Road to Morocco (1942)

  • Would you believe that I’ve never seen a Bob Hope movie? Because I somehow haven’t. But, my friends…today’s the day!
  • This is apparently the third in a series of “Road to” films starring Bing Crosby & Hope. The first was ROAD TO SINGAPORE (1940) and the second was ROAD TO ZANZIBAR (1941), and if I’m being totally honest, none of them sound that appealing to me. But #3 (this one) is on AFI’s list of Top 100 Comedies, so I’ve decided to finally watch it. (That leaves 13 movies on that list I’ve yet to see…if anyone cares to know.)
  • Not sure how I feel about the singing breaks & the characters’ occasional references to the fact that they’re aware they’re in a movie. (Like – they allude to their contracts at Paramount lasting another 5 years…and say something about ‘probably meeting up with Dorothy Lamour later.’) Anyway – it’s weird, and I don’t think I’m a fan of it.
  • Okay, so – here’s the tale. Orville (Hope) and Jeff (Crosby) are somehow involved in a boat explosion (they were castaways, and someone (Orville?) decided to “take a smoke in the powder room”). So they float away on a wreckage raft to the nearest land – which happens to be a piece of North Africa – and a camel finds them & takes them to Morocco.

(Just go with it.)

  • Now, Jeffrey has just sold Orville to a random man in exchange for food money. Orville is (predictably) not too pleased about this development.
  • Bob Hope apparently also plays Aunt Lucy, the boys’ deceased relative who plays a small harp & continually appears out of thin air to act as some sort of spirit guide for the both of them. (I wonder if she does this in all of these movies?) (Edit: Nope. Just this one. Which makes it way weirder.)
  • Hold on – Orville is also named Turkey? That’s confusing.
  • TurkeyOrville is now eating a lollipop and dressed in Moroccan finery, while  snuggling a singing Dorothy Lamour. This, it seems, is the result of Jeffrey’s earlier money exchange. Not a bad arrangement for TurkeyOrville, all things considered.
  • The palace servant girls paint TurkeyOrville’s toenails with the color “Nightingale’s Blush.” As usual, I’d like to know what this color looked like in real life. Am very sad that I’ll never know for sure.
  • Crosby & Hope have fantastic comedic chemistry. They make the flow of dialogue between them seem super effortless.
  • Wuh oh. Jeff is stealing the Princess (Lamour) from TurkeyOrville! (Luckily, though – TurkeyOrville has a backup in the form of Mihirmah (Dona Drake)).
  • Aha! Turns out there’s a prophecy that says the Princess’s first husband will die within the first week of their marriage, but that husband #2 will last many happy years. So the Princess recruited a rando (TurkeyOrville) to marry real fast, so that the man she really wants to marry (Mullay Kasim, played by Anthony Quinn) doesn’t get murdered by fate. Clever!
  • Except…the prophecy wasn’t real, because the old man who made it mistook the movements of some fireflies trapped in his telescope for the movements of Jupiter & Venus. (Ugh. I hate it when that happens.)
  • After TurkeyOrville & Jeff have been dropped in the desert & hallucinate a hamburger restaurant, a hallucination of Dorothy Lamour rises up from the sand.

“She must have been visiting a gopher friend,” says TurkeyOrville.

Ha!

  • Mihirmah’s big escape plan for the boys is to slip them a magic ring that’ll grant them 3 wishes? And if that doesn’t work, the ring has poison in it that they can take?

…What?

  • Well, turns out the prison guard was a dope – so none of that’s relevant anyway.
  • I like the talking camels that appear – ever so briefly – towards the end. And I like the pranking TurkeyOrville & Jeff use to start the war there at the end, too.
  • So…I don’t know. This wasn’t an uproariously funny movie (I only laughed out loud once, at the gopher line), and I definitely would never watch the other six (yes, SIX) in the series – but I didn’t hate it. It was a really easy watch, if that makes sense – I didn’t struggle to stay contented or interested enough in it to keep watching the film, which is sometimes a problem I have with unhilarious comedies (THE COURT JESTER (1955) and IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963) come to mind as examples). As I said earlier, Crosby & Hope make a quality duo, and that made this a largely pleasant movie experience.
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