This, I think, is one of the overlooked gems in the ongoing parade of Holiday Movie. It's got an easy going plot, even some vintage eye candy plus some good songs -- including the introduction of the now Christmas classic -- "Silver Bells." The Runyonesque slant, ala "Guys and Dolls", is a nice touch, it sets it apart from other feel good movies of the season. It's sort of like an old time NY wisecrack that has heart to it. It's one of my favorites and I have no problem giving it 5 stars. True, Hope is not the crooner Der Bingle is but he does a nice job putting the song over and his characterizations are enjoyable to watch. In short, if you'd like a slice of vintage Holiday cheer complete with some funny moments, "tongue-in-cheek" takes on likeable con men and a happy ending to boot, check this out. Be warned though, it is a movie with good old fashioned sentiment -- anything resembling cynicism is played very lightly. So if you want a movie with an "edge" to it, this ain't it. I mean, the thing was shot it black and white so it's not exactly modern -- but then again, that's what I like about it.
Growing up in Southern California in the 70's afforded one the chance to watch KTLA's Family Film Festival with the great Tom Hattan, a studied and charismatic fan of cinema who turned on a new generation to the sort of great American films that could keep you inside on a sunny day. One of the films that he ensured came round every year was The Lemon Drop Kid.
True to its roots, this film captures all the humor, creativity, and uniqueness of the personalities found in Damon Runyon's classic stories and marries it to Hope's inimitable, over-confident, yet hapless style. The result, as one might expect, couldn't be more appealing.
Marilyn Maxwell, Hope's on screen love interest, is also wonderful as Brainy Baxter. Her comic timing and serene voice make it all too easy for viewers to fall for her performances. And if the chemistry between herself and Hope seems genuine... well, that's because it is. Hope and Maxwell were a well-known item in Hollywood during this period. She was often referred to as Mrs. Bob Hope, despite the fact that Bob was already married at the time.
There is a modest charm to the Kid's redemption in this film which is perfect for the holidays and perfect for family. The first performance of the well known classic, Silver Bells, is also not to be missed. And as far as the Christmas pantheon of classic films is concerned, this ranks up there with heavyweights such as It's a Wonderful Life and Christmas Story.
I've had a Columbia VHS copy and a previous DVD edition of this great film and this is by far the best print I've seen. In the past the image was faded, the black and white contrast was lacking, and the sound was rough. This new version from SHOUT! uses a very clean print of the film. If you've never seen this film, you owe it to yourself to pay the small price of $ 10.00 and check it out. BTW, the small price in this case also means no extras at all; not even a Hope bio screen shot. But to me, having the quality print and audio is worth no extras!
Just wonderful dialogue for Bob Hope with a great supporting cast in classic comic form. Holds up well as something I can watch a couple of times a year. Grew up with Bob Hope movies playing on TV Saturday afternoons and this is especially enjoyable in the winter with most of its setting in NYC in December. Many supporting actors you will recognize from other movies and shows of the 40's and 50's. Nice to have these classic comedies where jokes were PG-rated and funny.
This won't be an extensive review, just some thoughts. I never saw "The Lemon Drop Kid" in its entirety before and considering how I sat through "Holiday" and others, this is one of the funner and funnier holiday films to come from the classic 1940s. Bob Hope plays a horse hustler who in his hustling disses a mob boss.
To avoid being a corpse for Christmas, he makes up a scheme to create an old folks ("Old Dolls") home and with a legal license to collect, gets a bunch of his gang to dress as Santas and collect from shoppers. He did not expect to get a soft spot for the dolls nor that the $10,000 he owes would end up where it does!
Co-stars Marilyn Maxwell as the love interest; in real life Hope did have an affair with her, per Wiki. Interesting. I love their chemistry as they sing "Silver Bells," the first film to release this Christmas classic.
Overall, fun if a bit dated film of gangsters, Christmas and some classy cars!
Bob Hope is at his hilarious best portraying a Class A con artist in this unusual Christmas film that introduced the song, "Silver Bells." Great supporting cast of vintage actors, especially Jane Darwell as Nellie Thursday (best known as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath). I laughed out loud a lot, and the idea of a scam that converts a casino into a "Home for Old Dolls" is just too outlandish to miss. You've never seen someone duck being demolished by a mobster with such humor and wit as Hope's portrayal of the Lemon Drop Kid. There's a subtle pun in the use of Silver Bells in this film. Took me a while to get it, but when you do, you'll smile.