DATELINE: Long in the Tooth?
In 1965 Bob Hope was still wise-cracking his way through movies, but he was mostly a TV star by then, or his popularity among young people was nearly at its nadir over his political stand on Vietnam, defending soldiers.
So, the film I’ll Take Sweden casts him as a smart aleck father of a California girl with eyes for a motorcycle driving, guitar-strumming, poverty-stricken young man.
The solution is to break them up by moving to Sweden.
The boy and girl could have been Elvis and Ann-Margaret, or Fabian and Annette, or some other early 1960s icons who were out of touch with the growing anti-war, hippie, Beatles-loving American baby boomers.
The film was also directed by Fred DeCordova of My Three Sons, Burns & Allen, and Johnny Carson TV fame. It looks like a TV movie with Tuesday Weld and Frankie Avalon playing the teenagers, when they both were already slightly past Dobie Gillis and Beach Party.
Yet, 50 years later, Hope is rather droll, wise-cracking and looks marvelous for a man in his 60s, even doing a few stunts.
This was not the vintage Hope of the 1950s when he was priceless and at his peak. Yet, he’s still risqué, bemused and cynical at the world, and you can’t beat that. He throws out those one-liners with aplomb.
He’d soon be replaced by the new generation with liberal Woody Allen who used the same jokes and attitude with a New York disdain.
If you put Woody Allen and Hope side by side, we still will take his Sweden movie with Hope’s smug and topical comments. He was a master.