Louisiana Purchase (1941) - Bob Hope in a Political Comedy

U.S. Senator Oliver Loganberry (Victor Moore) investigates criminal activity in the Louisiana Purchasing Company. Company president and state legislator Jim Taylor ( Bob Hope) distracts the senator from his mission with a lovely woman, Marina (Vera Zorina).

They plan to place him into a compromising position to blackmail Loganberry. The bulk of Louisiana Purchase (1941) is waylaying the senator who doesn't seem to understand that his investigation is being deliberately impeded.

Moore is known for playing these dopey types of characters. Here he reprises his role from the Broadway play of the same name.

Since the story involves probing an actual state and taking satirical potshots at real life Louisiana governor Huey Long, the film spends about 5 minutes at the beginning assuring everyone (including those litigious among us) that this is a fictional story.
The legal disclaimer is in a song sung by a bevy of beauties in colorful head dresses from behind hurricane shutters. This and other songs were written by Irving Berlin for the play.

There are lots of funny characters like a nervous embezzler who says "They say the liquor at Leavenworth ain't fit for man nor beast" and "We don't want a fair trial; they'll hang us."

The extravagant sets, the obvious expense, are just breath-taking in this comedy. From the languid drapes framing the 12-foot tall (or higher) doorways to the columns in a courtyard.

There is even a Mardi Gras parade scene filled with extras and huge floats.


The only drawback is that it's all noticeably on a sound stage. Still, the fun and festivities shine through.
Filmed in Technicolor, the rich hues and tones of the sets and costumes are a feast for the eyes.

With all this at their disposal, the filmmakers felt compelled to have a fashion show, which interrupts the plot for a few minutes. However, Hope interrupts the fashion show with quips.

The models are dressed in pastels, which seems a waste of Technicolor.  One would have preferred more saturated colors. However, they give "come hither" looks into the camera, which suggests they are present in this film for reasons other than the clothing.

The stars of the show, however, don the exciting clothes.

Marina arrives in a blue coat and matching beret which, with red lip rouge, draws your attention to her eyes.
Raymond Walburn as Col. Davis wears an outfit that mimics his eye color -  light grey.

Bob Hope is rather spiffy in his pin-striped suits, gold cuff links and fashionable shoulder pads.

Madame Yvonne Bordelaise (Irene Bordoni), the proprietor of a restaurant, looks fetching in a coral and chartreuse knot-waisted dress. She has a bit of fringe in front and chunky jewelry which complement her outsized personality.

You'll get a laugh or two from Bob Hope's reliable one-liners. These were sorely needed since the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred just a few weeks before the release of this film.

Louisiana Purchase is a fun film about political corruption, but is also a quest to wow you with Paramount Pictures' big budgets.


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