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Casanova's Big Night
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Set in 18th century Italy, CASANOVAS BIG NIGHT tells the story of a tailor, played by Bob Hope, who impersonates the swashbuckling lover Casanova in order to win the affection of an attractive widow.
Bob "Orson Welles" Hope is at the top of his game in this 1954 Technicolor laugh-fest co-starring Joan Fontaine and Basil Rathbone. Hope plays Pippo Popolino, Casanova's tailor, who finds himself standing in for the great lover after the real Casanova (played by Vincent Price) leaves town to avoid paying his debts. Enlisted by an overzealous mother-in-law to test the true love of her daughter-in-law-to-be, Hope must capture the prized petticoat and help avert a civil war to boot. Years before he wore out his welcome in countless TV specials, Hope is a marvel here, perfecting his neurotic and vain coward persona while enganging in some pretty inspired slapstick. It's easy to forget that in 1954 this was pretty edgy stuff. It's no wonder a young Woody Allen idolized him. --Kristian St. Clair
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This is primo, late-period Bob Hope, with an uncredited Vincent Price playing Casanova, Basil Rathbone playing his relunctant valet, Arnold Moss doing his usual Mephistophelian thing as the Doge of Venice amd Audrey Dalton looking just like Linda Darnell in her part as the new object of Pipo-Casanova's affections.
The reception scenes where Pipo challenges a rival for the duchess' affections are sidesplitting, especially when he and Fontaine both have to cross-dress to get in there to begin with. The usual anachronistic Hope oneliners are spewed like apple pits all through the movie and Hope once again proves why Paramount held onto him for something like 25 years! Also why Universal paid Paramount to market some of his movies with a double studio imprint...
The man was a legend!! "Farfle, farfle...pipick!"
And I love listening to Basil Rathbone delivering his lines with impeccable diction and intonation worthy of Shakespeare, while being the straight man to Bob Hope's loveable and hapless tailor's apprentice.
This is a family favorite. I wore out the VHS and had to buy the DVD.
Venice is the setting, and Casanova's lovers prowess is being put to the test to dishonor a betrothed damsel for a price. But Casanova has fled the coop as debtors hover and those debtors want their money. The bumbling tailors apprentice must play the part of Casanova and retrieve the goods to satisfy the debtors bills!
"FARFIL FARFIL PIPPIC!" A quote that I can never forget.
Fontaine is the perfect foil for Hope's antics. Family fun all the way and in color for the kiddies. This print is very good. All in all I have to give it four stars just for the Grand Ball scene.