It should have been funnier.
It had the right cast: Bob Hope in the sort of part he could believably play, that of clever, self-aware, ham entertainer "Bob Hunter"; Grace-Kelly-esque Martha Hyer as his classy, hard-to-get love interest "Ann McCall"; shapely Anita Ekberg as "Zara," a mysterious spy whose strange interest in Bob complicates (among other things) the hapless comedian's attempts at romancing Ann; and funny-faced Frenchman Fernandel as "Fernydel," Hunter's Gallic counterpart/rival/friend in the story's adventures.
And the plot had potential. There was mystery (why does a spy ring seem determined to keep Bob Hunter from acquiring a script from a famous French playwright?), romance (as endearingly un-suave Hunter slowly wins his sophisticated lady), and comic relief (in the exchange of one-upmanship between friendly rivals Fernydel and Hunter). Throw in the classic cruise-ship setting which begins the film, plus several car (and other vehicle) chases through Paris and its environs at the film's climax, and you have a diverting hour and a half of film, right?
Well, more or less. The film's comic potential is never *quite* realized, in large part because the scenes with real screwball potential simply move too slowly. Case in point: a courtroom scene in which non-Anglophone Fernydel is called to testify to Bob Hunter's sanity. The trial is conducted in English, and as the Frenchman "defends" his American friend by proudly trotting out all the "hep cat" slang the latter has taught him ("crazy," "out of this world," "the living end"), he only makes things worse. But the sort of snappy pace that gives that crucial edge to linguistic-confusion routines (think "Who's on first?") is utterly absent. And in another scene, in which the baddies chase Hope, Hyer, and Fernandel through an amusement park, it's just too dark to properly make out their antics.
Still, the film served its purpose for me: I bought it to see the celebrated Fernandel in his only American movie role of which I am aware. Without English, the Frenchman could not have played many parts accessible to a mainstream American audience, and in this movie his role is perfectly designed to get around that difficulty. He essentially plays a broad caricature of himself, with the usual stereotype of the Frenchman-as-eternal-romantic thrown in for good measure.
Oh, and there's a funny "in joke" for those who know a little bit about Fernandel. The role for which he is best remembered in Europe is that of "Don Camillo," the fiesty priest in a series of well-loved films based on Giovanni Guareschi's stories. And when, in "Paris Holiday," his character dons a cassock in an attempt to sneak into a place where Hope's being held prisoner, it's as if Don Camillo is making a brief cameo here.
Paris Holiday (1958) 720p YIFY Movie
Paris Holiday (1958)
Paris Holiday is a movie starring Bob Hope, Fernandel, and Anita Ekberg. American actor, Bob Hunter, travels to Paris to purchase the rights to a highly sought after script, and meets his French counterpart Fernydel along the way,...
IMDB: 6.00 Likes
The Synopsis for Paris Holiday (1958) 720p
American comedian Bob Hunter, on a luxury liner to France with French counterpart Fernandel, takes an interest in blonde diplomat Ann McCall while pursued by an even shapelier blonde, the mysterious Zara, who seems to be after something in Bob's possession. But he's only going to France to obtain rights to a new play...so what are Zara and her sinister boss after? The pursuit, amorous and larcenous, continues in Paris and escalates into a full-fledged comedy thriller.
The Director and Players for Paris Holiday (1958) 720p
The Reviews for Paris Holiday (1958) 720p
Slight comedy provides glimpse of French funnymanReviewed byphilosophymomVote: 7/10
It should have been funnier.
Though this is not a good film for Bob Hope, it has one redeeming feature. It gave American audiences exposure to the great French comedian, Fernandel.
Fernandel almost was given the role of Passepartout the French valet to David Niven in Around the World in 80 Days. In fact he was going to learn English for the role. It fell through and the part was played by Cantinflas whose style was similar to Fernandel. Too bad for Fernandel that Around the World in 80 Days didn't work out for him.
Because Fernandel didn't speak English that presented problems trying to team him with Bob Hope. It was handled rather clumsily, Fernandel's part in the film was completely superfluous to the plot.
Nothing extraordinary about the plot itself. Hope's an American actor in Paris who comes across a nasty gang and he agrees to help both American and French authorities to capture them. Along for female decoration are Anita Ekberg and Martha Hyer. It's a Bob Hope movie, not one of his best, so I'm sure you can figure out the plot from here on in.
Fernandel has a few good moments though. There is a scene where he's trying to get in an insane asylum to rescue Hope and he's trying to convince the guard in front that he's crazy. So a certain amount of craziness follows and he's outstanding.
His biography here says he worked in a bank when he was young. But that long horse-face of his made people laugh, so to use an American expression, Fernandel took a lemon and made lemonade. If they're going to laugh, I'll get paid for it.
I wish some of his films were available here in the USA. I could easily even in this film see why he was such a national treasure in France.
Anita Ekberg's the highlight here in a comedy that needed a real villain for Hope and French clown Fernandel to play off. Instead we get a bunch of black-suited Keystone cops types who chase Hope around for the last half-hour of the picture. Lots of weak slapstick stuff in zis veddy zilly French movie.