Monday, February 22, 2016


Bing Crosby guru is back with another one of his fine reviews. This time up he reviews the last "Road" movie that Bing and Bob Hope made - The Road To Hong Kong (1961). The Road was getting a little beat up by the time that this movie was made...

This turned out to be the end of a great cycle of comedy films. Two mega-individual stars, pooling their talents to come up with comedy classics.

Since this was the only Road picture not done on the Paramount lot it has a whole different feel to it and not for the better. Unfortunately the decision was made to dump Dorothy Lamour from her traditional role as sex object for Crosby and Hope to pant over. Joan Collins was years away from her career role as Alexis Carrington. Here she's just not into the same spirit of things that Dotty was. Dotty was brought in and did one of her numbers Warmer Than A Whisper towards the end of the film.

It's been pointed out that 29 year old Collins looked ridiculous falling for 58 year old Crosby. I can see the case for it, but I would remind everyone that four years earlier, Bing in fact took as his second wife, a woman with just such an age difference.

One of the inside jokes of the film was that Hope's name in the film was Chester Babcock which is the birth name of Jimmy Van Heusen who wrote so many film scores for Crosby. Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn contributed a ballad for Bing dueted with Collins called Let's Not Be Sensible. And Bob and Bing get two patter numbers, Teamwork and the title tune. There's a lot less music in this outing and that's not for the better of the film.

Still the film has some good comedic moments the best of which involve a hilarious scene in a Hindu doctor's office with an unbilled Peter Sellers as the doctor. The doctor advises Hope to take a cure for amnesia at a hidden lamasery, a la Shangri La, where they find David Niven committing Lady Chatterley's Lover to memory. And at the end when the boys and Collins arrive on another planet in a surreal ending they find Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin waiting for them.

Among the rest of the supporting cast Robert Morley as a mad scientist and chief villain and Felix Aylmer as the Grand Lama stand out.

Before Crosby died in 1977, he Hope and Lamour and signed to do still another film entitled Road to the Fountain of Youth. I wish it had been done. Road to Hong Kong is all right, but not up to the standards of those wacky days at Paramount...


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