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Road to Zanzibar (1941)

Passed  -  Adventure | Comedy | Musical  -  11 April 1941 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,113 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 12 critic

Stranded in Africa, Chuck and his pal Fearless have comic versions of jungle adventures, featuring two attractive con-women.

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Title: Road to Zanzibar (1941)

Road to Zanzibar (1941) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Una Merkel ...
Eric Blore ...
...
Slave trader
Iris Adrian ...
Lionel Royce ...
Buck Woods ...
Leigh Whipper ...
Ernest Whitman ...
Noble Johnson ...
Chief
...
Luis Alberni ...
Native booth proprietor
Robert Middlemass ...
Police inspector
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Storyline

Chuck and his pal Fearless flee a South African carnival when their sideshow causes a fire. After several similar escapades, they've finally saved enough to return to the USA, when Chuck spends it all on a "lost" diamond mine. But that's only the beginning; before long, a pair of attractive con-women have tricked our heroes into financing a comic safari, featuring numerous burlesque jungle adventures... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

IT'S THAT GLEESOME THREESOME AGAIN! Giving you your worth in mirth! Toping all the fun in "Road to Singapore!" (original print media ad, includes misspelling of "Topping")


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 April 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Weg nach Sansibar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, this film was not supposed to be a sequel to Road to Singapore (1940); in fact, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were not even supposed to be in it. The film was first offered to Fred MacMurray and George Burns, who both rejected it. While assembling a list of contract Paramount stars to offer it to, someone at the studio remembered that "Road to Singapore" had done relatively well, and Hope and Crosby "seemed to work well together", so it was offered to them. The rest, as they say, is history. See more »

Goofs

Stunt double for Bob Hope when he fights the gorilla. See more »

Quotes

Hubert 'Fearless' Frazier: [Cannibal burps] Must've been someone he ate.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Road to Morocco (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

ROAD TO ZANZIBAR
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Sung by Bing Crosby and chorus while on safari
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good Fun
3 August 2004 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Of the comedy teams that made a series of movies in the 1940s and 1950s, Hope and Crosby were probably the most engagingly amusing.

Abbott and Costello were usually silly. Their movies seemed aimed at an audience of children, although some, like "Meet Frankenstein", are outrageous. There was an element of sadism too, with Abbott (always the humorless straight man) slapping the helpless Costello around and snarling at him, a standard relationship left over I guess from vaudeville where clowns batted each other over the head with bladders.

Martin and Lewis were clearly differentiated. Martin was the parent and Lewis was the twelve-year-old child. It all seems a bit much, now.

But Hope and Crosby were the most nearly equal. Crosby was the smooth-talking crooner. Both were cowards but Hope was a braggart too, a stock figure in the comedies of Ancient Rome and afterward. I think the figure was called miles gloriosus. What they had that the other teams didn't, and what's on good display here, is a kidding quality that consists of trying to outwit one another, competition for the girl (Dorothy Lamour), inside jokes, and a kind of comfortably relaxed unspoken friendship that draws the audience in.

In many ways the funniest scene is when Hope and Crosby realize they've been double crossed by Lamour and set out to find her and tell her off. They discover some shreds of her clothing and conclude, mistakenly, that she's been eaten by leopards and carried off. (Hope: "They didn't even leave an ear. What hogs those leopards are.") The two men try to mourn her passing in a sincere and dignified way but their anger at her keeps simmering to the surface. They interrupt their weeping to recite some poetry over her buried clothing but they don't know any poems. Hope starts off with, "A bunch of the boys were whooping it up/ in the Malamut saloon..." Crosby chides him and instead begins to recite "Casey at the Bat." The scene simply cracks me up. Crosby: "She was just a kid." Hope: "We'll miss her. Even though she was WRONG!" When they realize she's still alive they sneer and kick away the dirt from her "grave."

I don't think of "The Road to Zanzibar" as necessarily their best Road picture, although it's right up there with "Utopia" and "Morocco." It was basically their first though. The earlier "Road to Singapore" lacked the lazy improvisational impression that this one has. "Singapore" seems, in retrospect, too well plotted, if you can imagine. You've gotta give these guys a little room to kick out.

The plot's absurd anyway. Africa on the Paramount set, with phony drums and "natives" and a guy in a gorilla suit engaged in a professional wrestling match with Hope. Actually, Hope's pretty amusing. Woody Allen has said that he picked up quite a few of Hope's comic mannerisms to use in his own performances. (See also Hope's "They've Got Me Covered," a classic of its kind, so to speak.) And Crosby is a necessary counterpart to Hope's physicality. The two work very well together.

I'll have to throw in one of their exchanges. The pair find themselves broke and stranded in a small African town.

Hope (gloomily): "This must be the nowhere that people say they're 500 miles from."

Crosby: "Well don't blame me. We wouldn't be here if you hadn't sold the map to that diamond mine."

Hope: "Hah! It's your fault! If you hadn't bought it I wouldn't have had it. And if I didn't have it I couldn't sell it. So if I couldn't sell it, then we wouldn't be stuck here, would we?"

Crosby: "Nope."

Hope (looks doubtful for a moment, thinking hard): "I don't get it."

Their movies also produced a number of popular songs, some of which have become standards. This one has "It's Always You." Others have songs like "Moonlight Becomes You."

You'll probably enjoy this one. If you're in the proper mood, it will crack you up.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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