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THEY GOT ME COVERED (director: David Butler; screenwriters: Harry Kurnitz/from an original story by Leonard Q. Ross and Leonard Spigelgass; cinematographer: Rudolph Maté; editor: Daniel Mandell; music: Harold Arlen/Leigh Harline; cast: Bob Hope (Robert “Kit” Kittredge), Dorothy Lamour (Christina Hill), Lenore Aubert (Mrs. Vanescu), John Abbott (Gregory Vanescu), Otto Preminger (Otto Fauscheim), Edward Cianelli (Baldanacco), Marion Martin (Gloria, the Glow Girl), Donald Meek (Little old man), Florence Bates (Gypsy Woman), Donald MacBride (Norman Mason), Phyllis Ruth (Sally), Frank Sully (Red, Sally’s Marine boyfriend), Mary Treen (Helen); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Samuel Goldwyn; RKO/Goldwyn; 1943)
“A tedious romp through familiar Hope territory.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Bob Hope and his road film heroine Dorothy Lamour are on loan from Paramount to Samuel Goldwyn. It’s a typical dull witted Hope comedy vehicle. The farce has a few funny moments but mostly it’s a tedious romp through familiar Hope territory. It’s based on an original story by Leonard Q. Ross (Leo Rosten) and Leonard Spigelgass and penned by Harry Kurnitz. The only thing the director David Butler (“The Road to Morocco”) succeeded in doing was keeping the story moving along at a brisk pace. The film’s title is lifted from Hope’s 1942 autobiography They Got Me Covered.

Hope plays bumbling war correspondent “Kit” Kittredge, a former winner of the Pulitizer Prize, who works for Amalgamated News and is stationed in Moscow. His boss Norman Mason (Donald MacBride) fires him when he’s the only reporter who fails to file a report about Germany’s invasion of Russia. Kittredge returns to Washington, D.C. and teams with his former news agency’ stenographer and his longtime girlfriend Christina Hill (Dorothy Lamour) to try and get his job back by.

The Romanian con man Vanescu, one of Kit’s sources, offers him a news scoop about the Axis baddies plotting to blow up things in Washington (this is just before Pearl Harbor), but he flees when Nazi spies fire at him before he can give more information. Vanescu leaves a note requesting Kit to send Christina to the Lincoln Memorial at midnight with a red purse and green umbrella. The duo ask Sally (Phyllis Ruth), one of Christina’s four other roommates, to meet them at the memorial with the purse, umbrella and Christina’s monogrammed notepad, but by mistake Kit drives Christina to the Washington Monument. Kit then goes off on his own, with the help of Christina and her government office girl roommates, to nab the Nazi spies and win back his job.

For the most part the silly film was clumsy, it drew very little comedy and the acting was uniformly dreadful. Lamour is stiff; Hope is unsympathetic as the hero, as he appears to be a self-absorbed user; Otto Preminger plays the head Nazi meanie without distinction; Edward Cianelli flatly plays an Italian operative; Lenore Aubert plays the Mata Hari role; and, Donald Meek plays a murderous maniac. Bing Crosby makes a cameo appearance, for what it’s worth.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”