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Road to Utopia (1945)

At the turn of the century, Duke and Chester, two vaudeville performers, go to Alaska to make their fortune. On the ship to Skagway, they find a map to a secret gold mine, which had been ... See full summary »

Director:

Hal Walker

Writers:

Norman Panama (original screenplay), Melvin Frank (original screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bing Crosby ... Duke Johnson / Junior Hooton
Bob Hope ... Chester Hooton
Dorothy Lamour ... Sal Van Hoyden
Hillary Brooke ... Kate
Douglass Dumbrille ... Ace Larson
Jack La Rue ... LeBec (as Jack LaRue)
Robert Barrat ... Sperry
Nestor Paiva ... McGurk
Robert Benchley ... Narrator
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Storyline

At the turn of the century, Duke and Chester, two vaudeville performers, go to Alaska to make their fortune. On the ship to Skagway, they find a map to a secret gold mine, which had been stolen by McGurk and Sperry, a couple of thugs. They disguise themselves as McGurk and Sperry to get off the ship. Meanwhile, Sal Van Hoyden is in Alaska to try and recover the map; it had been her father's. She falls in with Ace Larson, who wants to steal the gold mine for himself. Duke and Chester, McGurk and Sperry, Ace and his henchmen, and Sal, chase each other all over the countryside, trying to get the map. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

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Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Weg nach Utopia See more »

Filming Locations:

June Lake, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The big hit of the Johnny Burke-Jimmy Van Heusen score was the comically saucy "Personality." Put over in the film by worldly-wise Dorothy Lamour, the tune was transformed by Decca Records into easy jazz, courtesy of Bing Crosby and Eddie Condon's Orchestra featuring the cornet of Wild Bill Davidson. This interpretation showed up on two Decca releases: a 78 which rose to #9 on the "Billboard" singles listing, and as part of the boxed album of selections from the movie. Capitol's waxing by singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers captured first place on the "Billboard" singles chart during the week of March 9, 1946. See more »

Quotes

Chester Hooton: [Bing Crosby walks on screen in the framing story and Bob turns to the camera] And I thought this was going to be an A picture.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Narrator Robert Benchley credits himself orally in a precredit sequence. See more »

Connections

References Dixie (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Welcome to My Dream
(1946)
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Played on piano and sung by Bing Crosby
Reprised later by Bing Crosby with background orchestral music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Delayed Road trip.
23 June 2004 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Road to Utopia was one of several films made during World War II and shown to GIs before reaching the civilian public. Saratoga Trunk and The Two Mrs. Carrolls are two other examples. We have some evidence for this statement. First and foremost Robert Benchley died a year before

the film had it's premier at the New York Paramount on February 27, 1946. Benchley, noted humorist and sometime film actor, provided some off and on-screen narration for the Crosby and Hope monkeyshines. He was reputed to be a big fan of both and I think he just wanted in on the fun.

Also, Crosby recorded most of the songs for Road to Utopia on July 17, July, 19 and December 8, 1944 at Decca studios. The song Personality wasn't recorded by him until January 16, 1946, however in the film, Dorothy Lamour sang it.

It was worth the wait for the civilian public. By now the boys had the surreal nonsense down pat. Dorothy Lamour plays Skagway Sal who's father is murdered in the first minutes of the movie by killers Sperry and McGurk. Dotty beats it up to Alaska to look up Douglass Dumbrille, her dad's best friend for assistance. As Douglass Dumbrille invariably does in these films, he's looking for the goldmine her father left for himself.

The killers take the next boat with the map that they stole from Dad in hand. But they don't reckon with the sharpie and the schnook who have stowed away on the boat to Alaska. Crosby and Hope steal the map and the killer's identity.

The plot I've described so far could be a melodrama, but not in any film with the title beginning "Road to......" Between talking bears, talking fish, and a cameo appearance by Santa Claus the laughs come fast and furious.

Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke wrote the songs for this surreal madcap and gave Dotty two songs, Would You and the aforementioned Personality. Crosby got his ballad, Welcome to My Dream, and a philosophical song, It's Anybody's Spring. The last one he sang on board on a ship talent contest with Hope accompanying him on the accordion. They lost to an organ grinder and a monkey which prompted Hope to comment on the next road trip he was bringing Sinatra.

And Crosby and Hope sang Goodtime Charlie which didn't make it to vinyl and Put It There Pal probably the best known of the duets they sang together in the Road pictures. Lots of dated references in the lyrics there to Crosby's horses and their respective radio sponsors. But today's audiences would still enjoy it.

One interesting fact was that the Catholic Legion of Decency a very powerful group in those days made objections to suggestive lyrics in Personality. Hard to believe in this day and age, but as another songwriter a generation later put it, "the times, they are a changin'."

Road picture references are sometimes dated, but the laughs are eternal.


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