US Release Date: 11-11-1942
Directed by: David Butler
- Bing Crosby, as
- Jeff Peters
- Bob Hope, as
- Orville Jackson/Aunt Lucy
- Dorothy Lamour, as
- Princess Shalmar
- Anthony Quinn, as
- Mullay Kassim
- Dona Drake, as
- Vladimir Sokoloff, as
- Hyder Khan
- Mikhail Rasumny, as
- Ahmed Fey
- George Givot as
- Neb Jolla
Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope in Road to Morocco.
Bob Hope, like most comic movie stars, always played the same type. He perfected the character of the quick witted, fast talking, coward. Bing Crosby, on the other hand, was the consummate charmer with the golden voice. Separately they were two of the biggest stars of the forties and fifties. Together they were magic.
Road To Morocco (like the other six road pictures they made together) is nothing more than a silly excuse for them to crack jokes, sing and dance, and meet Dorothy Lamour in some exotic location. This one starts off with them as stowaways on a ship, which sinks leaving them afloat on a rigged-together raft. They do a few minutes of shtick about starving to death before spotting land. A few seconds later they are riding a camel through the desert singing the movies' title song. They arrive in Morocco and soon find themselves involved with a princess (Lamour) and her insanely jealous boyfriend (a very young Anthony Quinn).
As formulaic as these movies are (Bob and Bing banter cleverly - meet the beautiful Dorothy Lamour - and have mildly amusing but completely unbelievable adventures), it is easy to forget how popular they were. Today the wisecracks and comic situations seem antiquated to the point of absurdity, but to a country at war that was still dealing with the aftermath of the Great Depression they were the perfect escape.
What I think people don't realize today is just how groundbreaking these movies were. They invented the romantic singer and comic sidekick team that Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis would take to new heights a decade later. Also these were some of the first comedies to break down the fourth wall. Bob was constantly making asides to the camera. Bob also plays more than one character (in this case his Aunt Lucy), something that has surely influenced the Eddie Murphy's and Mike Myers' of the world. And no less respected a talent than Woody Allen has publicly acclaimed Bob Hope as the single biggest influence on his movie persona and stand-up style.
Road To Morocco, like all the road pictures, is cinematic cotton candy. Too much of it will rot your brain but in small doses it makes one hell of a treat.
Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope in Road to Morocco.
If this is "cinematic cotton candy," then I must have a sweet tooth. I love this movie. Sure, it is silly and juvenile, but so are the Three Stooges and they crack me up as well.
The best moments are when Hope and Crosby banter back and forth. As Patrick mentioned, their asides to the audience are unique and priceless. You feel like you are a part of the movie itself.
My favorite piece of dialogue is when Hope says, "A fine thing. First, you sell me for two hundred bucks. Then I'm gonna marry the Princess; then you cut in on me. Then we're carried off by a desert sheik. Now, we're gonna have our heads chopped off." Crosby then states, "I know all that." To which Hope replies, "Yeah, but the people who came in the middle of the picture don't." Crosby then adds, "You mean they missed my song?"
I have never been a huge Crosby fan, so missing his song is not much of a sacrifice. He brings a dignified charm to his roles, but any scene without Hope is weaker for it. Crosby needs Hope for a laugh, but Hope can do it on his own. He remarks on the desert. "This must be the place where they empty all the old hourglasses."
Lamour is attractive. She looks better in the movie than she does in photos. She even has this great line when Hope asks about when are they going to get married, "When the moon, in its last quarter, silvers the blossoms of the almond tree...That's Tuesday night, about nine."
Sure I may have to brush and floss after every viewing, but The Road to Morocco is good old fashioned harmless Hollywood fun.
Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and a Camel on the Road to Morocco.
Singapore laid down the blueprint, Zanzibar worked out the kinks, but it was on the Road to Morocco where the Hope, Crosby and Lamour formula was perfected. The patter, the camaraderie, breaking the fourth wall, jokes flying fast and furious and set in an exotic locale; all of it blended perfectly this time.
There's also an even further element of surrealness this time around with camels cracking jokes and Bob's dead Aunt appearing as a ghost. Since these aren't movies that ever tried to be realistic this just adds to the movie's sense of fun.
Even the songs (one of the series' weakest points) are a little better this time around. Sure none of them are pop classics, but the title song is catchy and "Moonlight Becomes You" isn't half-bad.
One of the things I liked about this film is that unlike the earlier films where Hope's character was a victim of Crosby's, this time around Hope tries to take advantage of Crosby almost equally. Sure, he never gets the upper-hand, but he tries. Crosby sells Hope into slavery, but then later Hope tries to get Crosby to marry the Princess so he'll be the one who dies. Hope even ends up with a girl this time around; not Lamour of course, but hey, take what you can get.
Yes, this is light and sweet fluff, but sometimes that's exactly what hits the spot.
Photos © Copyright Paramount (1942)