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Home Movies/Out on Digital: July 20, 2017

Jul. 18, 2017
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My Favorite Brunette | Road to Rio | Road to Bali

Bob Hope is remembered for entertaining the troops—and a string of mediocre post-1950s pictures. But in his day, he was fast and smart, the master of one-liners and quips whose rubbery face expressed determination against ridiculous odds.

Three of his films have just been reissued on Blu-ray—two of them among his best. My Favorite Brunette (1947) spoofed film noir, a genre still unnamed but whose conventions were already ripe enough for parody. As usual, Hope plays a hapless character whose aspirations exceed his abilities: He’s a children’s photographer dreaming of becoming a private eye. Wish granted when a beautiful woman of mystery (Dorothy Lamour) walks into his studio. Lamour also co-starred in the equally funny Road to Rio (1947) and the lesser Road to Bali (1952) along with Hope’s buddy partner, Bing Crosby. Bali was bright on the eyes, a Technicolor tiki lounge spectacle, but not especially funny.

 

“The Borgias: The Complete Series”

The Borgia name is vaguely familiar even to people who never paid attention in history class. In director Neil Jordan’s Showtime series, the powerful, corrupt Borgia family is the prototype for the Corleones and “Game of Thrones.” The fine cast is headed by Jeremy Irons, playing a wily Borgia cardinal who buys the papacy. Like any good costume drama set in dodgy times, “The Borgias” has its share of sex, sword fighting, secret conclaves and backstabbing.

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