“If he’s a god, I’M Mickey Mouse!”
A pair of con-artists (Bob Hope and Bing Crosby) flee to Zanzibar, where they are duped into buying a worthless deed for a diamond mine, romance an American con-girl (Dorothy Lamour), and are held captive by a tribe of natives.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bing Crosby Films
- Bob Hope Films
- Dorothy Lamour Films
- Love Triangle
This second entry in the wildly successful Road To… Hope/Crosby adventure comedy series bumped the films up into the realm of pure silliness, and introduced their trademark self-referential humor. Much like the same year’s Hellzapoppin’ (1941), the actors in … Zanzibar brazenly break the “fourth wall” of cinema by commenting on the conventions of filmmaking itself — most memorably in the boat ride scene between Lamour and Crosby. Hope and Crosby continue to develop their snappy comedic rapport together, and are surrounded by a fine supporting cast. Eric Blore has a fun supporting role early on as the giddily unreliable seller of the bum deed, while Lamour is provided with a juicier, less submissive role this time around, and is ably supported by comedic sidekick Una Merkel. The storyline itself — essentially a satire of jungle flicks — is far too ridiculous to spend time analyzing; either you’ll give in and enjoy the silliness or you won’t. I’m recommending it as must-see for all film fanatics given that it’s a representative early example of this infamously zany series.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fun rapport between Crosby and Hope
- Amusing “meta-cinematic” references
- Fine supporting performances by Dorothy Lamour and Una Merkel
Yes, as one of the best films in the Road To… series — and the first to really reveal the series’ comedic potential. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.