Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Road To Bali (1952)

We’re hitting the Road again, this time with the sixth film Road To Bali, once again starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour!

While in Australia, vaudevillians George Cochran (Bing Crosby) and Harold Gridley (Bob Hope) find themselves on the run to avoid a pair of shotgun weddings. They hire out to Prince Ken Arok (Murvyn Vye) of Batou as deep sea divers to go after sunken treasure. When they get to the island of Batou, they meet Princess Lalah (it’s Dorothy Lamour, so you know the boys will fall for her). Lalah is against them going diving for the treasure, because she knows about the killer squid living down there, and she tells George about it. So of course he cons Harold into going after it. Harold manages to survive the squid and get the treasure up, and so George, Harold and Lalah try to flee to Bali. While there’s a lot more that happens after that, it’s as good a place as any for me to stop.

I do have to say, with this movie, the series (and its stars) was starting to show its age. There is a slight “been there, done that” quality to the movie, with stuff like them avoiding a shotgun wedding (for the third time), them trying to swear off women (for however long that lasts), etc. Of course, as with most of the series, they do struggle with stereotypes of the various native people. Where some modern audiences might also object is the “wedding of the two grooms and no bride” (which was supposed to be Dottie’s Lalah marrying the two guys until the native chief decided to take her as his own wife), since their “volcano god” objects to it.

Don’t let my complaints fool you. I do like this movie, and think it does have many wonderful moments! The movie has a great many celebrity cameos, including Humphrey Bogart (although technically it’s borrowed footage from The African Queen), Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Bob’s Son Of Paleface co-star Jane Russell (wearing one of her costumes from that movie) and a couple others. There are also a few fun tunes, including “The Merry-Go-Run-Around,” which, to me, perfectly exemplifies the rivalry that Bing and Bob’s characters had shared for Dorothy Lamour’s characters throughout the series. And while it kind of veers into recognizing that “been there, done that” quality, Bob’s aside to the audience when the music begins for Bing’s big romantic song is certainly worth a good laugh. There are a few other wonderful moments in the movie, but, suffice to say, I enjoy this movie and would definitely suggest giving it a try!

The movie has fallen into the public domain, but for the best quality transfer, I would suggest either the Blu-ray or DVD from Kino Lorber. The movie is one hour, thirty-one minutes in length.

My Rating: 7/10

Audience Rating:

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