Monday, March 08, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Caught in the Draft (1941) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour star in the comedy CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT (1941), just released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT is one of a trio of Hope films released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber this month; the other titles are NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (1941), costarring Paulette Goddard, and MY FAVORITE BLONDE (1942), which also stars Madeleine Carroll.  Both those films will be reviewed here at a future date.

CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT was released in the summer of 1941, a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hope plays movie star Don Bolton, who is terribly afraid of loud noises; he falls apart when gunshots are heard while he's filming a WWI movie.

Lovely Antoinette "Tony" Fairbanks (Lamour) and her father, Col. Peter Fairbanks (Clarence Kolb), meet Don on a tour of the studio. Ladies' man Don is smitten but he constantly manages to make a bad impression on Tony.

Don wants to avoid the military draft because of his noise phobia and decides marrying Tony will provide him with the perfect draft exemption, but when men his age are excluded from the draft he backs out of an engagement.

Don quickly regrets backtracking on his proposal and decides to impress Tony by enlisting...planning for an actor friend to "sit in" at the recruiting office and turn him down. I'm sure viewers won't be surprised when things don't go as planned and Don ends up in the military, determined to make Tony proud and be promoted from private to corporal.

This is a fairly amusing little movie as Hope films go; the plot is fun, and a set piece where Hope is on guard duty, afraid it will be discovered he's wearing pajamas under his military coat, is particularly good.

I also found the film interesting from the perspective of seeing what U.S. audiences were watching regarding the military draft just a few months ahead of our entry into the war.  

I really enjoyed the 26-year-old Lamour, who is lovely and charming; the only strange thing is it's rather hard to understand why she wants to marry Hope, given how often they fight! Surely such a gorgeous young woman could have her pick of any number of the viewer just has to go along with it.

Hope is well supported by Eddie Bracken and Lynne Overman as his assistants. Paul Hurst, Ferike Boros, Irving Bacon, Marie Blake, and Phyllis Ruth are also in the cast.

The movie was directed by David Butler and filmed in black and white by Karl Struss. The film, which was scripted by Harry Tugend, runs a brisk 82 minutes.

A few brief scenes in the Blu-ray print are on the soft side, but most of it looks quite good; Hope fans should be pleased with it. The print is from a new 4K master. The sound is excellent.

The disc includes the trailer, a gallery of trailers for four additional Bob Hope films, newsreels, shorts, and a commentary track by Michael Schlesinger and Stan Taffel.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I mentioned this movie to the hubby the other day as I have been on a Hope kick and haven't seen it in years. As they like to sing somewhere, it's a small world.

4:32 AM  
Blogger Margot Shelby said...

I wish I could say I liked Bob Hope movies, but for the most part this particular "genre" passes me by. I would really have liked to see Dorothy Lamour in Noir movies. She would have been perfect and I don't know why Hollywood never saw that.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Caftan Woman, I hope you can see it soon!

Margot, Hope isn't really my thing either, I usually watch him in small doses (grin). I wanted to review these films more for the leading ladies and/or the WWII settings, as well as to see more Paramount films. Hope just happens to be part of the package for me LOL. As Hope films go, I thought this one goes down more easily than some.

I liked Lamour in JOHNNY APOLLO and agree she would have fit in some noir films.

Best wishes,

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LAURA, I agree about watching BOB HOPE in small doses. The reason I watched I'LL TAKE SWEDEN which had Bob, FRANKIE AVALON and TUESDAY WELD was to see Tuesday who played his daughter. I also watched it to see DINA MERRILL. It also had JEREMY SLATE that I like. I saw Jeremy in WIVES AND LOVERS and liked him in that movie. He was also in a couple of ELVIS movies. He was a very attractive man. P.S. I am a woman that was born in the 60s. CLASSIC TV FAN

2:54 PM  
Blogger Margot Shelby said...

Johnny Apollo and Manhandled were the only crime movies she made. But she was still the good girl. Probably closest to being a bad girl would be her character in Lulu Belle. She would have made a splendid femme fatale.

4:20 PM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

I've seen Hope in MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE (which I adored) but I haven't seen MY FAVORITE BLONDE. I might grab that one.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Classic TV Fan, I remember Jeremy Slate from ONE LIFE TO LIVE, which was my college roommate's favorite soap. I haven't seen I'LL TAKE SWEDEN or WIVES AND LOVERS.

Margot, I agree about Lamour being a femme fatale. I found LULU BELLE kind of a flat film and performance by her, but on the whole I like her quite well and would have liked to see her in the kind of role you describe.

DforDoom, MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE is one I haven't seen yet. Let me know if you catch MY FAVORITE BLONDE. It's been years since I saw it but I remember it being pretty cute.

Best wishes,

10:25 AM  

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