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Critic’s Choice

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Critic's Choice (1963) starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball
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Critic’s Choice – 1963 comedy pairing Lucille Ball and Bob Hope. Ball is a young playwright while Hope is her husband – and a drama critic.

Critic’s Choice (1963) starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball

Critic’s Choice is the final film collaboration between Bob Hope and Lucille Ball and is a comedy/romance dealing with the stress introduced in their characters’ marriage when Lucy’s character (Angela Ballantine) writes a play, and Bob Hope’s character (drama critic Parker Ballantine) dislikes it.  There are several subplots:

  • Dealing with the couple’s infertility
  • Bob’s son from a previous marriage
  • Bob’s ex-wife (played by the lovely Marilyn Maxwell) – who’s still interested in him.
  • Rip Torn (Dion Kapakos) as the producer of the play who’s trying to steal Lucy away.

Verbal comedy

Critic’s Choice is a romantic comedy, with most of the comedy being verbal.  The only real slapstick comedy in the film is with Bob Hope’s recurring back problem.  He throws his back out whenever he bends over at an inopportune time.  Also, towards the end of the movie Bob Hope’s character become drunk on the opening night of Lucy’s play.  There are fine performances by Marilyn Maxwell, Jim Backus, and a very minor appearance by Richard Deacon.  Jim Backus’ character is both Hope’s neighbor and a psychiatrist.   He helps Bob Hope initially with his bad back, and later on “on the couch”.

Critic’s Choice deals with the subject of marriage, remarriage, merged families, self-respect and what is truly important in your life.  It’s done in an entertaining manner, and I recommend it strongly for fans of Bob Hope and/or Lucille Ball.

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