04 February 2009

DVD - Bob Hope Commemorative Collection: "The Road to Rio/The Road to Bali"

Bob Hope Commemorative Collection - "The Road to Bali"/"The Road to Rio"
The Road to Bali
Directed by Hal Walker
Story by Harry Tugend
Written by Frank Butler, Hal Kanter & William Morrow

The Road to Rio
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Original story & screenply by Edmund Beloin & Jack Rose

Starring: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour
DVD Release Date: 12 January 2003
MPAA Rating: Approved

The Film - The Road to Bali
The penultimate of the "Road" series (and the lone entry made in color), The Road to Bali sees Hope & Crosby run out of Australia by angry fathers and into a plot involving a prince of Bali and sunken treasure.  There, they meet Lamour's Lala, the prince's cousin, over whom our protagonists quickly begin competing.  The only genuine bright spot of the film is the undeniable chemistry and charisma of the three leads.  Hope and Crosby play off one another with the timing of a tried-and-true duo, even in spite of a completely cartoonish script featuring such outrageous gags as a lovestruck gorilla and a bullet fired out of a bent rifle that travels in circles.  For two entertainment icons, it's embarrassing to see them in a film this goofy by this point of their careers.  Still, it has its moments--mostly in the by-play between Hope & Crosby.

Best line (Crosby clearing up whether or not Lala promised to marry Hope): "She didn't promise you, I did.  And you know what a liar I am!"

The Film - The Road to Rio
The fifth in the "Road" series has Hope & Crosby as stowaways on a cruise ship, where they meet Lamour's Lucia.  Lucia is en route to a wedding she doesn't want to her guardian's brother, who is after her fortune.  Guest stars include The Andrews Sisters and The Weire Brothers, who absolutely shine in their supporting roles.  Everything is played for laughs, but there is a stronger sense of still making an actual film--something that is nearly absent from their Bali adventure.

Best line (in response to being told they'd never work in Rio again): "Who wants to work?  We're musicians!"

The DVDs
Firstly, I have no idea why these two films were packaged in reverse order.  The Road to Rio preceded The Road to Bali by five years.  Since there is no actual continuity throughout the films, it makes no real difference in viewing.  Still, partly because Rio is in black and white, and Bali in color, there is a striking difference between the two.  Naturally, you can watch them in any order you'd prefer.  Otherwise, the only feature is a biography of Hope, including film highlights, presented throughout several pages of screen text and present on both discs.

The Recommendation
Still, the price was right (this was yet another of the titles I pulled out of a Walmart $5 dump bin back in the day).  Ultimately, while this particular DVD issue is a worthy purchase, I can only advise adding The Road to Rio to your library (in any edition you happen to find).  The Road to Bali, you'll likely add to round out your "Road" library, once you've got one, and again--and edition should do.

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