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A Bob Hope movie is usually an excuse to display Hope's breezy comedy persona, surrounded by a lightweight plot. There's a non-stop barrage of wisecracks, often at his own expense, and having little to do with the story; Hope surrounded by beautiful women, Hope comically bumbling or inept - nothing too serious, and a pleasant way for Hope fans to while away an hour and a half. A Global Affair (1964) is no exception, setting the usual Hope shenanigans against the background of the United Nations, and ending with an uncharacteristically serious Hope appealing for international cooperation.
The story begins when an abandoned baby is found in the U.N. building in New York and is put in the care of Hope, a U.N. functionary. The find sets off an international competition to adopt the tot, and Hope finds himself wooed by a bevy of international beauties, among them Lilo Pulver, Michele Mercier, Elga Andersen, and Miiko Taka. Yvonne De Carlo is also in the cast, and while the 40-ish De Carlo might seem the most age-appropriate match for the 60-ish Hope, she loses out to one of the younger lovelies. But the babe who really steals the show is the foundling, played by twin girls. Most of the reviews mentioned the child's appeal.
Former presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has a brief cameo in A Global Affair, as does TV personality Hugh Downs and Olympic medalist Rafer Johnson, who played the Nigerian U.N. delegate. In his memoir, Don't Shoot, It's Only Me, Hope delivers a couple of weak one-liners about Stevenson's appearance: "[The film] starred Adlai Stevenson in a Cary Grant part. At least that's what I told him to get him into the movie...It was a very tough acting role. He had to walk out of the U.N. building and look as if he was enjoying it."
Reviews of A Global Affair apparently depended on how critics felt about Bob Hope. Arthur Knight in Saturday Review wrote, "Much of the film's humor stems from a supposedly irresistible Hope being courted by the girls and from dialogue that presumes words like 'martuni' are irresistibly funny. The whole is just a little like those U.N. Christmas cards - well-intended, reasonably good-looking, terribly sincere, and overfamiliar." Philip T. Hartung of Commonweal, however, was more tolerant: "Some of this is quite amusing, and Bob, really meaning to do right by the U.N. ward, is quite appealing in a fatherhood role. His speeches to the Assembly even ring with a new sincerity for the usually-leering Hope...A Global Affair is just fluff, and one may wonder about the state of world affairs while dignitaries are worrying about one baby; but the harmless picture has its funny scenes, and it certainly has its heart in the right place."
Director: Jack Arnold
Producer: Hall Bartlett
Screenplay: Arthur Marx, Bob Fisher, Charles Lederer, based on a story by Eugene Vale
Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg
Editor: Bud Molin
Costume Design: Bill Thomas
Art Direction: George W. Davis, E. Preston Ames
Music: Dominic Frontiere
Cast: Bob Hope (Frank Larrimore), Lilo Pulver (Sonya), Michele Mercier (Lisette), Elga Andersen (Yvette), Yvonne De Carlo (Dolores), Miiko Taka (Fumiko), Robert Sterling (Randy), Nehemiah Persoff (Under Secretary Segura), John McGiver (Snifter).
BW-85m. Closed Captioning.
by Margarita Landazuri