Son of Paleface (1952, Frank Tashlin)

“Let’s see ’em top this on television.”

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Sequel to a flick where clueless Bob Hope goes west to make his fortune, kills some Indians and causes some chaos. Now Hope plays his own son, a Harvard-obsessed goofball out to claim his dead dad’s missing wealth and escape town without being scalped by vengeful Indians or the townsfolk, their hands full of I.O.U.s from Hope’s father. More importantly, Frank Tashlin is in charge of his first live-action pic, which he treats like one of his cartoons, paying no respect to laws of reality.

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Jane Russell is gold-robbing outlaw Torch by day, nightclub owner and star Mike (?) by night. Straight-arrow do-gooder undercover-lawman Roy Rogers either knows or does not know that they’re the same person. Hope wants nothing to do with Roy, but plots to marry Jane (once he realizes his inheritance amounts to an empty chest) in order to be rich enough to pay his debtors and leave town alive. Torch kidnaps him to get at his loot, his dad’s ol’ prospector friend finds where the actual Paleface loot is hidden (then gets hisself killed by Torch’s badman sidekick), Roy and Trigger do some stunts and sing a song, Jane agrees to marry Bob, and it ends with plenty of unashamed injun-killin’. Who would ask for more?

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“That cowboy has no eyelashes”
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Just as much cartoon-anarchy as I was promised from the Tashlin book, so I was pleased. Katy found out she doesn’t much care for Bob Hope, and we agreed the story was full of holes, but to please me she said she also liked the cartoony bits and she thinks Roy Rogers is neat but wishes he had eyelashes.

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Joke cameo by Cecil DeMille, who was making The Greatest Show on Earth at the time. Looks like the cast of each movie played extras in the other. Jane Russell, returning from the original Paleface, starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes the next year. Hawks must’ve seen her in this – she was awesome. This was one of the few times Roy didn’t play “Roy Rogers.” He’d been starring in films for fifteen years, and this was his last (along with horse Trigger, who deservedly won an award for his performance) before moving on to television. Paul Burns (the ol’ prospector) had been in movies since the tender age of 58, appearing in Renoir’s Swamp Water along the way, living just long enough to portray “bum in park (uncredited) in Barefoot in the Park. And handsome baddy Lloyd Corrigan would appear in Tashlin’s followup Marry Me Again before following Roy to TV Land.

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