We’re back for the third film in the Road series, Road To Morocco, again with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour!
When the ship that Jeff Peters (Bing Crosby) and Orville “Turkey” Jackson (Bob Hope) are stowed away on explodes, they manage to get to the shores of North Africa on a raft. Once there, they make their way on camel to Morocco. In the first town they come to, Jeff sells Orville as a slave to help pay for some food. However, after Orville is taken away, Jeff can’t find him to rescue him, until the ghostly form of Orville’s Aunt Lucy (also Bob Hope) appears to him in a dream and points him in the right direction. Jeff is able to locate him, and discovers that, instead of being a slave, Orville is engaged to Princess Shalmar (Dorothy Lamour)! When Jeff bursts in on them, Shalmar takes a liking to him, but still insists on marrying Orville (for reasons I refuse to spoil). Meanwhile, they also have to deal with the desert sheik Mullay Kassim (Anthony Quinn), who is determined to marry Shalmar himself.
Some consider this movie to be the best of the Road series. Personally, I like a couple of the others better, but I won’t deny that this movie probably has the best music of the series, provided by composers James Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. The title song definitely feels like it was written for Bing and Bob, allowing them to break the fourth wall with knowing winks to the audience. “Moonlight Becomes You,” Bing’s big romantic song in this movie, was the biggest hit in the series. “Ain’t Got A Dime To My Name” is also kind of fun and catchy (made a little more amusing by the presence of Bob Hope’s Aunt Lucy).
You sure can say one thing about this movie: it’s not short on comedy! While the boys continued to “ad-lib” most of their lines (as provided by their gag writers), one genuine ad-lib made it in, when, in one of the early scenes in the movie, the camel they were working with spit on Bob Hope, and the director kept the camera going long enough to get Bing’s reaction. Then, of course, there is the film’s reprise of “Moonlight Becomes You” later in the movie, with Bing and Bob joined by a mirage of Dorothy, and their voices all switching around. Dottie plays it straight, with Bing reacting a little to the voice switching and Bob just having fun with it. Now that I’ve had a chance to see the movie Here Comes Mr. Jordan, I do think that the references to that movie play a little better (but, since there is no real “world-building” here, you can get away with not watching that movie). There are certainly a lot of other wonderful bits of comedy (including a pair of “talking” camels), but I should mention that at least one moment early on might sour modern audiences, a moment where they observe a mentally challenged man able to get free food from the market vendors because they consider them sacred, and so Bob’s Orville tries to act mentally challenged to get some food (and fails). Otherwise, though, I do consider this to be a fun movie, and would easily recommend it (of course, I do suggest seeing the earlier movies in the series first).
This movie has been made available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber (and has been available on DVD for years from Universal Studios). The transfer on the new Blu-ray looks about as good as I’ve ever seen the movie, with maybe a few scratches here and there. It’s certainly the way I would recommend seeing the movie.
Film Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes
My Rating: 8/10
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