Son of not much is also not much

I've been suckered in again. Son of Paleface was reputed as one of Bob Hope's better films, much as The Paleface was. Much as many sequels are, this one is obviously capitalizing on the success of the original, using the same actors in similar roles, but not quite capturing the intricacies of the first film.

Bob Hope is Junior Potter, just out of Harvard and out to find his late father's fortune in California. He drives out by car, and is read the will, and shown the locked chest containing his inheritance. But it turns out to be empty, and the townspeople are up in arms to collect on old debts he won't be able to pay.

Meanwhile, Jane Russell, as Mike, is robbing up everything in the county as The Torch. For some reason, she feels a want for money, even though her hideout is full of tunnels and secret entrances that must have taken a fortune to create. Perhaps she has to pay off the loan it took to build it all. In any case, she sets her eyes on Potter and his fortune as a way of getting out of her mess. And guess what? Potter hears Mike has money, and decides if he marries her, then he can pay off the townspeople.

Toss in Roy Rogers, some Indians (Native American not being in common usage yet at this time), a hidden treasure, and Trigger - the smartest horse in the movies - and that pretty much ties up the next hour and a half.

The jokes are the forebears of the worst comedies today. There's no exploration of character, no real meaning to the plot. The end of the movie basically bends over backwards to be a happy one.

It makes sense that this movie would appeal broadly in its day, and that there seem to be so many thing in common with the forgettable comedies of today. These movies serve a function toward forgetting what might be wrong in our own lives, but that's no reason for them to be so bad! I've seen movies that are both good and light-hearted. Too bad they are so far and few between.

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