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The Paleface

This is the final movie on this Bob Hope box set, which covers about the first decade of his career.

And it’s been really fun — from this time period, I’ve mostly watched “classics” (i.e., big name actor/director movies) or B movies from studios that have gone out of business (and are therefore in the public domain). You know — “50 Screwball Comedies for $11” box sets.

But it’s been an eye opener watching so many “jobber” films from a major studio (Paramount, in this case). All these films feature veteran directors who’ve worked in Hollywood since the 20s, and most of them have careers that look like this:

I.e., churning out a handful of movies per year. We’re not talking precious auteurs, but people working for the studios on the films they’re assigned — given reasonable budgets and a really, really professional crew from the cinematographers on down.

So we’re talking, er, like, “standard Hollywood fare”… and these films don’t show up on anybody’s radar (unless they happen to feature an actor that would later become a star).

And… I’m just surprised at how good these Studio movies are. Well made and professional, but also (mostly) done with intelligence, zip and vigour (which is quite different from today’s churned-out popular movies). And probably done with a lot of coke (some things don’t change).

What I’m saying is that the Hollywood Machinery is something to behold, and I want to watch more of these films.

Anyway, back to this movie…

That’s Calamity Jane, see?


That was the most brutal dentistry scene ever film. Makes the Marathon Man scene look like Teletubbies, so no screenshots!

Oh, it’s that “buttons and bows” song… Which was written for this movie. Oh, and won an Oscar for best song.

This movie really leans into the silly, and I love that. (I mean, the mass slaughter of Native Americans for yucks is… a thing, but still.)

Lots and lots of good gags in here, even if most of them seem really obvious, like? I would have absolutely loved these bits when I was like 11, and I still quite like them.

But the movie does seem to drag slightly in the last third.

Jane Russell is amazing in this, and I laughed out loud several times while watching this, so I guess I have to go with:

The Paleface. Norman Z. McLeod. 1948.

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