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Lemon Drop Kid
     

The Lemon Drop Kid

Director: Sidney Lanfield,

Cast: Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, Lloyd Nolan

 

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Damon Runyon's Broadway fable The Lemon Drop Kid was filmed twice by Paramount Pictures, but only the 1934 version with Lee Tracy paid more than lip service to the original Runyon story. The second version, filmed in 1951, was completely retooled to accommodate the talents of Bob Hope. Known far and wide as the Lemon Drop Kid because of his fondness for that

Overview

Damon Runyon's Broadway fable The Lemon Drop Kid was filmed twice by Paramount Pictures, but only the 1934 version with Lee Tracy paid more than lip service to the original Runyon story. The second version, filmed in 1951, was completely retooled to accommodate the talents of Bob Hope. Known far and wide as the Lemon Drop Kid because of his fondness for that particular round, yellow confection, Hope is a bookie who finds himself deeply in debt to Florida gangster Fred Clark. Magnanimously, Clark permits Hope to head to New York to raise the money--but he'd better have the dough ready by Christmas, or else. Ever on the lookout for Number One, Hope decides to exploit the Christmas spirit in order to get the money together. With the help of unsuspecting nightclub-singer Marilyn Maxwell, Hope sets up a charity fund to raise money for an "Old Doll's Home"--that is, a home for down-and-out little old ladies. He claims to be doing this on behalf of big-hearted Jane Darwell, but he has every intention of double-crossing Darwell and all the other elderly women by skipping town with the charity funds and leaving them at the mercy of the authorities. By the time Hope has seen the error of his ways and tries to do right by the old dolls, Maxwell's boss Lloyd Nolan has decided to muscle into the racket by using the ladies' home as a front for a gambling casino. To set things right, Hope finds it necessary to disguise himself as a fussy old spinster at one point. The best line in the film goes to William Frawley, playing one of many Broadway toughs who are being pressed into service as street-corner Santas. "Will you bring me a doll for Christmas?" asks a little girl. "Naw, my doll's workin' Christmas Eve" is Frawley's salty reply. The Lemon Drop Kid is the film in which Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell introduced the enduring Yuletide ballad "Silver Bells," written (reportedly in a real hurry) by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although often understandably classified as a "holiday movie," The Lemon Drop Kid is actually an enjoyable little flick for any time of the year. Mixing with Bob Hope with Damon Runyan is a tricky combination, but it works well here. Certainly, in some ways Hope is a good fit for Runyan, as he's both appealing and underhanded, with a layer of selfishness, cowardice and egotism on top of the goodness beneath. But Hope's rapid-fire joke style is not a natural fit with the characteristic Runyan dialogue style. The two aren't totally reconciled in Kid, but the friction they sometimes create actually works to the film's advantage, painting Hope as something of an outsider -- a take that's not inaccurate when discussing the character's inner life. It also helps that the writers have supplied Hope with some good gags this time, and he delivers them in very fine form. Having lovely Marilyn Maxwell and dependable comics Fred Clark and William Frawley along is also a bonus, as are Lloyd Nolan and Jane Darwell. And then there's the immortal "Silver Bells," a timeless paean to big city Christmases, which certainly adds to the fun -- especially in Frawley's amusing take on it. While not one of Hope's absolutely best pictures, Kid is still very good entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/19/2010
UPC:
0826663121803
Original Release:
1951
Rating:
NR
Source:
Shout Factory
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:31:00
Sales rank:
11,343

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bob Hope Lemon Drop Kid, Sidney Melbourne
Marilyn Maxwell Brainey Baxter
Lloyd Nolan Charlie
Jane Darwell Nellie Thursday
Andrea King Stella
Fred Clark Moose Moran
Jay C. Flippen Straight Flush
William Frawley Gloomy Willie
Harry Bellaver Sam the Surgeon
Sid Melton Little Louie
Ida Moore Bird Lady
Francis Pierlot Henry Regan
Charles Cooley Goomba
Society Kid Hogan Himself
Harry Shannon Policeman John
Bernard Szold Honest Harry
Tor Johnson Wrestler
Tom Dugan No Thumbs Charlie
Harry Tyler Santa Claus
Ben Welden Singin' Solly
Stanley Andrews Judge
Helen Brown Ellen
Ray Cooke Willie
John Doucette Muscleman
Slim Gaut Professor Murdock
Roy Gordon Judge
Fred Graff Pimlico Pete
Tommy Ivo Boy Scout
Richard Karlan Maxie
Jack Kruschen Muscleman
Mary Murphy Girl
Almira Sessions Mrs. Santoro
Douglas Spencer Thin Santa Claus
Sid Tomack Groom
Fred Zendar South Street Benny

Technical Credits
Sidney Lanfield Director
Franz Bachelin Art Director
Edmund Beloin Original Story
Ray Evans Score Composer
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Edmund L. Hartmann Screenwriter
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Jay Livingston Score Composer
Archie Marshek Editor
Robert O'Brien Screenwriter
Hal Pereira Art Director
Frank Tashlin Screenwriter
Robert L. Welch Producer
Victor Young Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Lemon Drop Kid
1. Opening [14:23]
2. Cold Wave [10:57]
3. Help the Needy [10:59]
4. For Nellie [13:12]
5. Loading the Pots [8:05]
6. Big Business [11:22]
7. An Angle on Oxford Charlie [15:38]
8. Raid [6:14]
9. Credits [:34]

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