Where There's Life (1947)

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Where There's Life Photos

Movie Info

Bearing traces of such earlier hits as My Favorite Blonde and The Ghost Breakers, Where There's Life is one of the best of Bob Hope's postwar vehicles. The inimitable Mr. Hope is cast as New York radio personality Michael Valentine, who's poised to marry his long-time fiancee Hazel O'Brien (Vera Marshe). But destiny takes a hand when, in the far-off kingdom of Barovia, King Hubertus II (William Edmunds) is felled by an assassin's bullet. To avoid a revolution, the King's cabinet hurriedly searches for Hubertus' sole heir -- who, according to all reliable sources, is one Michael Valentine. Gorgeous General Katrina Grimovich (Signe Hasso) is dispatched to New York to bring Valentine back to Barovia, while a group of insurrectionists, headed by Krivoc (George Coulouris) and Stertorius (George Zucco), conspire to kill Valentine before he can ever leave American soil. When Valentine is apprised of his royal lineage, he assumes that he's the victim of a practical joke perpetrated by his announcer Joe Snyder (George Zucco). Once he's convinced that it's no joke, Valentine and Katrina scurry about the streets of Manhattan, dodging potential assassins at every turn -- not to mention keeping out of the way of Hazel's muscle-bound policeman brother Victor (William Bendix), who assumes that Valentine is merely trying to weasel out of his wedding. Full of bright dialogue and hilarious gag situations, Where There's Life is vintage Bob Hope.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Cast

Bob Hope
as Michael Valentine
Signe Hasso
as Gen. Kattina Grimovitch
William Bendix
as Victor O'Brien
Vera Marshe
as Hazel O'Brien
George Zucco
as Paul Stertorius
Dennis Hoey
as Minister of War Grubitch
John Alexander
as Herbert Jones
Victor Varconi
as Finance Minister Zavich
Joseph Vitale
as Albert Miller
Harry von Zell
as Joe Snyder
Emil Rameau
as Dr. Josefsberg
William Edmunds
as King Hubertus II
Leo Mostovoy
as Minister of Interior Karakovic
Norma Varden
as Mrs. Herbert Jones
Roy Atwell
as Salesman
Harland Tucker
as Mr. Alvin
Oscar O'Shea
as Uncle Phillip
Crane Whitley
as Man with Cane
Mary Field
as Hotel Maid
Phyllis Kennedy
as Hotel Maid
Fred Zendar
as Copilot
Rene Dussaq
as Officer
Mike Macy
as Peasant
Carl Saxe
as Aide
John Mallon
as Mordian
Charles Cooley
as Mordian
Ralph Gomez
as Mordian
Dario Piazza
as Mordian
Otto Reichow
as Mordian
Gene Roth
as Mordian
Floyd Pruitt
as O'Brien
Tom Coleman
as O'Brien
Jack Clifford
as O'Brien
William Haade
as O'Brien
John Jennings
as O'Brien
Pat Flaherty
as O'Brien
Buddy Sullivan
as O'Brien
Ernö Verebes
as Peter Gornics
Anthony Caruso
as John Fulda
Dorothy Barrett
as Model in Window
Edgar Dearing
as Desk Sergeant
Edwin Chandler
as New York Policeman
Eric Alden
as Airport Attendant
Len Hendry
as Airport Attendant
Guy Kingsford
as Mordian Pilot
Lorna Jordan
as Salesgirl
Letty Light
as Salesgirl
Lucille Barkley
as Salesgirl
Brandon Hurst
as Floor Walker
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Critic Reviews for Where There's Life

All Critics (0)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Where There's Life

½

Why Let a Few Jurisdictional Errors Stand in the Way of a Good Story? I have no idea why the man has an airport named after him nor why it's the airport that is. Not that I generally refer to it by name; it's been a whole bunch of different things over the years, and all anyone back home actually calls it is "the Burbank airport." I don't dispute that he did a lot, over the years, but none of it seems particularly airport-oriented or have much to do with the City of Burbank. Personally, that would by my qualification before I named an airport after anyone, but I know of three named after movie actors, and the only one I know had anything to do with airports, it wasn't in a positive way. What's interesting is that neither the Wikipedia pages for man or airport nor the official page of the airport itself is willing to provide me with an explanation. It's the thing I'm most curious to know about, more even than why they chose him to host the Oscars so many times, and no one will tell me. The king of Barovia (William Edmunds) has been shot by the Mordia, a secret society. He tells his cabinet that, years before, he lived in New York, where he married and had a son. That son is now a radio announcer named Michael Joseph Valentine (Bob Hope), who is engaged to be married to Hazel O'Brien (Vera Marshe), who is herself related to about half the New York Police Department. Because the king is determined to keep his people from knowing that the wound appears mortal, his people decide that the solution is to kidnap Mike. Who is to be married that day. The officials of Barovia have him under wraps, and NYPD is after him, because Hazel's brother, Victor (William Bendix), wants Mike to marry Hazel no matter what. Oh, and let's not forget that the Mordia plans to kill him, because they are determined to wipe out the lineage completely in order to make them pay for past wrongs. Though what the point of that is, I do not know, especially given it's supposedly for banishment but it turns out some of them live in-country. There's also a lot to do with diplomatic immunity that no one ever talks about. Half the cast ought to have it. Probably more than. But not only is it never mentioned, people are eventually hoping the NYPD will show up to arrest people in the actual Barovian consulate. I realize, of course, that asking for help from consulate security has its difficulties by that point in the story, but no one even suggests that there might be jurisdictional problems for NYPD. It's not as though they didn't have time to cover that; the movie is all of seventy-five minutes long. There is also far more chasing people around than needs done. Most of the characters in the movie are major government figures or else police, the latter of which almost certainly spend a lot of time grousing about how they can't even give parking tickets to cars with diplomatic plates. That last may be more modern than the story, but diplomatic immunity and the laws it's built on is not. Interesting, really, that Bob Hope was cast as a character who self-identifies as an American but in important ways is not. After all, how many people realize that he was five before he set foot on US soil? He has, largely because of his work with the USO, become totally identified with the United States and with American causes, but by birth, Bob Hope was British. London-born. He first became important to the US troops during World War II, of course, which was fought by British troops first. But Hope was really best known for his tours to entertain US troops, which he kept up for many years. Actually, by the end of his days, he was a knight, which--while not quite a king--isn't bad for the son of a stonemason. He also had every award the Academy could give except for an actual Oscar and pretty much every award a civilian could get from the US government as well. And all sorts of honourary ones from the military. He was American and not-American all at once. This came paired on the DVD with a slightly older movie, [i]Monsieur Beaucaire[/i], apparently a remake of a Rudolph Valentino flick, itself an adaptation of a Booth Tarkington novel. It, too, is the story of someone suddenly trapped inside a life which is different from any they might have previously expected. If the theme of every true Hitchcock movie is the innocent in peril, the theme of Bob Hope movies tends to be the snakrer in over his head. Whether it's battling the courts of France, Spain, or Barovia, whether it's in love with a chambermaid, a policeman's sister, or a general, the point is that Bob Hope is more clever than anyone concerned but not aware of the situation enough to get out of it. It's unusual that, in both cases, he not only gets the girl but manages to have more than one girl interested in him. Though in both cases, to a greater or lesser extent, aristocracy equals desirability, and it's certainly true that not everyone interested in the noble variant would be interested in the commoner.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson
½

I very much enjoy Bob Hope's brand of humor, and this is one of his better films, and for some reason it's one that is often overlooked. It also has Martha Raye in a hilarious role and great support from William Bendix. Fun and very entertaining.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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