- X 2019
The Lemon Drop Kid
Robert L. Welch for Hope Enterprises, Paramount
directed by Sidney Lanfield
starring Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, Lloyd Nolan, Jane Darwell, Andrea King, Fred Clark, Jay C.Flippen, William Frawley, Harry Bellaver, Sid Melton, Ben Welden, Ida Moore, Francis Pierlot, Charles Cooley, Salvatore De Lorenzo, Harry Shannon, Bernard Szold, Tor Johnson, Tom Dugan, Stanley Andrews
screen story by Edmund Beloin, screenplay by Edmund L. Hartmann, Robert O'Brien, Frank Tashlin, additional dialogue by Irving Ellison, based on the story by Damon Runyon, music by Victor Young
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The Lemon Drop Kid (Bob Hope) has just cheated gangster Moose Moran
(Fred Clark) out of a small fortune without any gain for himself at a
racetrack in Florida. Somehow though he manages to persuade Moran to send
him to New York and give him the 18 days until Christmas to make and
return the money.
In New York though, he hasn't got a clue where to
start - until he sees how much the Santa Clauses on every streetcorner
collect in a mere manner of hours. His first attempt as an unlicenced
Santa Claus collecting for his own charity lands him in jail though ...
but then he remembers an old friend of his, homeless lady Nell (Jane
Darwell), and he remembers that Moose owns a shutdown casino in the
vicinity ... and he turns the casino into a retirement home for Nell and
her homeles friends, starts a charity to fund the retirement home,
recruits all of his cutthroat friends to become legal money-collecting
Santas - and plans to take off with his charity's money on Christmas Eve
of course, if only to pay it back to Moose.
The Kid's charity and
retirement home become a big succes, big enough for gangster Oxford
Charley (Lloyd Nolan) to notice, and he figures that if he can kidnap Nell
(under whose name the charity runs) and her ladyfriends, the charity will
be his. The plan succeeds, too, but once muscled out of his own racket,
the Kid realizes what a heel he was, has a change of heart, and he devices
a plan to free Nell and her friends from Charley, steal back the money
Charley has stolen from him, and gain control of the organisation again -
a plan that involves a bit of crossdressing, but it works.
back at Moose's casino/retirement home when Charley comes to reclaim the
money that had already been his by way of theft while Moose comes to
collect the money the kid is owing him - but the Kid has organized for the
retirement home to become a casino again and has invited the police for a
raid ... and in the end, both Moose and Charley gets arrested, Nell and
her friends get their retirement home for good, and the Kid gets the girl
(Marilyn Maxwell), whohas tried to persuade him to marry her all through
Cult icon Tor johnson playas a wrestler turned Santa Claus by
Basically, for a film that's about a Christmas miracle
(which the kid's change of heart undoubtedly is), this one's pretty good
and surprisingly kitsch-free. That said, as a comedy as such, the film is
rather average, there are a few good scenes and fine laughs, and if you
like Bob Hope, he's in pretty good form here, but there's nothing too
memorable about this movie, it's just something that will probably
entertain you for its own duration, but a few days later you'll probably
have forgotten it already. Granted, that's still more than one can say
about many other comedies, but that doesn't make this one a classic.