How to Live a Selfish Miserable Life-and Fail at It!

In preparation for a forthcoming post on the life of Catholic convert Bob Hope, I have been reviewing his work.  Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys (1955) is a highly interesting Bob Hope comedy/drama.  It is amusing like most Bob Hope films, but I have also found it intriguing because Hope portrays Foy at the beginning of the film as a selfish loner who wants absolutely nothing to do with a wife, let alone kids.  In the film his ambitions to lead a selfish solitary life are thwarted by love.  First, love for his wife and then, after her death, love for their numerous children.  At the end of the film we even see love of God starting to enter into Foy’s life.  His attempt to lead a life devoted to self alone ends in flat failure!

Like most Hollywood films some of the details of the actual Foy and his children are distorted, but it does not deter from the central message of the film.  Humans only have true happiness by loving others and doing good for them.  It seems a simple enough concept, and it certainly lies at the heart of Catholicism, but most of the evil in the world is a testament to how elusive many people find this core truth of human life.

I cannot leave this film without showing the clip of the legendary dance routine between Bob Hope and James Cagney, reprising his role from Yankee Doodle Dandy as James M. Cohan.  Cagney had his salary for the role donated to charity, regarding it as a tribute to Eddie Foy, who in the twenties had helped out struggling young actors.


Update:  Here is the opening of the film which details how Foy was determined to remain single, and his resounding failure in that effort!

5 Responses to How to Live a Selfish Miserable Life-and Fail at It!

  • Suddenly watching those clips I felt 30 some years younger and remembered watching old movies with my father. Cagney playing Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy was one of his favorites that seemed to be shown once a year. Sadly, as the years have passed I don’t seem to take time to think of my folks often enough. I need to get both movies (Foy and Yankee Doodle Dandy)on DVD for my kids.

    As my friend Hope would say or sing “Thanks for the memories.”

  • Glad you enjoyed it Largebill. I watched this movie and Yankee Doodle Dandy with my parents also.

  • Good to see that you’ll be doing a post dedicate to Bob Hope’s conversion.

    Perhaps you might shed some substantive light on whether Hope’s conversion to the Catholic Faith was due to all that time he spent making the Road films with devout Catholic, Bing Crosby, or was it more so because of his wife who happened to be Catholic (or, maybe even, a combination of the two)?

    At any rate, I’d be interested in what were the actual turning points in his conversion and how he got there. Thanks.

  • His wife’s influence was the factor e. More when I do the post which will probably be during the holiday season this year.

Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .