Bob Hope Tribute Collection - Caught in the Draft / Give Me a Sailor Double Feature
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Caught in the Draft Bob Hope plays gun-shy movie star Don Bolton who, despite his concerted efforts to avoid the draft, nevertheless gets caught in it. Despite being the worst of soldiers, Hope ends up being hailed as a hero and then looks to win the heart of the colonel's daughter, played by the gorgeous Dorothy Lamour. Give Me a Sailor Sailors Jim and Walter Brewster (Bob Hope and Jack Whiting) are brothers with a yen for the same girl: Nancy (Betty Grable). Her ugly duckling sister Letty (Martha Raye) agrees to help Jim win Nancy if he will help her win Walter! Well-delivered songs sung by Betty Grable and Martha Raye add to the merriment.
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Give Me a Sailor was released in 1938 & was the second time that Bob Hope & Martha Raye were teamed together. Bob Hope & Jack Whiting are brothers vying for the hand of the same woman, Betty Grable. Grable & Raye are sisters who are both in love with Whiting. The two sisters are about as different as they can be; Grable is pretty but a tart, Raye is the super homemaker. An accidental picture of Ray's legs leads to her winning a most beautiful legs contest, all by accident. Hope & Raye have been plotting together for years to get Whiying to marry her so that Hope could get in good with Grable. It all leads to some comical situations & misunderstandings. Of course, you can figure who Hope ends up with.
The second movie is Caught in the Draft, released in 1941 & was the #1 movie at the box office for that year! It stars Bob Hope & Dorothy Lamour which was their second of many pairings, most notably the Road movies. In this one Hope is a movie star who's in love with Lamour. She's the daughter of an Army colonel but he doesn't like Hope. Hope tries several things to win her & her father but to no avail. He ends up enlisting in the Army but, due to many mishaps, Hope isn't getting any closer to winning the hand of Lamour. It's a very patriotic movie. The United States had yet to enter the war but there's a lot of flag waving in this movie. The tank scene in this movie is a must-see.
Both movies are early features for Hope. Give Me a Sailor was only his second starring role, only the seventh movie he had ever appeared in. Caught in the Draft is Hope, more well known in just three short years, in only his ninth film as a star, his fourteenth overall. By the time of Caught in the Draft the Hope screen personna was solidified. And of the two movies Caught in the Draft will be the better known & more accepted of the two. Both are entertaining though Give Me a Sailor hasn't dated quite as well.
Raye who is a spectacular cook is ignored. After a mistake in entering a contest, Raye is suddenly affluent and gets a total makeover. She acquires a glamorous wardrobe snd is seen in a new light by everyone. There are many farcical situations to keep the laughs coming. Raye and Grable both have some nice musical moments. The other feature, "Caught In The Draft" , from 1941
ties in nicely in this collection even though Martha Raye is not in it. She was perhaps the most popular entertainer who went in person to entertain the troops in the Second World War. The troops all loved Martha Raye for her work during that period.
Bob Hope plays a carefree actor in "Draft" who tries to avoid the inevitable. He is trying to court Dorothy Lamour who is a colonel's daughter. Hope's attempt at avoidance of his military obligations cause Lamour to reject him. In order to win her back he tries to be the best soldier that he can be. There are wonderful farcical possibilties in any military picture and they used here. There are some good cameos by lesser known actors. My favorite is that of Marie Blake(AKA Blossom Rock) as a gleeful castor oil dispensing nurse.
"Give me a Sailor", released in 1938, is Hope's third feature film and he supports Martha Raye in a quite funny re-working of Cinderella. Raye was being given a build up by Paramount so the film is a broader showcase of her talents than the usual rowdy burlesque comedy. She is very sympathetic here and two scenes standout - one is her tearful reaction to being dumped by Jack Whiting and the other showcases her superb vocal talent with a ballad, a talent which was not displayed enough. Betty Grable plays her unpleasant sister and hindsight tells us that all the qualities which lead to her stardom a few years later were there in 1938, simply not showcased effectively.
"Caught in the Draft", released in 1941, is Paramount's answer to the Abbott and Costello's smash hit "Buck Privates" with Hope very much the star now. Hope is a cowardly film star who is drafted into the army and the ensuing comedy is as genial as it is predictable. There is the usual excellent supporting cast, Lynne Overman being the standout, with lots of great one liners. The film was a giant hit for Paramount when it was released but the film is a bit drawn out for my liking.
The DVD contains no extras other than the trailers for the films and some liner notes. The prints of the films are excellent.