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Det Jim McLeod

The Forgotten "Road" Film

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Road To Rio (1947)

I have seen all the other Bing Crosby/Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour films but this one never seems to be shown on TCM or anywhere else, I don't think it's on DVD either. I finally broke down and watched it on Youtube, a last resort for me if it's the only way I can see something I am really interested in.

This was very entertaining, the banter between the two cronies and "inside" jokes on Sinatra and movie making are as funny as always. The last two films in the series (Morocco and Utopia) were my two favorites. They were much wackier and surreal than this one. This is also the longest (100 minutes) and has the most plot. Gayle Sondergaard is an evil hypnotist who has heiress Lamour in her clutches. Sondergaard plays her role completely straight and has barely any contact with Crosby and Hope. Though Bob gets in one jab at her "Looking for your broom?"

Does anyone know why this one never gets shown and the other always on? If you saw it, what do you think of it or other "Road" films?

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Wow, you're not kidding! Your post sent me scrambling over MovieCollectorOH's database at its new web address, and according to it, Road to Rio has NEVER aired on TCM! Must be some kind of rights issue tied into this one movie.

Road to Rio was actually the first Road movie I ever watched. Someone recommended it, and I rented it at Blockbuster sometime in the '90s before I'd ever watched TCM. I guess from one that viewing, I'd just assumed I'd seen it again on TCM - it's easy to get those Road movies confused, unless you're a real devotee - but I guess not.

FYI, there are two different videos of it on YouTube. One of them is four minutes longer than the other; I don't know why that is; it may just be that they run at different speeds. They both look to be watchable prints.

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Road to Rio ranks, for me, as one of the best of the "Road" comedies (along with Zanzibar, Morocco and Utopia). The boys were at their zenith during the '40s, with their chemistry never better and the banter sounding so spontaneous, at times.

As pointed out by the OP Rio does not have the same surreal humour as the previous outings (no talking animals in this one) but I think it's just as funny. Bing sings "But Beautiful," a lovely romantic hit at the time, and the film's opening titles begin with the musical sounds of "Brazil," so bouncy and rhythmic a song that even someone with concrete blocks for feet like me tries to dance a little to it.

Also, as pointed out, the villainy played straight by Gale Sondergaard (at one pointing hypnotizing Bob and Bing into having a pistol duel with one another) adds a lot of fun to the film. Finally, a comedy act, the Wiere Brothers, play great stooge companions for our two heroes. They can't speak English and so each is taught to memorize one coined phrase in English to try to pass as Americans in Brazil. "You said it, Jackson," "You're telling me" and "This is murder" are the three phrases taught to them by Bing and Bob. This will leads to one particularly hilarious scene in which they use the expressions at inappropriate moments.

Unlike the four earlier films in the "Road" series, however, Road to Rio has had a checkered history as far as copyright is concerned. I recall when the first four Road efforts were all available on video tape and later DVD by MCA (then Universal), while Rio was only put out on tape by Columbia (Sony) with a rather dark image.

Later I saw Rio released on DVD by a studio called Brentwood. The image was fine but the sound was bottom of the barrel. At this point I wondered if the film had fallen into public domain, like their one '50s effort and only colour film in the series, Road to Bali.

SHOUT FACTORY, however, released both Road to Rio and Road to Bali as a DVD collection a few years ago in THE BOB HOPE COLLECTION. They are two of five Hope films offered. All of these films are public domain, I believe, and the prints of all five look fine here. I purchased the collection to finally get a good copy of Road to Rio.

I have no idea why Rio is the one "Road" film yet to be shown by TCM but I suspect has something to do with copyright issues. Maybe it's tied up by someone now as far as television broadcasts are concerned.

826663121773.jpg

By the way, SHOUT has also released a second volume of Hope films:

826663124385.jpg

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Owe Road To Rio as part of the Bob Hope Collection presented by ShoutFactory. Decent quality considering this has been one of the public domain titles badly in need of rescuing. Included in this collection : Lemon Drop Kid, Road To Bali, My Favorite Brunette and The Seven Little Foys. Don't know about Foys, but the other titles were public domain for a long time. Can be found on Amazon. Worth it.  

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I thought Road to Hong Kong--the illegitimate 1962 British Joan Collins "revival" picture--was the "lost" Road picture?

Annex+-+Collins,+Joan+(Road+to+Hong+Kong

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I love ROAD TO RIO. Adding the Wiere Brothers was a great touch. And the Burke & Van Heusen songs are tops, as usual.

Actually, this one is not p.d.  Of the Roads, Only ROAD TO BALI is public domain. But ROAD TO RIO is owned by Hope Enterprises (along with BALI, MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE, THE GREAT LOVER, LEMON DROP KID and SON OF PALEFACE) so the distribution falls along different tracks from the first four Paramounts. While the picture is in good shape, I have yet to hear a really good soundtrack on newer releases. Hope's archive was horribly maintained and only in very recent years have they begun working through to preserve titles properly. BRUNETTE, which is also p.d., for years had several bad reels but has recently been properly reconstructed.

Early syndication prints of ROAD TO RIO had California National Pictures logos in place of the Paramount logos. The Hope Enterprises films were originally syndicated by Allied Artists Television and then spent a long stretch at NTA.

And, by the way, THE GREAT LOVER is also a wonderful Hope feature that deserves another look!

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1 hour ago, Ray Faiola said:

And, by the way, THE GREAT LOVER is also a wonderful Hope feature that deserves another look!

Thank you for that! My library has Vol 2 so I can give it a whirl!

Good to know there's so many Hope fans here. I've loved Bob Hope movies since seeing SON OF PALEFACE as a kid. Especially love the Road Pictures trifecta Bing & Lamour. My first viewing of favorite LEMON DROP KID was a few years ago with a film group and in a sentimental moment, cried when he sang Silver Bells.  

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7 hours ago, EricJ said:

I thought Road to Hong Kong--the illegitimate 1962 British Joan Collins "revival" picture--was the "lost" Road picture?

Annex+-+Collins,+Joan+(Road+to+Hong+Kong

For many folks, that might just be wishful thinking.  ;)

Anyway... I had no idea that ROAD TO RIO was  forgotten.  Although too, I must admit it has been many years since I saw it last on a "late show" presentation many moons ago.

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Ray Faiola said:

And, by the way, THE GREAT LOVER is also a wonderful Hope feature that deserves another look!

I'm tempted to get that second Hope collection from SHOUT to get, hopefully, a good copy of The Great Lover (Roland Young is great in that film). Son of Paleface was the last really good comedy of Hope's career, for my money, and it's also in the collection, though I already have a good copy of it.

The problem with that collection is those other titles, none of which have good reputations.'I love Bob Hope when he was in his wise cracking, perfect timing prime during the 1940s.

Having said that it's his two spook comedies (Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers), a pair of atmospheric treats with the lovely Paulette Goddard, that remain my favourites of his career.  These two were made when he had a more dapper appearance, though first starting to play the fraidy cat at the same time. At the end of both films, however, he is credible when he turns more traditionally heroic.

06kehr-span-articleLarge.jpg

Nugget-GhostBreakers.jpg

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTphjvx_bTI0KB94O_7mcD

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11 minutes ago, TomJH said:

The problem with that collection is those other titles, none of which have good reputations.'I love Bob Hope when he was in his wise cracking, perfect timing prime during the 1940s. Having said that it's his two spook comedies (Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers), a pair of atmospheric treats with the lovely Paulette Goddard, that remain my favourites of his career.

 

My favorite non Road Hope film is "My Favorite Blonde". Hope's screen character was really perfected here, the wise cracking, woman chasing coward. Madeline Carroll has great chemistry and surprisingly good comic timing. Bob has funny encounters with his penguin sidekick, a jovial Irish Teamster, a smart alec kid (Alfalfa Switzer) and a quick Crosby cameo. Also one of his funniest jokes:

Madeline asks him "Do you know what it feels like to be followed, hounded and watched every second?"

Bob's reply: "Well I used to, but now I pay cash for everything."

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21 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

My favorite non Road Hope film is "My Favorite Blonde". Hope's screen character was really perfected here, the wise cracking, woman chasing coward. Madeline Carroll has great chemistry and surprisingly good comic timing. Bob has funny encounters with his penguin sidekick, a jovial Irish Teamster, a smart alec kid (Alfalfa Switzer) and a quick Crosby cameo. Also one of his funniest jokes:

Madeline asks him "Do you know what it feels like to be followed, hounded and watched every second?"

Bob's reply: "Well I used to, but now I pay cash for everything."

Somewhere I read that Hope called his character in My Favorite Blonde the favourite of his career. And I agree that he is wonderful in this film, finally perfecting his screen persona as a wise cracking snook who can still be attractive to the ladies in a limited ski slope nose sort of way but is also a major fraidy cat (in this case of Nazi spies). Even if the humour in the film may falter a wee bit at times Hope remains a joy to watch. And Percy the Penguin is a hoot to watch in his top hat.

Madeleine Carroll became his leading lady for this one after Hope had talked about how much he liked her on his radio show, and the screen union came about, and I think that Carroll ranks as one of his best leading ladies, too (along with Goddard).

Another Hope treat from the '40s was his loan out to Sam Goldwyn for the spoofy Princess and the Pirate. Virginia Mayo is a lovely co-star but the film's real scene stealer is Walter Brennan as a pirate (named Featherhead) who's not the sharpest card in the deck and periodically bursts into high cackling laughter. 

"Go ahead and lay that egg, will ya?" Hope says to him at one point after yet another outbreak of that giddy eccentric laughter.

My favourite dialogue exchange in the film is between Hope and Brennan.

Brennan: "You'll like my brother. He's twice as smart as me."

Hope: "Oh, a half wit, eh?"

aadf59247cee56567fc02eaf8793fd9e.png

 

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1 minute ago, TomJH said:

Another Hope treat from the '40s was his loan out to Sam Goldwyn for the spoofy Princess and the Pirate. Virginia Mayo is a lovely co-star but the film's real scene stealer is Walter Brennan as a pirate (named Featherhead) who's not the sharpest card in the deck and periodically bursts into high cackling laughter. 

"Go ahead and lay that egg, will ya?" Hope says to him at one point after yet another outbreak of that that giddy laughter.

My favourite dialogue exchange in the film is between Hope and Brennan.

Brennan: "You'll like my brother. He's twice as smart as me."

Hope: "Oh, a half wit, eh?"

:lol:

I love that one too. 

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"Road to Bali" (1952) is the one I like best. It also features one of my favorite movie cameos.

At one point in the film, Harold Gridley (Bob Hope), George Cochran (Bing Crosby) and Princess Lala (Dorothy Lamour) are stranded on a volcanic island in the Pacific. While searching for possible inhabitants, Crosby's character encounters a hunter wearing safari gear and holding a rifle. The dialogue is as follows.

The Hunter: "Hi!"

Crosby's character: "Hi! Go ahead."

(The man aims his rifle and fires a shot into the air).

The Hunter: "Thank you!"

Crosby: "O.K."

(The man walks back into the jungle)

The Princess: "Who was that?"

Crosby: "That's my brother Bob. I promised him a shot in the picture."

The Princess: "He's handsome!"

Crosby: "Yes. It's a family characteristic."

Road to Bali 1952 DVD Comedy Film Bob Hope Bing Crosby

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For those interested there is a nice looking print of ROAD TO RIO currently available on You Tube.

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I think that ROAD TO UTOPIA is as funny a film in which Bob Hope ever appeared.

It also has one of my all time favourite laugh moments thanks to a brilliant line of dialogue and Hope's delivery of it.

Bob and Bing are in a tough Alaskan bar posing as a pair of notorious killers. This has everyone else in the place scared of them.

At one point the bartender asks Hope what he'll have to drink and, without thinking, he responds, "Oh, I'll have a lemonade."

When the bar patrons nearby look at him in surprise for ordering a "sissy" drink, Hope, quickly realizing his mistake, growls at the bartender, "IN A DIRTY GLASS!!!"

Road-to-Utopia-02.png

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On 11/8/2018 at 11:40 AM, Ray Faiola said:

UTOPIA is the zenith. No contest IMHO.

When I was a kid I grew up watching the Road films on television. (My parents took me to the show to see Road to Hong Kong - boy, was that a disappointment!).

My special favourite of the series was their jungle safari spoof Road to Zanzibar. I still like it, but I have had a growing admiration for the cleverness of Road to Utopia over the years. The film plays like a sly parody on over-the-top stage melodramas, with a clever twist at the end.

I think Utopia now ranks as my favourite of the series if I had to make a pick of just one.

Hope's last line in the film "We adopted him" will perhaps mean something to those who recall the film.

image?id=860164828418%26t=50%26plc=WEB%2

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47 minutes ago, Ray Faiola said:

UTOPIA is the zenith. No contest IMHO.

My favorite will always be Road to Morocco. A near perfect comedy/ musical film. Utopia comes close though. I also like Road to Bali. "Hoot Mon" is probably my favorite number from their films.

 

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10 hours ago, jakeem said:

"Road to Bali" (1952) is the one I like best. It also features one of my favorite movie cameos.

At one point in the film, Harold Gridley (Bob Hope), George Cochran (Bing Crosby) and Princess Lala (Dorothy Lamour) are stranded on a volcanic island in the Pacific. 

(stock clip from The African Queen)

Crosby: "The African Queen! Humphrey Bogart?" 

Hope: "Boy, is he lost!"

Crosby: "Hey! Hey, Bogie!" 

Hope:  "That was just a mirage!"

Crosby: "Oh yeah? What about this?  (picks up) Humphrey Bogart's Academy Award!"

Hope: "An Oscar?  Gimme that, you've already GOT one!"

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20 hours ago, EricJ said:

I thought Road to Hong Kong--the illegitimate 1962 British Joan Collins "revival" picture--was the "lost" Road picture?

Annex+-+Collins,+Joan+(Road+to+Hong+Kong

I thought this thread was about "Road to the Fountain of Youth;", the film that was never made because of Bing's death.

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You'd figure if they did one more before Bing's death, it'd be called---

THE ROAD TO FOREST LAWN.  ;)

Sepiatone

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One "Road Picture" I liked was ROAD TO MOROCCO, 'cause I found it interesting that when it was made( '42 I believe) there was an unusual reference, at least as far as I knew when I first noticed it....

In a scene where Bob and Bing try to sneak through the Shiek's stronghold, notice a small group of men busy at a table rolling cigarettes for an upcoming celebration, and Hope looks on and asks, "What're these guys doing...making REEFERS?"  :D "Reefer" being a '30's and '40's slang term for a marijuana cigarette.  Seems I recall that any other references to the weed made back then were never by definitive terms, but mild allusion.  It kinda surprised me....

Sepiatone

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7 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

One "Road Picture" I liked was ROAD TO MOROCCO, 'cause I found it interesting that when it was made( '42 I believe) there was an unusual reference, at least as far as I knew when I first noticed it....

In a scene where Bob and Bing try to sneak through the Shiek's stronghold, notice a small group of men busy at a table rolling cigarettes for an upcoming celebration, and Hope looks on and asks, "What're these guys doing...making REEFERS?"  :D "Reefer" being a '30's and '40's slang term for a marijuana cigarette.  Seems I recall that any other references to the weed made back then were never by definitive terms, but mild allusion.  It kinda surprised me....

"Road to Morocco" definitely featured the best song from the series. Written by the songwriters James Van Heusen and Johnny Burke, "(We're Off on the) Road to Morocco" is full of in-jokes and fourth-wall breakage. 

Hope and Crosby updated and recycled the song numerous times through the years.

 

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