Bob Hope plays a small-time con artist with a fondness for lemon candy in this film based on a Damon Runyon story. When the Lemon Drop Kid accidentally cheats gangster Moose Moran (Fred Clark) out of his track winnings, ... more »the Kid promises to repay Moose the money by Christmas. Creating a fake charity for "Apple Annie" Nellie Thursday, the Kid tricks his gang into donning Santa suits and "collecting dough for old dolls" like Nellie who have nowhere to live. Radio personality Marilyn Maxwell assists as the Kid's girlfriend, while William Frawley and Jay C. Flippen play the lovable, gruff crooks that fall for the Kid's Santa scam. Hope is great as the fast-talking sharpster, and the comical gangsters are well worth the price of admission. Music by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston (including the classic Christmas song "Silver Bells") makes The Lemon Drop Kid that much sweeter. --Mark Savary« less
One of the better Bob Hope flicks. Based on a story by Damon Runyan.
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Suzan M. from FRONT ROYAL, VA Reviewed on 4/28/2008...
A comical classic!
One of the best Christmas movies ever made
gesegnet | Boise, Id United States | 01/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Lemon Drop Kid is one of the lesser known Christmas movies probably because, in a sense, it doesn't try to be a traditional Christmas movie.
Bob Hope plays a con artist who is run out of Florida and winds up in New York City during a very bad cold snap. He is in hock to the mob and desperately needs to raise some cash.
He comes up with a fiendish plan, he sets up a home for old ladies and funds it Santa's ringing bells a la the Salvation Army. The problem is that he intends to take all the money and leave the old ladies stranded on December 26th.
Of course, being a Christmas movie, that doesn't happen, the kid has a change of heart, and along the way the movie provides Bob Hope in his prime as the ever loveable wise guy.
This movie also introduced the wonderful "Silver Bells" which is more famous than the movie itself.
If you're looking to add a movie for Holiday viewing, or really to watch anytime, this is a delightful addition."
DVD a big disappointment...
Paul Schneider | 01/19/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, let me start by saying that I love this film. A true classic: very funny, great songs and wonderful characters. But the DVD looks terrible. Scratches, and even awkward skips in the transfer. Picture is often blurry and sound is muffled. I wish I could say that they had restored it, but it looks more like a bootleg transfer than a legitimate release. The old, out-of-print VHS version had a much better film transfer on it. At least that one didn't frame-skip in the middle of the dialogue like this DVD transfer does! Maybe someday this film will get the DVD treatment it so richly deserves. Oh, by the way--for those who care, there are NO extras to speak of on it."
You'll love the Brentwood DVD
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 07/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The continuing top quality of Brentwood's Bob Hope DVD's is present on this disc. Razor sharp, good tone B&W images help make this top comedy a delight to watch."
Anything But Sour
"Loopydloop" | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A WONDERFUL lost, (at least to me) Christmas movie that will now be firmly established on my list of must see Holiday films.
I had not seen this film before and did not know it was a Christmas film (probably because of the title) but it is a warm and hilarious Bob Hope romp and a veritable who's who of great character actors including Lloyd Nolan, Fred Clark, Sid Melton, Jay C. Flippen, Jane Darwell (the Feed The Bird's Lady from Mary Poppins), Tor Johnson (the hulking giant from Plan 9 From Outer Space) and even dear old Fred Mertz or William Frawley who helps introduce the old holiday standard "Silver Bells". And that's just the tip of the iceberg!
The writing is great. The direction top notch and the laughs just keep on coming. I suggest you put "The Lemon Drop Kid" right at the top of your holiday film list. And why wait until Christmas? Put it in your cue now and celebrate Christmas at the height of this blistering summer!"
Bob Hope Christmas Classic That Launched "Silver Bells"
Simon Davis | 12/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Lemon Drop Kid", never springs to mind when Christmas themed movies are discussed but for a slightly different turn on the festive season and what it does to people this film deserves to be better known. It certainly contains much to enjoy from the legendary Bob Hope as a bogus Santa Claus who sees the error of his ways to a beautiful and talented leading lady in Marilyn Maxwell, an actress who also deserves to be better remembered than she is. Apart from its very amusing storyline involving con artists, fake charities operated by fake Santas, and a hoard of little old ladies all wrapped up in Christmas season "The Lemon Drop Kid", has the distinction of marking the debut of the now classic Ray Evans/Jay Livingstone Carol "Silver Bells". This great song has been a Yuletide favourite ever since and became forever associated with Bob Hope and his Christmas specials for decades after.
Based on a story by Damon Runyon, "The Lemon Drop Kid", stars Bob Hope as Sidney Melbourne but known to all as the Lemon Drop Kid because of his fondness for that particular candy. He is a small time con artist who works the race tracks skimming money off unsuspecting dopes who know nothing about horses. When he unknowingly offers a rotten bet to local gangster Moose Moran (Fred Clark), which costs him $10,000 the kid finds himself having to repay the debt by Christmas Eve or as Moose so delicately puts it "he will find himself at the bottom of the river in a cement Santa Claus Suit". The kid goes to a freezing cold New York trying to find the money and comes up with a wild scheme to make money by setting up a "charity", based around local homeless identity Nellie Thursday (Jane Darwell)with the money for a home for "old Dolls". The Kid drags girlfriend Brainy Baxter (Marilyn Maxwell), into the scheme which she believes is an honourable new chapter in the Kid's supposed reformation from life as a con artist not knowing he intends to skip with the collected money on Chrsutmas Eve to pay back Moose. Setting up the bogus retirement home in one of Moose's disused casinos the kid falls foul of local gangster Oxford Charley (Llyod Nolan), who takes over operation of the "home", and the money already collected. Realising Christmas Eve is coming the Kid tries desperate measures to retrieve the money even down to dressing like a little old lady to join the "home", and then trying to get the money out of Oxford Charlie's clutches. Of course being Christmas Eve the Kid has a change of heart in regards to most of what he has been doing and not only does he help get the two crime leaders put away and the money put into keeping the old folks home open, but he also gets his girl Brainy back and filled with the proper Christmas spirit he agrees finally to marry her bringing the story to a happy conclusion.
Somehow even when he is playing a con man Bob Hope had a way of still being likeable. I believe he has never been better than in this very funny role which played another way may have come across as an extremely unlikeable character. Playing a weak willed schemer on the run from gangsters and fearing for his life was a role tailor made for Hope. The quips come fast and furious from his hilarious remark to the losing horse to "take a couple of extra carrots out of petty cash", through to his very funny remarks when dressed in drag describing his "knitting", to the other old ladies in the retirement home. Being a Bob Hope film of course there is the expected reference to Bing Crosby which always guarentees a laugh as film fantasy and reality cross each other. Bob Hope's chemistry with Marilyn Maxwell works wonderfully here and the two make a great duo when either exchanging comic barbs or especially when singing the immortal "Silver Bells", for the first time on screen. The set of lovable local rogues that the kid recruits to collect money for the bogus charity also raises some great laughs with their crooked looking faces under Santa's white beard and is headed by comic legend William Frawley who of course won everlasting fame as Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy". Academy Award winning actress Jane Darwell also does very well in her part of Nellie Thursday who becomes the centre of the kids wild money making scheme. She displays just the right elements of street smartness with touches of vulnerability to deliver a terrific performance and some of her work with Bob Hope in particular at the sentimental conclusion really helps fill the screen with Christmas spirit.
Seldom seen during the Holiday period nowadays "The Lemon Drop Kid", deserves to be better remembered and certainly contains some of Bob Hope's more enjoyable later film comedy work. I have included it now for a number of years in my Christmas viewing and its slightly cynical view of alot of human nature which neverthless is reformed before the fadeout offers a different turn than most contemporary holiday movies. Bob Hope and Christmas even nowadays still go hand in hand in by belief and his rendition of the classic "Silver Bells", is sure to melt your heart as it still does mine even after repeated screenings. A great viewing experience is guarenteed when Hope plays the ever unsuccessful con man out to fleece the "goodwill to all men", belief held sacred at Christmas but who thankfully sees the error of his ways just in time for Christmas. Highly recommended festive viewing which you need to catch some time this season."