I turned this on the other night with moderate expectations for a mildly amusing Western Comedy. I was not expecting to watch one of Bob Hope’s best movies.

Like some of his other solo outings, Alias Jesse James is a perfect vehicle for the comedian. It’s silly but also smart in its humor. For every inflated hat gag, there’s a joke that would have gone over my head when I was young. There’s an understanding the genre enough to lampoon it, a love of the traditional Western form infused with wild comedic antics. I mean, the film has Hope feed all the outlaws shrooms and then jump through the bed of a wagon, keeping pace on foot as it rides along. In what might be the film’s funniest moment, Hope beats a gila monster to death with a rattlesnake. I’m still laughing about that days later. And don’t get me started on the cameo-filled ending, a spectacular climax that should please any true fans of the genre.

All in all, this was a great reminder to me of Hope’s immense talent, his ability to play the comedic situation as good at anyone, something I haven’t thought about in a while. It’s also one of the best comedic entries in the history of Westerns.

Watched on Tubi