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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Road to Singapore (released in 1940) - starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour

This movie is an part of the series of “Road Movies” which had Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour as the principal characters.
Josh Mallon and Ace Lannigan are sailors and best friends who are always together. On their return from duty they witness scenes where sailors are mistreated and cheated on by their women in their lives. So Josh and Ace make a pact to keep women out of their lives. Soon their zeal is teated to the core. First Ace is confronted by his lover Cherry whose family insist on an early marriage. Josh on the other hand has a wealthy father, a shipping magnate,Josh Mallon Senior who wants him to settle down with Gloria, a rich heiress and take over the family business.
A series of misadventures and a dreary fist fight causing a scandal force the friends to flee from the USA to Singapore on the eve of Josh's wedding. Soon money runs out and they find themselves stranded in Kaigoon, a tropical island at their wits end. The duo becomes a trio when they rescue Mima from her abusive fiancée Caesar. Mima, an exotic dancer moves in with them and they try various methods to make money which includes the hilarious spot remover which disintegrates the garment itself.

Meanwhile Josh's father and Gloria trace him and with the help of the jealous Caesar reach their hideout. Josh and Ace fall head over heels in love with Mima, but Mima loves Josh making it the love triangle. As Gloria comes over to claim Josh, Mima is heartbroken to know that Gloria is Josh's Fiancée. Ace proposes to Gloria who accepts and this causes resentment in Josh's mind. The friends fight and almost comes to blows. But Mima chooses Ace and the heart broken Josh sails with his father and Gloria.
Caesar weaves his web again, by tipping off the police about Ace's illegal stay on the island. Ace and Mima barely escape the police net and reach another island. Here Ace releases that Mima actually loves Josh. Josh meanwhile reaches the same island while sailing with this Father. He meets a passenger who complains about a spot remover which has melted his pockets. An overjoyed Josh realizing the presence of his friends goes in search of them. So Ace, Josh and Mima are reunited with Ace revealing that Mima truly loves Josh.
This movie was in-fact rejected by many actors like Fred MacMurray, Jack Oakie, George Burns and Gracie Allen ultimately coming to Hope and Crosby. It was an immediate box office success and spawned many road movies with the Trio. It is followed by Road to Zanzibar.
This movie also has many songs and has one of my favorite, the Moon and the Willow tree. At this age of sci-fi thrillers, a simple movie like this tugs your heart and warms it. It is an ode to the by gone era and lovable lead characters whose trademark simplicity makes it all believable in the end.

Road to Singapore (released in 1940) - starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour

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