Kegan62

Are the "ROAD MOVIES SLAPSTICK"?

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 Are the ROAD MOVIES OF HOPE AND CROSBY Slapstick comedies? I think they are. The use of old gags made new  and the vocal quality of Bob Hopes puns and sight gags remind me of Groucho at his best. Both of these stars were major radio personalities from the late 30's and thru WWII. Therefore I would consider the "ROAD Movies" Slapstick comedies. Who Agrees with me? My favorite is "ROAD TO MOROCCO and I was surprised that any of the "Road Movies" were not added to the Festival lineup.

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It is interesting that you should ask. Also, if I might add, it's interesting that these directors would pitch a film surrounding the WW II era.  I'd guess that the troops, as well as the home front needed a laugh.  Another road movie featuring Dorothy Lamour would be "High Road To Singapore."  On a theme of "guy gets girl," "...hey, by the way, who gets the girl?"  It's anybody's answer.  Lamour sure is slippery when wet.  It's kinda hard to hold her down.  That was a great topic, I might add to bring up to the event.

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I agree with you. The gags, both physical and verbal, abound in the Road movies...I love them all! There are even running gags that continue through the whole series of movies, and beyond with Crosby making unexpected cameos in many of Hope's movies.They definitely should have had at least one representative movie in this class.

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I think the movies that Bob Hope and Bing Crosby made, “Road” series, clearly qualifies as slapstick.  Each entry in the series contains several of the definitional elements of both visual and verbal slapstick.  The first four films in the series make the case: The first entry, “Road to Singapore” (1940),  was a fairly standard buddy movie with some slapstick interludes involving verbal wordplay (in the song “Captain Custard”) and violence (with the famous “Patty-Cakes” gag).  The chemistry between the principles (and Dorothy Lamour) was so effective that a sequel was quickly planned.  The “Road to Zanzibar” (1941) took the basic formula and added additional slapstick elements.  The storyline was more outlandish and the action was more exaggerated. Elements of make-believe were injected (the sounds of an orchestra coming from the natural setting and, later, Hope wrestling a gorilla).  Physical action and violence were present in the “gorilla wrestling” scene, and ritual was added to violence in the reprise of the “Patty-Cakes” gag on a grand scale at the end.  The “Road to Morocco” (1942) upped the slapstick ante with an increase in make-believe (talking camels & Aunt Lucy from beyond the grave); breaking of the fourth wall (in the lyrics of the title song); Exaggeration and violence (in the “Hot Foot” scene), and ritual repetition (in another attempt at the “Patty-Cakes” gag).  When it fails this time, they break the fourth wall again by concluding that “these guys must have seen the earlier movies”.  The apex of slapstick in this series, in my opinion, came in the “Road to Utopia” (1945).  Even more make-believe is injected (talking bears & fish and a cameo by Santa Claus), fourth wall violations increased (Robert Benchley popping up to explain story elements and a mountain turning into the Paramount Studios logo).  In addition, there is lots of verbal play and inside jokes throughout, and exaggerated violence in a massive barroom fight.    The next two entries, the “Road to Rio” (1947) and the “Road to Bali” (1952), continued the tradition and brought the original series to an end.  Ten years later, in “Road to Hong Kong” (1962), the pair reunited for one last time.   Joan Collins was the love interest; Dorothy Lamour had a small part.  Like with the Three Stooges, in “Have Rocket, Will Travel” (1959), the “old gags were made new again“ with a modern setting involving a rocket ship.

We think of Hope & Crosby as a team, like Abbott & Costello or Martin & Lewis, but they were not. They were a teaming of two independent performers who rose to fame along different paths.  Bob Hope was a traditional comedian, having risen through vaudeville and the Broadway stage, before coming to pictures and radio.  Bing Crosby rode his singing voice to fame in the late 1920’s with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (and with the sub-group “The Rhythm Boys”), before his move to pictures and radio.  Despite his clowning nature, Hope proved himself capable of song & dance, and even light drama.  Crosby proved himself even more versatile, with his ability to do comedy, on top of his vocal and dramatic skills.  Crosby can be viewed as a foreshadowing of the trend that Wes Gehring commented on regarding the “more eclectic” comedians of 1950’s, such as Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, who were known as much for their dramatic performances as for their comedic ones.  Crosby did earn an Oscar for his dramatic performance in “Going My Way” (1944).

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