Road to Rio (1947)

“I can’t figure that Lucy out: one minute she’s sweet as pie, and the next, a heel!”

Synopsis:
A pair of out-of-work musicians (Bob Hope and Bing Crosby) stow away on a cruise ship to Rio, where they meet a wealthy young woman (Dorothy Lamour) who’s being hypnotized by her evil caretaker (Gale Sondergard).

Genres:

Review:
This fifth entry in the enduringly popular Road to… film series is also its longest, and shows signs of the comedic formula beginning to wear thin. While Hope and Crosby are still in fine form together, and Lamour is as lovely as ever, a number of the running gags — including an extended sequence involving Hope, Crosby, and Lamour teaming up with a trio of non-English-speaking singers, played by the Wiere brothers — fall somewhat flat. Despite its status as one of the “least” of the series, however, there’s still plenty of enjoyable shtick here for fans to appreciate. Followed in 1952 by Road to Bali — the only “Road” film (inexplicably) not listed in Peary’s book — and then in 1962 by the series’ humorously off-beat final entry, The Road to Hong Kong.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Hope and Crosby, still going strong in their humorous rivalry
  • Creative opening credits
  • Memorable one-liners: Hope [greeting Sondergard under his breath]: “It’s tall, dark and cyanide!”

Must See?
No, though it’s an enjoyable enough entry in the series, and certainly must-see for diehard Road to… fans. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.

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One Response to “Road to Rio (1947)”

  1. Not a must. BUT~

    This one is not nearly as bad as several others in the series. (Yes, I actually did say that.)

    It’s still not a good movie. It does hold the ‘Road’ template that makes the entire series something of a cheat – because basically each ‘Road’ movie is almost the exact same movie over again. But ‘Road to Rio’ has one main asset: a better screenplay (this one by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose). My feeling is…if you’re going to make the same movie over again, make sure you bring in writers who can somehow still give it a ‘personal’ stamp. An attempt toward that end has been made here. Not a completely successful attempt, but enough of one to prevent real comedy fans from feeling brain-dead. A good half of the script is funny – not brilliantly funny, but genuinely amusing. (For example, it’s quite clever to have a group of horsemen charge ‘to the rescue’, only to treat them as not needed after all.)

    As a result, Hope and Crosby fare somewhat better, as do their co-stars. H&C even seem to be enjoying themselves a bit more. (I happen to find The Wiere Brothers charming, even if not always used properly here – i.e., the whole bit about guys wearing the wrong hats just doesn’t work, and it’s milked badly.)

    It’s too bad more effort wasn’t made to make this entry better than it is. And the songs (not a memorable one in the batch) don’t help. Particular harm is done when the wonderful Andrews Sisters are given a number that’s simply not worthy of them.

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