A Hope-filled Double Feature!
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 06/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bob Hope, known for his dedication to entertaining our soldiers from World War II through the Persian Gulf War, stars in two pre-WWII military roles in this wonderful double helping of Hope humor."Caught in the Draft" co-stars Hope leading lady Dorothy Lamour, Eddie Bracken, and the inimitable Clarence Kolb. A bit weak overall, the comedy is nevertheless a fun farce as a weak-kneed movie star (Hope) finds himself drafted into the Army when all he really wanted was to con his new girlfriend into marriage so he can avoid the draft. To complicate matters, his girl is the Colonel's daughter, and the Colonel finds Hope to be a poor soldier and an even worse choice for his daughter's hand!There are at least two really fun bits; one is a wild tank ride, and the other is when Hope has to go on guard duty without his uniform, and has to avoid being discoverd by Col. Fairbanks (Kolb).As Lamour commented in her autobiography ("My Side of the Road"), it was strange to see Hope play a draft-dodger and goldbrick when compared to his real-life efforts to bring a little humor into the lives of our troops stationed overseas.The real prize on this disc is "Give Me a Sailor", a Hope film from 1938. Betty Grable, Jack Whiting, and Martha Raye co-star in this naval farce. Brothers (Bob and Jack), are in love with the same gal (Betty). Meanwhile, Betty's sister (Martha) is in love with Jack. Bob and Martha scheme to break up the romance between Betty and Jack so that each can win their prospective sweetheart. Naturally, comedic havoc ensues.This film has more outright laughs than "Caught in the Draft", and seems to be more tightly directed. I also really liked Martha Raye's efforts here, and most of the real laughs come from her misadventures. I especially liked her character's poignant reaction when she learns that Jack asked her to the big dance just so he can ditch her and spend time with Betty.The pre-war attitudes on display in both films are kind of strange knowing what was about to happen a only short time after they were released. The Army depicted in "Caught in the Draft" and the Navy depicted in "Give Me a Sailor" are both laden with WWI-level uniforms, customs, and equipment, making the films an odd sort of historical artifact. That being said, the disc is a fun time for fans of Hope, Grable, Raye and Lamour. Getting two movies for the price of one is also a good deal, and there are also production notes, cast profiles, and the trailer for each film on the disc."
An Entertaining Bridge Across Two Eras
Samuel DeLong | New York, USA | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This selection from the very welcome Bob Hope Tribute Collection gives the viewers of today an enjoyable opportunity to see a humorous look at America as we were leaving the Depression and getting ready to defend our way of freedom. This is a very intelligent pairing that demonstrates through situations how necessary cultural changes can provoke laughter. If an occasional topical joke is not understandable to some of the younger audience there is always enough physical humor to keep the comedy going. The 1938 "Give Me A Sailor" has the funny and very talented Martha Raye in top billing with Bob Hope. Miss Raye has a sister played by Betty Grable. Mr. Hope is in the Navy and has a brother also in the Navy who outranks him. Hope's brother is played by Jack Whiting. The brothers both want to marry Grable. Grable favors Whiting but also plays the field.
Raye who is a spectacular cook is ignored. After a mistake in entering a contest, Raye is suddenly affluent and gets a total makeover. She acquires a glamorous wardrobe snd is seen in a new light by everyone. There are many farcical situations to keep the laughs coming. Raye and Grable both have some nice musical moments. The other feature, "Caught In The Draft" , from 1941
ties in nicely in this collection even though Martha Raye is not in it. She was perhaps the most popular entertainer who went in person to entertain the troops in the Second World War. The troops all loved Martha Raye for her work during that period.
Bob Hope plays a carefree actor in "Draft" who tries to avoid the inevitable. He is trying to court Dorothy Lamour who is a colonel's daughter. Hope's attempt at avoidance of his military obligations cause Lamour to reject him. In order to win her back he tries to be the best soldier that he can be. There are wonderful farcical possibilties in any military picture and they used here. There are some good cameos by lesser known actors. My favorite is that of Marie Blake(AKA Blossom Rock) as a gleeful castor oil dispensing nurse."
Douglas M | 06/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD set demonstrates easily that Bob Hope was an appealing performer even when the material was not top notch.
"Give me a Sailor", released in 1938, is Hope's third feature film and he supports Martha Raye in a quite funny re-working of Cinderella. Raye was being given a build up by Paramount so the film is a broader showcase of her talents than the usual rowdy burlesque comedy. She is very sympathetic here and two scenes standout - one is her tearful reaction to being dumped by Jack Whiting and the other showcases her superb vocal talent with a ballad, a talent which was not displayed enough. Betty Grable plays her unpleasant sister and hindsight tells us that all the qualities which lead to her stardom a few years later were there in 1938, simply not showcased effectively.
"Caught in the Draft", released in 1941, is Paramount's answer to the Abbott and Costello's smash hit "Buck Privates" with Hope very much the star now. Hope is a cowardly film star who is drafted into the army and the ensuing comedy is as genial as it is predictable. There is the usual excellent supporting cast, Lynne Overman being the standout, with lots of great one liners. The film was a giant hit for Paramount when it was released but the film is a bit drawn out for my liking.
The DVD contains no extras other than the trailers for the films and some liner notes. The prints of the films are excellent."
"It's really a picture of her yum-yums."
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 03/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is another very good double feature dvd in the Bob Hope Tribute Collection and offers two more of his earlier, lesser known films: CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT (1941) and GIVE ME A SAILOR (1938). CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT is a wacky wartime comedy which co-stars Dorothy Lamour, the actress most often associated with him in features while GIVE ME A SAILOR again co-stars the zany Martha Raye and is one film removed from his film debut THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938, the musical-comedy that made people sit up and take notice of Old Ski-nose. It's pretty interesting to note that, even in these shorter, inaugural efforts, Bob's trademark shifty and wiseacre screen persona was already in full bloom. Even though his best works would still lie ahead of him, it really is often a treat (for me, anyway) to sample his early resume.
CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT: Lily-livered Hollywood movie star Don Bolton (Hope) tries his darndest to avoid the draft but, nevertheless, ends up in the military. Somehow, along with his agent Steve (the sometimes squeaky voiced Lynne Overman) and his clueless aide Bert (Eddie Bracken), who both have loyally signed up with him, Don must now survive the hardy rigors of Army life. But, he and his hapless cronies can't seem to avoid getting caught up in wacky shenanigans which inevitably places them in endless potato-peeling punishment. Along the way, Don does his best to court the gruff Colonel's daughter, the gorgeous Antoinette "Tony" Fairbanks (Dorothy Lamour), of which first appearance so captivates Don that it elicits this response from him: "She looks like Dorothy Lamour with clothes on." Can a skittish actor who can't stand loud noises somehow earn his stripes, win the girl, and also avoid ingesting castor oil?
It's a curious fact that YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH, the wonderful Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth vehicle, came out two months after CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT and bears an eerie plot similarity to Bob's flick. If you were even mildly entertained by CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT, then I guarantee you'll get a kick out of Astaire, who plays a celebrated entertainer forced to join the army and then finds himself working overtime to get Hayworth's attention. It actually improves on CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT.
When GIVE ME A SAILOR was released in 1938, Bob Hope hadn't yet achieved definite star status, although he was well on his way; here, Martha Raye gets top billing over him, although Bob's name does pop up before the film title. In this one, Bob Hope and Jack Whiting play Jim and Walter Brewster, two Navy officers who also happen to be brothers. Both have a hankering for the same girl, the luscious Nancy Larkin (Betty Grable), with Walter seemingly having the inside track on her. He's about to propose to Nancy - which sets Jim to frantically conniving. Since childhood, Jim and Nancy's long-suffering, ugly duckling sister Letty (Martha Raye) have had a "secrit pact" to ensure that Walter and Nancy don't end up together. Letty, you see, fancies Walter. Watch Bob and Martha as they put their noggins together and, by hook or by crook, attempt to land their respective sweethearts.
Bob Hope is his usual self, which has always been good enough for me. Martha Raye co-starred with Bob in a total of four movies, and it's in this feature that I find her the most likable as she reveals a sweetly vulnerable side in her role of Letty. Then up-and-coming starlet Betty Grable does well as the beautiful, initially shallow and domestically inept sister ("Why, Nancy, how did you cook this? With a blowtorch?"). Jack Whiting does a nice job of blending in with the woodwork as he only stood out in the movie's one dance sequence. Meanwhile, Clarence Kolb, who played Dorothy Lamour's Colonel dad in CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT has a tiny role here as the Brewster brothers' commanding officer.
Nice songs in this one, too, with the then up-and-coming starlet Betty Grable ably singing "What Goes On Here?" and Martha Raye belting out "One Sweet Moment With You" (I think that was the title). As half-heartedly mentioned above, Whiting and Grable do a nice turn of dancing. On the comedy side, I find Martha Raye's face cream dilemma to be a piece of guffaw-filled goodness, as well as the fashion in which Bob resolves that dilemma. Another scene that's particularly amusing involves Letty and a motel bed...
Crafted in an era when on-screen profanity doesn't get more venomous than "Oh, spittle!", CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT and GIVE ME A SAILOR are two tiny Bob Hope nuggets mined from the vaults of Paramount which deserve more exposure to new generations. Bob Hope is my all-time favorite comedian of ANY era and, to me, these are two little film treasures which I can come back to time and again. I don't know how many Bob Hope fans are left in this world and I don't expect people to like these flicks as much as I do, but, even to the casual viewer, I do give both films a hearty recommendation. Four stars from me.