The Lemon Drop Kid

The Lemon Drop Kid (12/23/12) TCM (1951 **1/2) Directed by Sydney Lanfield, based on the story by Damon Runyon, starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. A small-time racetrack con man with an oral fixation has until Christmas to pay a mobster named Moose Moran $10,000. This film’s main claim to fame is that it introduced the song “Silver Bells” to the great American holiday songbook. The song was written with the deliberate intent to compete with Hope’s frequent partner Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” which of course went on to become the most recorded song of all time. As for the film, as likable as Bob Hope was, I had a hard time getting over the story’s built-in unlikability for his character, whose goal was to save his own skin by using a bunch of little old ladies as pawns in a bunko scheme that would leave them all out in the cold… on Christmas!

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