Sorrowful Jones, which sees Bob Hope and Lucille Ball team up for the first time, is now available on Blu-ray with a new 2K master.
The film is adapted from a story by Damon Runyon and a remake of the 1934 film, Little Miss Marker, starring Shirley Temple. If people think remakes are such a problem today, it was barely over 15 years since the earlier film was released. Moreover, the earlier film is what would propel Shirley Temple into a national star. The question I keep asking myself is whether or not this remake is even necessary. My short answer is that it is not. While it’s one thing to show off Bob Hope’s acting skills, audiences are not getting the best of his and Lucille Ball’s potential. No, you have to wait another year until their technicolor team-up in 1950’s Fancy Pants, which also co-stars Bruce Cabot.
The gist of the film is that Orville Smith hands over his daughter, Martha Jane (Mary Jane Saunders), to bookie Sorrowful Jones (Bob Hope) as a marker for a bet. Unfortunately for Sorrowful, Big Steve (Bruce Cabot) fixes a race and he has to pay out all of Dreamy Joe’s winnings. Even learning information about the fixing, he still takes bets, including one from poor Orville. Orville pays dearly for his life when he overhears Big Steve discussing the fix. Ex girlfriend Gladys (Lucille Ball) is a singer working for Sorrowful’s bos. She offers to help Sorrowful with taking care of Martha Jane. In this crime comedy, you never know what is going to happen or not.
The film does reach some absurdities. Sorrowful finds Dreamy Joe and takes him to the hospital. This might be a rare sight at a medical center but it leads to quite a chase around the floor. But anyway, it leads into the film’s climax, which is a happy ending for Sorrowful, Gladys, and Martha Jane.
While I’m happy that this film is giving us a chance to watch Hope and Ball, it does not have any audio commentary. If a film is even remotely good, there should be at least one commentary track, right? The only bonus feature here is a trailer. In any event, it’s been on Blu-ray since early February.
Sorrowful Jones is a serviceable comedy but Bob Hope and Lucille Ball are not at their finest or funniest.
- Theatrical Trailer
DIRECTOR: Sidney Lanfield
SCREENWRITERS: Melville Shavelson, Edmund Hartmann, and Jack Rose
CAST: Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, William Demarest, Bruce Cabot, Thomas Gomez, Tom Pedi, Paul Lees, Houseley Stvenson, and introducing Mary Jane Saunders
Paramount released Sorrowful Jones in theaters on July 4, 1949. Grade: 3/5
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