Comedy

The Princess and the Pirate (1944)

Bob Hope at his wisecracking best, more visual gags than you can count, and dastardly pirates. Bob Hope has long been one of my favourite screen comics; whether working solo or in his partnership with Bing Crosby, and this film is one of my favourites of his.

Hope plays Sylvester The Great, a travelling actor who ends up aboard a ship attacked by pirates. Sylvester rows for his life along with the beautiful Princess Margaret(Virginia Mayo)who is pursued by the pirates so they can claim ransom for her. Sylvester and Margaret get caught up in a hunt for treasure, are pursued by a feared Pirate Captain known as the Hook(Victor McLaglan),and Sylvester realises he’s beginning to fall for Margaret.

Stopping off at an island town, Sylvester gets work in a tavern performing his act. This sequence is one of my favourites in the film; I crack up every time I see the scene where he’s asking the owner if he can perform there and is told he has to join him in a beer, Hope asks for a short beer and along comes the biggest beer glass you’ve ever seen, and he has to drink it down. Priceless.

Pretty much every line from Hope’s mouth will crack you up. There’s even a mention of his Road To movies with Crosby. I found the ending(which I won’t describe in case some people reading haven’t seen this)totally unexpected, and that only makes it funnier, I also loved Hope breaking the fourth wall in this scene.

It’s fair to say that the rest of the cast are merely there to support Hope, but there are some memorable performances from the supporting cast too; Walter Brennan in particular is a hoot, as a toothless pirate who saves Sylvester from walking the plank.

If you need a laugh you really can’t go wrong with this film. Highly recommended to fans of Bob Hope.

Please share your thoughts on the film.