Friday, September 19, 2014

Bing Crosby and Bob Hope: On the Road Again

Bob Hope and Bing Crosby have been everywhere.  From Bali to Morocco, Rio, Singapore, and even Utopia, they find romance and adventure.  Though the  "Road to..." movies are formula films, they manage to captivate the audience every time.  Bing plays a smooth talking performer who can manipulate people into getting what he wants.  Hope, his partner in crime, is the gullible brawn of the operation.  Bing can talk him into doing almost anything.   The love interest, played by Dorothy Lamour, serves as a damsel in distress to be rescued by the courageous duo.

Though each actor plays the same character and the plots of all the movies are very similar, these movies remain entertaining.  The audience is familiar and comfortable with the characters on the screen.  They are simply looking to see how Bing, Bob, and Dorothy will get themselves out of trouble this time.

Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are masters of comedic timing, an art that is rarely seen in comedies today.  Wit is also something that Bob and Bing did incredibly well.  Their incessant bickering and back and forth is entertaining and filled with subtle comments sure to make an audience laugh.  For example, at one point in the film, a Gorilla kidnaps Bob Hope.  Earlier in the film, Bob and Bing have killed her mate on a safari expedition.  As Bob Hope is being caressed by a huge gorilla that is obviously a man in a gorilla suit, he makes comments such as “Why am I attractive to young widows,” and “Get a rock, get anything, kill one of us.”

Audiences loved the “Road to…” pictures.  The majority of these films were released during World War II.  They offered the audience an escape from the threat of attack and the hard times of war.  All of these films contain at least one light-hearted musical number, reenforcing their cheery mood.  These films represented an escape to an entrancing destination during a time when audiences were troubled by a world at war.

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