Road to Morocco (1942)

“This is the screwiest picture I was ever in.”

Synopsis:
A pair of castaways (Bob Hope and Bing Crosby) fall in love with an Arabian princess (Dorothy Lamour), whose jealous fiance (Anthony Quinn) is determined to keep her for himself.

Genres:

Review:
This third entry in the enormously popular Hope/Crosby Road to… series is acknowledged by many as one of the best of the bunch. As in Road to Zanzibar (1941), the storyline in …Morocco is ridiculous beyond belief, and not meant to evoke anything close to reality; instead, viewers should simply relax and enjoy the zany rapport between Hope and Crosby, whose complicated rivalry for beautiful Lamour reaches new heights here, and even includes an additional love interest for Hope (earnest Dona Drake). Interestingly, …Morocco has risen to the top of the series’ rankings over the years, earning a coveted invitation to the National Film Registry in 1996, and appearing on Premiere Magazine’s “50 Greatest Comedies of All Time”. To be honest, however, having recently rewatched the entire series, I find it simply on a par with several of the other Road to… titles, and am not sure it deserves to be particularly called out in this fashion. Nonetheless, it’s certainly a worthy and representative entry, and should probably be seen by all film fanatics simply for its historical notoriety.

P.S. Road to Morocco is notable as the first film in the series with an entirely “original” screenplay, not based on another story.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Hope and Crosby’s effectively droll rapport together
  • Plenty of fun “meta-cinematic” humor and slyly self-referential jokes

Must See?
Yes, simply as another representative Road to… flick, acknowledged by many as one of the best. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.

Categories

Links:

One Response to “Road to Morocco (1942)”

  1. Not a must.

    After revisiting this (after many, many years), I had to go back and see what my thoughts were on my revisit of ‘Road to Hong Kong’. As disappointing as the latter film is, it’s still preferred over ‘Morocco’. ‘RTM’ is quite simply an extremely dated film which, for me anyway, has practically no real entertainment value. It does have the odd funny bit very occasionally. Its premise does make for a bit of clever plot construction (why couldn’t the same cleverness be applied to the actual writing?). But, overall, this lumbering affair may be harmless fluff to others – but I find it a miserable movie-watching experience.

    If you check what fans at Netflix and IMDb say, it seems people have their favorites in the series. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on which one is actually the best. I will, of course, continue through the other titles as they cross my street – but I do suspect there just isn’t a ‘best’ to be found in this franchise. Just because it was wildly popular in its day is not – in itself – a reason for me to ‘must’ something with a rather obvious expiration date.

    I will give Hope the ‘Nice Try Award’ for his few appearances as his elderly aunt. His delivery shows promise here but, alas, the aunt is not nearly as funny as she should be.

    Note: In this film, I did notice two occasions in which Hope and Crosby’s characters reveal a rather clear and strong distaste for the idea of two men kissing. In the first, a camel takes turns licking each of them and, unaware, both H&C think the other guy is out-of-line. In the second, H&C flat-out kiss when Lamour steps out from between them. It’s odd to witness such obvious male alarm over such intimacy rather than treating it as something that could just be shrugged-off (as, say, Europeans might).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.