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Sorrowful Jones (1949):
This second of four film adaptations of Damon Runyon's Little Miss Marker is tailored to the talents of Bob Hope. A shifty Broadway bookie, Sorrowful Jones (Hope) becomes a reluctant foster parent when an anxious gambler leaves behind his little girl Martha Jane (Mary Jane Saunders) as a "marker," or IOU. When the father is killed by mobster Big Steve Holloway (Bruce Cabot), Sorrowful decides to hide Martha Jane from the authorities, lest the poor girl get tossed in an orphanage. Lucille Ball co-stars as Sorrowful's erstwhile girlfriend Gladys, who along with Mary Jane is instrumental in "reforming" the cynical Jones. The climactic scenes, wherein Sorrowful tries to smuggle a horse into a hospital in order to bring the little girl out of a coma, deftly combines slapstick with pathos.

Paleface (1948):
Bob Hope's Technicolor western spoof The Paleface was one of the comedian's biggest box-office hits. Hope plays Painless Potter, a hopelessly inept dentist who heads west to seek his fortune. Meanwhile, buxom female outlaw Calamity Jane (Jane Russell) is engaged in undercover work on behalf of the government, in the hopes of earning a pardon for her past crimes. Jane is on the lookout for notorious gun-runner Robert Armstrong. To put up an innocent front, Jane marries the befuddled Potter, then keeps the criminals at bay by convincing everyone that Potter is a rootin'-tootin' gunslinger (actually, it's Jane who's been doing all the shooting). Armstrong, who has been selling guns to the Indians, arranges for Jane to be captured by the scalp-hungry tribesmen, but Potter comes to the rescue. Somewhere along the way, Bob Hope and Jane Russell get to sing the Oscar-winning Jay Livingston/Ray Evans tune "Buttons and Bows".

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MC22498 Sorrowful Jones / Paleface DVD (1949/48/Bob Hope) $14.98