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From the very first Road picture Hope and Crosby were known for their
ad-libbing. In fact when they guested on each other's shows the two of
them would take the script and insert some of their own lines to try
and catch the other off-guard.
In this Road picture I will swear that the moment the boys and Dotty Lamour were washed ashore on the proverbial south sea island, the picture is one long ad-lib. I am sure the director said, here's the plot situation just make it up as you go. It's got that kind of spontaneity.
Look for 'guest' appearances by Jane Russell, Humphrey Bogart, Martin and Lewis and Bob Crosby in this wacky romp.
Says Dotty: "I love you Bob, I love you Bing, my heart's in a real wing ding." So do we all.
The jokes just keep on coming in this 'Road movie'. There are so many gags here, you'll have to watch this film more than once to get them all. Although the story is very simple, the sets, the girls and especially the amazing Technicolor is a treat to watch. The Road To Bali is the medicine for a grey day!
In this very lighthearted comedy, Bob and Bing ham it up in the South
Pacific, in search of women and adventure. The plot, which involves
deep-sea diving for sunken treasure, is super shallow ... so to speak.
But of course the film is just an excuse to highlight the talents of
the comic and the crooner. And talent they had. But here, neither the
jokes nor the songs are memorable. Fortunately, Dorothy Lamour is on
hand to spice things up. The sets are mildly interesting, in a tacky
sort of way.
For me, the real value of the "road" movies is the perspective they bring to cinema viewing. My ... how movies have changed in fifty years, and not necessarily for the better. "Road To Bali" wouldn't fly today ... or float, for that matter. But for fans of Hope and Crosby, the film is a pleasant, harmless diversion, a reminder of a more innocent, bygone era in film-making.
I like all of the Hope and Crosby road pictures even if they were kind of silly. I grew up with them; even saw Hope on stage at the Palace Theater in Cleveland, Ohio in the old vaudeville days (they also had a picture show). Anyhow, as simple as they were, they were funny in their own way, and I loved Crosby singing, and Dorothy Lamour's vocaling in amour! Saw The Road to Bali on the tube AMC for the umpteenth time, and still enjoyed it; as usual the music is great, and the boys really didn't know how to end it! 6/10
I'm 14, and I'm a huge fan of Bob Hope. I got this movie for Christmas and I loved it. It was so darn funny. Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour all did a tremendous job. I was laughing my butt off throughout the movie. It was also great seeing Humphery Bogart, Dean Martin, and Jane Russell in cameos. Bob Hope is most funny when performing with Bing. They're a great comedy team. He has delivered lots of funny lines in this movie. It was funny how he made references to being in a movie or how Bing already had an Oscar. Bob Hope is one of the greatest comedians who ever lived and you all know it. Here's to Bob Hope!
On a scale of one to a million this rates about a 999,999 on the silly scale. In colour and with beautiful production values ROAD TO BALI made in 1952 contains as many up to date movie and social references as an encyclopedia written by Ludwig Von Drake. In a huge theatre these ROAD films must have lifted the roof with laughter, and as a DVD diversion in 2006 any of them can be a generous and loony mood lifter. There is actually many laugh out loud moments still to be had even if you weren't born or aware of life in the early 50s. THE ROAD TO BALI (pronounced "Bally" by Americans; "Barley" by the rest of us) is basically flat-out hilarious with quips and ad libs galore. Even if you cringe at Bing Crosby as I do, there is enough genuinely funny lines and situations and terrible gags to overwhelm you...much like THE PRODUCERS released this year insists we find it relentlessly dementedly funny. To me Bob Hope has always been Daffy Duck (Groucho Marx was Bugs Bunny) and it is his vaudeville lunacy that carries Crosby inbetween squabbling over Lamour and pushing through all parts of the set. This film has some excellent special effects, very admirable for '52. A hilarious cameo from Jane Russell is the cherry on the icing. Some big dance scenes are an added bonus. Fun fun and demented fun. What a year 1952 was for hilarious films (look 'em up).
Not the boys' best, but hardly their worst. That honor falls to ROAD TO SINGAPORE, with ROAD TO HONG KONG a close second. In their only color ROAD outing, Bing and Bob end up in Bali by way of Australia (don't ask) and go deep-sea diving for lost treasure. Along the way they encounter sultry princess Dorothy Lamour, a boatload of bad guys and a giant squid. The film gets sillier and progressively less funny as it goes along, but it also contains some priceless bits (check out the flute-playing segment and the boys singing and dancing in kilts) and terrific cameos (Jerry Lewis even pops in for a second or two). I suspect no one under 30 is going to give a good goddam about these now-creaky ROAD pictures and their long-dead stars, and all the reputed ad-libbing they did. For those who have faint interest in Hope and Crosby, I would recommend one of the following flicks to see how funny these guys could truly be: ROAD TO MOROCCO, ROAD TO UTOPIA or ROAD TO RIO, in that order. By the way, ROAD TO BALI has just been reissued as part of a series of classic out-of-copyright flicks that are going for $1.50 apiece and are available in many discount and drug chains -- and which is how I happened to see this film again after many years.
And, it was the only one of the "Road to..." movies that he and Bing Crosby ever did in Technicolor. The ad-libbed asides to the audience were something I had never seen or heard of before! Even more of a delightful surprise was the cameo appearance by General Burkhalter as a South Sea island chief!! The songs weren't bad, either. * "The Merry-Go-Run-Around" is probably my second-favorite song of Bob's. "Silver Bells" and "Thanks for the Memories" naturally tie for first-place.* With Bob having died this past Sunday, nostalgia channels like AMC and TCM will no doubt include this, and all his other films, in some kind of marathon movie memorial. *Which they really should have done BACK ON HIS CENTENNIAL!* Oh, well. Thanks to you, Bob, for all my merry, mirth-filled memories.
This movie introduced me to the entire "Road to" series. This movie shows how movie chemistry never dies. In their sixth film together, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour show the fun and happiness of making films could be. They were friends and the audience can surely see that. Being the only movie in color makes the elaborate scenery come to life. The jokes are similar to the earlier films, but they are still funny. Do yourself a favor and buy this movie, it's worth it.
ROAD TO BALI (Paramount, 1952), directed by Hal Walker, reunites the
famous trio of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour in another wild
and crazy adventure for their sixth "Road" outing. Having traveled
through "Singapore" (1940), "Zanzibar" (1941), "Morocco" (1942),
"Utopia" (1945) and finally "Rio" (1947), with a lot of other
territories to explore such as Borneo, Venice or even outer space, the
writers came up with "Bali" as their next stop. With newfound
surroundings, added Technicolor and surprise guest stars along the way,
the material supplied, though hardly original, was no doubt quite
popular in its day.
Opening with a commentary and visual over the map of Australia leading to the city in Melbourne, the story gets underway in a vaudeville house where American entertainers, George Cochran (Bing Crosby) and Harold Gridley (Bob Hope), longtime pals, are performing. Back stage are a couple of angry fathers with their daughters to whom these guys proposed, but each having no intention of marrying. Making their getaway, they soon end up on a train from which they jump out to avoid another angry father, ending up in a far away place surrounded by sheep. Arriving in another city as part of a cargo of sheep, the bearded George and Harold agree to accept jobs from Ken Ahok (Mervyn Vye) working as deep sea divers (with Harold doing the underwater job) to help locate buried treasure. Upon their arrival on an island paradise, the boys encounter Ahok's cousin, Lalah (Dorothy Lamour), a princess of Scottish descent. Because Ken Ahok happens to be responsible for the deaths of his previous divers, with intention of doing the same for these Americans, Lalah warns them that their mission means certain death. After Harold dives for and acquires the buried jewels, the trio break away from Ahok's murderous cutthroats and set sail out for Bali. While on the tropical island, further danger and numerous surprises awaits.
A movie being more fantasy than its intended South Seas island spoof, the film's best moments are its opening 20 minutes. In spite of every effort made turning out a great 91 minute comedy in the tradition of ROAD TO MOROCCO or ROAD TO UTOPIA, this latest "Road" installment grows tiresome long before it's all over. Crosby the con man, Hope the stooge, and Lamour the sarong girl in the middle, revive their past "Road" adventures with much familiarity, continue acting like over-age kids with their one "paddy cake" routine along with an assortment of ad-libs. In-jokes are put to the maximum this time around, some at a total loss for viewers today. Best bits however, are Hope and Crosby surrounded by beautiful maiden girls. An agonizing groan is heard off screen: Crosby: "What was that?" Hope: "It's Errol Flynn. He can't stand it." Or a clip insertion of Humphrey Bogart hauling The African Queen. (I thought Bali is in Indonesia!) Then there's Bing Crosby's brother Bob doing his bit with a "shot in the picture," along with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, as well as Jane Russell in some amusing bits. There's also a running gag throughout the film where the boys play a flute to see what slowly grows out of the basket. Murvyn Vye makes a fine villain, but it would have been nice having Anthony Quinn ("Singapore" and "Morocco") back for old times sake.
Musical interludes are a tradition in the series, with new score by Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen, including: "Chicago Style" (sung by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope); "Moonflowers" (sung by Dorothy Lamour); "Hoot-Mon" (sung by Hope and Crosby in kilts, performed by handmaidens and warriors); "To See You" (sung by Crosby); "The Merry-Go-Round Around" (sung by Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby); "Moonflowers" (reprize by Lamour); and "Wedding Chant" (natives). For Crosby's solo, Hope faces the camera addressing the theater audience that it's time for them to step out and get some popcorn.
Having fallen to public domain, poor quality prints of ROAD TO BALI have turned up on home video and DVD over the years. Better prints available happen to come from cable channels American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies. Being a Paramount film, notice the TCM print with both Columbia and Paramount studio logos for its introduction.
ROAD TO BALI almost became the final "Road" adventure. Ten years later, an attempt was made to revive the formula, being THE ROAD TO HONG KONG (United Artists, 1962), starring Crosby and Hope with Lamour strangely reduced to cameo appearance. Overall, any movie that can make a "monkey" out of Bob Hope, can't be all bad. (***)
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