Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Recalling ‘Beau James’ with high Hope for DVD release

By Steve Crum

My favorite of the few dramas Bob Hope made is 1957’s Beau James, wherein Hope portrays New York’s mayor of the Jazz Age, Jimmy Walker. Although I revere my LP of the movie’s soundtrack, which features Hope, Jimmy Durante and Jack Benny, the film itself has never been issued on DVD. Nor are there plans to do so, even though it is a very entertaining, albeit tragic, story. Beau James is seldom shown on TV. Go figure.

An atmospheric highlight of the film is Walter Winchell’s narration heard at the beginning and end. His voice, evocative of the Roaring Twenties, fits perfectly…much as it did in TV’s The Untouchables. However, the British release of Beau James substituted Alistair Cooke’s voice for Winchell’s. Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. England!

A trivia bit: Vera Miles lip synchs Imogene Lynn in the song sequences. FYI, Miles’ scream in the basement discovery scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho was dubbed by actress Jeanette Nolan. 
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Even though the movie in its entirety is unavailable, here is a clip featuring Bob Hope, Vera Miles, Darren McGavin, and Paul Douglas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV3ifVQ6fA4