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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial television broadcast took place in Omaha Saturday 8 November 1958 on KETV (Channel 7), followed by San Francisco Sunday 11 January 1959 on KPIX (Channel 5). In Philadelphia it was first aired place Friday 1 May 1959 on WCAU (Channel 10), in Phoenix 7 June 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Toledo 26 October 1959 on WTOL (Channel 11), in Milwaukee 22 November 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Los Angeles 3 June 1960 on KNXT (Channel 2), in Pittsburgh 11 August 1960 on KDKA (Channel 2) and in Chicago 21 August 1960 on WBBM (Channel 2). It was released on DVD 5 March 2002 as part of Universal's Bob Hope: The Tribute Collection, again 4 May 2004 as part of Universal's On the Road with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Collection, and again 11 November 2014 as one of 24 titles in Universal's Bing Crosby Silver Screen Collection; since that time, has enjoyed frequent presentations on cable TV on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
Mima's guitar can be heard throughout "Sweet Potato Piper", even when she's not playing it. See more »
Fleeing misadventures with girls once again, two playboys escape from women (in particular an arranged marriage for Josh Mallon by his shipping magnate father). However when they arrive in Singapore they meet Mima. A first the two use her for free labour, then they want their freedom from a woman but then they realise that they both want some time with her and compete for her affections.
The first of the successful Road movies is the foundation on which the others were build, basically meaning that this is straight to formula without the shine and added touches that we got with the middle movies (before they just got silly towards the end). The plot is stronger as a result but it does feel a little ordinary in comparison to some of their later hi-jinx. However the film is weakened by far too many musical numbers, I don't mind about 2 or even 3 but here it was pushing up to about 5+ in a 80 minute run time. While these do give the film a more general entertainment value I prefer the out and out comedy of Hope and Crosby and the songs took away from that.
This is not to say it isn't funny, but just that the duo seem to be finding their feet still. The jokes are good and the banter is sharp without being too knowing. Crosby plays the playboy very well and Hope is more controlled than usual he is actually operating within the bounds of the film and not doing any knowing gags. This is a bit of a surprise for me as I'm used to hope being bigger than the film and interacting with the audience, but I still enjoyed it, he even worked better in the serious parts. Lamour is more understated than later films but it is strange to see a woman so clearly white portraying a woman supposed to be of ethnic origin but I guess that's the period.
Overall this is an enjoyable film but not the Road series at it's best. Instead this is the birth of the series and the formula is in place with a solid plot and songs, personally I preferred the middle movies where they let rip with the comedy a bit more but not to the point of silliness.
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