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Road to Utopia (1945)

Passed | | Adventure, Comedy, Family | 22 March 1946 (USA)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Benchley was a well-known humorist in the 1930s an original member of the famous Algonquin Round Table; an informal group that met every day for lunch at the Algonquin hotel. It also included Alexander Wolcott, Dorothy Parker, and other influential members of the entertainment and literary world. He rose to fame due to his absurdly comical essays in The New Yorker. After moving to Hollywood he made a series of short-format comedy how-to films which pitted himself as the "everyman" narrator, trying to cope with day-to-day problems. He was the grandfather of Jaws (1975) author Peter Benchley. See more »

Goofs

The right arm of the person holding the talking fish is visible. See more »

Quotes

Chester Hooton: It was great while it lasted, wasn't it?
Duke Johnson: Oh, what a combo. A barrel of fun. A lot of laughs.
Chester Hooton: Oh, a lot of snickers.
Duke Johnson: Chester, we had a couple of things that - money couldn't buy.
Chester Hooton: Yeah and I usually got the ugly one.
Duke Johnson: No hard feelings.
Chester Hooton: No hard feelings at all!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in American Masters: This Is Bob Hope... (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857)
Written by James Pierpont
In the score when Duke and Chester meet Santa Claus
See more »

User Reviews

 
Deliciously lighthearted fare.
22 April 2005 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

If you need some laughs, this is a movie for you. I think this is the fourth of the "Road" pictures that Hope and Crosby made together. "The Road to Rio" was good, too, but the ones that followed demonstrated a flagging of inspiration.

Here, they are the crew are at their best. The plot is screwball, as usual, and not worth spelling out. What counts are the songs, the gags, and the interplay between the three principals -- Hope, Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour.

Most of the Road pictures had one or two songs which wound up on the pop charts. They were usually kind of pretty and unpretentious, "easy listening", to coin a phrase. (Oh, bring it back, sob!) "Moonlight Becomes You," "Personality," "Welcome to My World." And Bing did most of the singing in his smooth baritone. Nothing more than proficient and pleasant to listen to, although he belonged to, I think, a peppy vocal trio in the early 1930s whose arrangements were kind of original.

The gags were usually amusing, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. There was, inevitably the occasional clunker but everything was so good natured that they are easily forgiven. The script was by Panama and Frank, but many of the jokes were improvised on the set by the actors. Hope also brought in some gags from his platoon of writers (he was a famous radio comedian at the time), giving some of them to Crosby and Lamour as well. There was a good deal of playing with the fourth wall and a lot of in jokes too. Some of these may be lost on modern viewers. Eg., Hope is driving Crosby along on a dog sled, and he raises his arms and says, "Look Ma, no hands." "Look Ma, no teeth," remarks Crosby. "Please," says Hope, "my sponsor." His radio sponsor was Pepsodent Toothpaste.

The three principal actors play off each other well. Dorothy Lamour was an unpretentious actress of modest talents who never pretended to be anything else, although she provided a very nice frame to hang a sarong on. What I like most about the relationship between Hope and Crosby is the measured equality of their stupidity and greed. Hope wasn't really subordinate to Crosby. Everything Hope said and did was within the realm of human reality. He didn't have the flapping run or squeaky voice of Jerry Lewis. He didn't get slapped around like Lou Costello. He wasn't intellectually challenged. And Crosby was much more of a participant in the goings on than a straight man would be. He's hardly less gullible than Hope, and equally cowardly. When they're about to be boiled by cannibals or hanged by vigilantes, they trade wisecracks with one another. Crosby is the promoter and Hope is the stooge, but neither is superior to the others.

This really is a relaxing ride. I spent a summer doing a sociological study of Scagway. The set gives a surprisingly good suggestion of what it still looks like. It's a dramatic place overlooked by a proud glacier the color of blue glass. And the kind of Wild West atmosphere the movie evokes isn't entirely fictional. People had names like "Soapy Smith".


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Road to 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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