Classic film reviews: Casanova’s Big Night

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Brenda Fellman

Classic film reviews: Casanova’s Big Night – The Plot

Casanova’s big night is categorised as a comedy, which in itself is funny! It is about a lowly apprentice tailor named Pippo Popolino, who disguises himself as the great Casanova (a man in massive debt), in an effort to woo an attractive widow. He then finds himself forced by Casanova’s creditors to masquerade as Casanova at the request of a Genoan family which has offered to pay ‘Casanova’ to test the fidelity of the son’s betrothed. With the help of the widow, Bruni and Casanova’s valet Lucio go to Venice. The Doge of Venice intends to use deception as an excuse to wage war against Genoa. After many crazy adventures exploiting Pippo’s traits of vanity, arrogance and cowardice, the heroine so impresses Pippo with her dignity that he refuses to partake in the plot to ruin her character. He is arrested by the Doge and sentenced to death on the guillotine. A desperate Pippo breaks the forth wall to talk to the audience for help, but is shocked when they prefer that he lose his head.

This movie seems to try to hard, but not hard enough, and it seems to have a cruel sense of humour. The main character, played by Bob Hope, goes from semi-likable to downright irritating. I fully believe that the character’s degrading personality is the reason the director chose to cut off his head in the end of the film.

When it comes down to it, this is not one of Bob Hope’s best films, and considering the talent that was involved in making it, it turned out to be a massive disappointment. I want to say more about this film but I am struggling to come up with something positive or negative say. It is mediocre at best; nothing in the plot is particularly exciting or interesting. Give it a shot if you are a big Bob Hope fan, but otherwise, you might want to give this film a pass.

As a side note, Vincent Price has a cameo appearance as the real Casanova, and even though he’s only on screen for in a total about 5 minutes, he was my favorite part.

Classic film reviews: Casanova’s Big Night – Cast

Bob Hope – Pippo Popolino

Joan Fontaine – Francesca Bruni

Audry Dalton – Donna Elene Di Gambetta

Arnold Moss – The Doge

Basil Rathbone – Lucio / Narrator

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