Rio Conchos, In Like Flint,
Tony Rome, The Detective, Lady In
Cement) handles the comedy (which was a genre he mastered on The Little Rascals/Our Gang shorts) and
action well, making this an interesting films for reasons you might not expect
and it had been a very long time since I had seen it. If Douglas
was not an American director, Broccoli & Saltzman would have likely had him
direct a Bond film. Percy Herbert, Paul
Carpenter, Mark Heath, Mai Ling and Arnold Palmer showing up in a fun turn as
himself also star in what is eventually a very politically incorrect romp.
films are worth seeing once, as even when they fail; you can see how Hope’s
star power brought together at a time when Hollywood still knew how to make films.
all have 1.33 X 1 aspect ratios including Lover,
Marriage (which switched from 1.85 X
1 letterbox to what is an inaccurate 1.33 cutting off the sides!), Navy, Reservation and Paleface,
save the mixed transfer on Paris
(goes from anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 to an inaccurate unsqueeze for the
rest of the film after credits!) and MGM delivers an anamorphically enhanced 1.66
X 1 transfer on Bwana. All the color films on the Shout! set were
originally issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of the film
and you can see how good the color is on most of the 1.33 prints, though it
does not mean all are always accurate all the time. There are print flaws and some softness in
all the transfers that indicate these are all older video masters. Bwana
is a DVD-R and its softness is more easily explained, including the disclaimer
before the film starts, but the film is in Rank Color, though some sources have
also claimed it was a three-strip Technicolor film, we have no evidence of
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound and the films on the Shout! set are about evenly
matched with some age and distortion sounding second generation, but are usually
audible and the newer the film, the clearer the sound. Bwana
is the newest transfer apparently and sounds it with the cleanest, clearest
sound of all in comparison.
no extras on any of these discs, not even trailers!
- Nicholas Sheffo