Peanuts White, a burlesque comic, is recruited by U.S. agents to impersonate international spy Eric Augustine (whom White resembles) in a mission to purchase a million-dollar microfilm in ... See full summary »
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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