Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Battle of the Titans: Bob Hope vs. Jimmy Cagney in The Seven Little Foys

Jimmy C. does a cameo, reprising his Oscar-winning role as George M. Cohan, in this exercise in can-you-top-this dancing and quipping, pitting his character against Bob Hope’s Eddie Foy Sr.


Thanks to abfabjurisprudence.

I saw this 1955 picture as a kid on TV, and loved it, but I don’t remember this scene at all. While it’s certainly possible that I simply forgot it over the past [censored] or-so years, it’s just as possible that it was cut for commercials. The TV stations in those days used to butcher movies, in order to make ‘em fit, time-wise, into narrow programming slots. (But at least, they were free!)

It was the closest Hope ever came to an Oscar nomination.

This is one of the two pictures that left me with the impression that Bob Hope could have been a great dramatic actor. The other was That Certain Feeling from the following year, in which, if memory serves, Hope played a brilliant comic strip writer who slaves away for George Sanders, who gets all the credit, and who has stolen away Hope’s ex-wife, Eva Marie Saint, whom Hope is desperately trying to win back, and who has never really stopped loving him. Although I was a wee lad when I saw it, I recall it as a bittersweet movie with much more depth than most of Hope’s vehicles.

The problem is that, had Hope spread his wings, his comedy fans would have clipped them. And so, he stuck to broad comedy and, for better or worse, left the serious stuff to the Kirk Douglases, Burt Lancasters, Gregory Pecks and Spencer Traceys.

1 comment:

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