The Three Musketeers is a fantasy action film adapted from the Alexander Dumas's novel of the same name. Many versions of this tale has been tried out in Hollywood and has been the favorite period drama adapted by the film industry.
D'Artagnan is a superb swordsman who leaves for Paris to join the famous Musketeers and carry a recommendation letter to De Treville, the commander of the Musketeers. On his way he is assaulted by a lady's guard and his letter is also burnt. Artagnan reaches De Treville who recognizes the assailant and allows him to train for the esteemed position. While on the street Artagnan sees his assailant and tries to duel him enraging the Three musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Artagnan challenges them to a duel and while this happens Richelieu's men try to arrest them Artagnan joins forces with the Musketeers and foils the arrest. This act of valor earns him the respect of the musketeers who take him in to their fold.
That night a chance meeting with Constance Bonacieux, the lady in waiting for the queen Anne leaves Artagnan deeply in love. His feelings are reciprocated by Constance. But trouble is brewing as Queen Anne has a lover in the British Duke, Buckingham. King Louis XIII of France presents his wife Anne, a magnificent pair of earrings which she gives to Buckingham as a token of her love.
This exchange reaches the ear of the wicked Richelieu who plots the overthrow of the King. To precipitate the war between England and France to fulfill his nefarious designs he asks the King to have the queen wear the beautiful diamonds for the grand ball. A panic stricken Queen confides in Constance who enlist the support of the musketeers. But Richlieu sends a Femme fatale Milady de Winter to appropriate the jewel from Buckingham.
As the Musketeers battle Richelieu's men to reach the duke, de Winter gets the earrings. But Artagnan who reaches the goal makes a similar copy, thus helping the Queen to avoid a scandal. Richlieu again asks de Winter to seduce Artagnan to enlist him in his force. Athos reveals that de Winter is his evil wife who is a common murderess thus earning her wrath. Richelieu then kidnaps Constance to force Artagnan's hand. But the queen frees her and send her to Buckingham. De Winter reaches there and is promptly captured, but manages to murder Constance.
A heart broken Artagnan gets an incriminating letter delivered by de Winter to Buckingham in which Richelieu had asked for a partnership. He unmasks Richelieu during the grand ball and has him captured. He also captures de winter who begs for mercy and send her to the guillotine.
This movie has Gene Kelly playing the title role of de Artagnan and Lana Turner the femme fatale de Winter. This movie has June Allyson, John Sutton and Angela Lansbury in key roles. MGM to avoid a confrontation with the Roman Catholic Church, omitted the reference of Cardinal Richelieu from the movie. This movie is one of the successful movies of that year and is a good watch.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The Three Musketeers is a fantasy action film adapted from the Alexander Dumas's novel of the same name. Many versions of this tale has been tried out in Hollywood and has been the favorite period drama adapted by the film industry.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Zorro is the fictional Character developed by Johnston McCulley and has gone through many avatars since 1919. Numerous comics, movies and short television films are made about this dashing hero who is a combination of Robin hood, Batman, Scarlet Pimpernel and many other superheroes. But the myth of the bumbling hero and his heroic Alter ego continues to allure audiences for over a century.
The Mark of Zorro is a silent era film staring Douglas Fairbanks. Don Diego is the son of Don Alejandro, a wealthy rancher and is outwardly a cowardly, effeminate, bumbling guy. But on witnessing the travesty of justice he transforms himself in to a swashbuckling Hero, called Zorro who battles the rich and delivers for the poor.
His hometown in California is governed by Governor Alvarado, his henchman the villainous Captain Juan Ramon and the brutish Sergeant Pedro Gonzales. They terrorize and plunder the peasants who have no where to go. So the peasants turn to Zorro or the Fox who delivers them from their troubles, and marks the assailants with his “z” mark on their faces.
Don Diego is smitten by Alvarado's daughter, Lolita and tries to court her through numerous magic tricks which fall flat. Lolita cannot stand his actions and is courted also by Captain Ramon. But she nurses a romantic feeling for the super hero Zorro. Zorro's adventure continues as he gives one defeat after another for the oppressors and escape through the various mazes and alleyways in the city.
After many adventures, Alvarado's family along with Lolita is jailed and Captain Ramon tries to forcibly take her away. Zorro arrives in his costume only to tear it off to reveal his true identity. Lolita is ecstatic that Diego is in fact her real love Zorro. After a bout of fierce fighting Zorro imprisons the wrong doers and forces Alvarado to abdicate from his post. He wins the soldiers to his side to cleanse the system and also gains Lolita's hand in marriage.
This movie presented Zorro with the present day costume complete with the mask, black clothes and the round hat, which was not envisaged by the creator of Zorro. This movie has been remade many a time, but Douglas Fairbanks Zorro remains the template for all who imagine this super hero.
This movie on release proved to be a critical and box office success. Douglas Fairbanks', athletic good looks made the fighting scenes memorable. The chase through he roof tops, stables and the alleys have to be seen and are magnificent even without any sound effects. The silent movie may not impress you at the start, but soon grows on you as you put yourself completely at the hands of the visuals. It may be overwhelming initially but the cinema grows on you.
This movie has been made very recently with Catherine Zeta Jones and Antonio Banderas as Zorro. The story has undergone a metamorphosis but the underlying premise is the same. Try comparing the two and you will love Douglas Fairbanks too.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This movie is a epoch making movie of the silent film era and is treated as one of the classics of American cinema. This movie stars the effervescent Douglas Fairbanks and was the stepping stone for the Asian Actress Anne May Wong to gain a foothold in Hollywood. This movie takes place in Baghdad where a bare-chested and bare-footed thief Ahmed is living on the streets by his wits. He pilfers his food, wrangles a place to sleep and steals nicknacks to gain money. He never does any gainful work and is contemptuous about his religion.
But things change as he comes across a magic rope during one of his robbing sessions. He uses this rope to steal the ultimate treasure from the Caliph of Persia. As he magics himself in to the castle, he sees the caliphs daughter who is the ethereal beauty. He is completely smitten and even forgets the treasure he came to steal. The Caliph, meanwhile is hunting for suitors for his daughter and calls for princes far and wide. Soon the princes from India, Persia and Mongolia arrive along with the Prince from the Isle of Seven seas who is really Ahmed in his stolen finery.
Ahmed woos the princess and she chooses him to be her husband. The Mongolian Khan is the most disappointed as he had planned to conquer Baghdad on the pretext of the marriage. But Ahmed's deception is soon discovered and he is flogged and thrown out on the streets. A distraught Ahmed takes refuge in religion and takes the advice of the local Mullah. The Mullah tells him that “Happiness has to be earned” and he needs to work for his goal of attaining the princess.
In the meantime the remaining princes are given the task of getting a the most unique treasure to win the heart of the princess. The Prince of Persia buys a flying Carpet, the Prince from India get a crystal ball and the Khan from Mongolia gets the golden apple which can cure any malady. They combine their resources and rush back to Baghdad where the princess is in the throes of death due to the poison administered by the Khan's slave girl. The Khan cures her and the Caliph ponders on the question of the winner. The impatient Khan anyway conquers Baghdad and imprisons everybody in it.
Ahmed in the meantime gets a magic chest which gives him all he desires. He acquires all princely stuff, including a army and defeats the evil Khan. Ahmed gets to marry the princess and lives happily ever after. This silent Era film has amazing sets by William Cameron Menezies and these magnificent creations lend credibility to the adventure scenes which includes Palaces, fire breathing volcanoes, treasure caves, flying horses, lions and battle scenes. At the time of zero special effects, the movie scores on the art department itself. Another point I need to point out is the acting, which seems to be over the top by today's standards. But those actions speak louder than words as emotions are not conveyed by words but by facial and body movements. This movie has to be seen to be believed.
In 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Monday, November 22, 2010
You Can't take it with you (released in 1938) - starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and directed by Frank Capra
This movie was directed by Frank Capra who adapted it from the Pulitzer prize winning Broadway show by Kaufman and Hart. It stars the legendary James Stewart and Jean Arthur in the title roles. It also starred Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold and Spring Byington. Lionel Barrymore was suffering from arthritis and acts in crutches for the entire movie.
Tony Kirby is the heir of a vast business empire whose father Arnold.P.Kirby is a arms dealer and a real estate magnet. Kirby Sr has one ambition, which is build a big ammunition plant and is busy buying vast tracts of land to seal the deal. But one thorn in the flesh is Martin Vanderhoff who refuses to sell him homestead because it is filled with memories. Kirby offers him four times the money but Vanderhoff says no as family and memories are more important than money even during the great depression.
The Vanderhoff's are the most eccentric, screwball family with a devil may care attitude. They never care for money, success or have any ambition. Grandpa's daughter Penny aims to be a writer with little talent and has a small kitten as a paperweight.
Granddaughter Essie has fantasies of becoming a ballerina even as her, Russian teacher exclaims, 'She stinks!' -- and Essie's oafish husband Ed (Dub Taylor) plays the xylophone while wearing his old football jersey. There are other bohemian characters roaming around the house making up explosions along with a mad butler and a maid. To cap it up is Grandpa Vanderhoff who slides down the banisters and ends up breaking leg. Well that is to prove that he is a fun guy who values family fun. The one sweet normal girl is Alice Sycamore who works as a secretary in Tony Kirby's office.
Alice and Tony predictably fall for each other and plan to get hitched. But the perennial hitch of family sanction comes in the way. Anthony Kirby and his snobbish wife are alarmed at Tony's choice but try to humor him by agreeing to meet the girls family. Alice plans a grand dinner and her family agrees to behave. But a wrong date and the wrong meeting makes the introduction explosive as the blue blooded Kirby's are exposed to the bohemian chic of the Vanderhoff's'. Then all goes downhill and the engagement goes in flames.
But love does triumph in the movies changing the life of the Kirby's forever. Kirby's learn to have fun and Vanderhoff triumph as a paragon of virtue. The whole cliché ending of “money can never buy love” happens and everybody lives happily ever after by being poor. This movie had seven academy award nomination wining two -the best picture and the best director trophy. This was the second Oscar for Frank Capra in five years. The box office success was also phenomenal and is treated as one of the nicest romantic comedies. Well if you like romance and enjoy poor vs rich dramas, this one is for you.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Last Horizon (released in 1937) - starring Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt, and directed by Frank Capra
This 1937 movie directed by Frank Capra is adapted from the novel of the same name by James Hilton. This fantasy movie starred Ronald Coleman and Jane Wyatt.
Richard Conway is a man of many talents and is the new British Foreign Secretary. He is a famous Writer, Soldier and highly sought after diplomat. As an armed revolution threatens China he rescues the stranded foreigners in Baskul and escapes with the last of the evacuees. But unknown to him their plane is hijacked and crashes in a remote Himalayan kingdom killing their abductor. They are rescued and taken to Shangri-La, an idyllic valley sheltered from the bitter cold which is headed by a mysterious head Lama.
Here the passengers find their idyllic life very much to their liking. Most of the newcomers grow to love Shangri-La, including paleontologist Alexander Lovett, swindler Henry Barnard, and bitter, terminally ill Gloria Stone, who miraculously seems to be recovering. Richard finds the lovely Sondra whose allure and beauty mesmerizes him. But his younger brother George and another young woman Maria from Shangri-La are bent upon leaving the place. They constantly try to persuade Richard to leave the place.
Richard gets an audience with the Lama, who tells him that his presence in Shangri-La is no accident. His talent and wisdom had impressed them to choose him to be the leader of Shangri-La. The Lama informs him that Shangri-La is a mystical place where people do not age, fall sick or wither with age. He designates Richard as his heir and passes away.
George, depicts the story as mere fantasy and persuades Richard to leave the place. They move on with Maria who upon leaving Shangri-La reaches her real age and dies. George looses his sanity and commits suicide. Richard continues his journey and slowly looses his memory. But on the voyage back to England he remembers all and jumps from the ship rendering him untraceable. He anyway gives an account of his adventures to others traveling with him. Then he makes him way to Shangri-La to continue his task entrusted to him by the Lama.
The movie has major deviations from the book and this has been a sore point with the audience who wanted a faithful adaptation. This movie was one of the expensive movies made in the 30's which drove a rift between the studio and the director. It was not received well and never recovered its money for a long time, meeting costs after 5 years. After it was re-shot and edited it was released to garner some box office success. The critical reception was a mixed one with some critics praising it and others rubbishing the work. It was nominated for 7 academy awards wining the award for Best Art Direction, and Best Film Editing. It lost the award for the best Picture narrowly to the ultimate winner “The life of Emile Zola”. But the movie pioneered high technological advances which were used to film the Himalayan Scenes. A watchable movie if you are interested in the sci-fi Genre.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This 1944 blockbuster was directed by Leo McCarey staring Bing Cosby and Barry Fitzgerald. This movie was the biggest hit and cemented the place of Bing Cosby as one of the biggest guaranteed box office draw of the 40's.
This movie is about a young priest who takes over the parish from a veteran and the feelings of displacement and jealousy involved in this take over. Father O'Malley is a young priest who is sent to the parish of St Dominic's in poor neighborhood of New York. He is to take over from Father Fitzgibbon for whom age is not on his side. The parish has nothing much going on for them, except the petty gossip and rivalries. Soon Father O'Malley revamps the entire going on's, reinvigorating the youth.
Father Fitzgibbon feels the parish slipping away from his hands as he watches O'Malley in action. The younger parish priest gets a grip on everything like the parish interludes and youthful capers. And slowly resentment sets in Fitzgibbon's mind. But O'Malley is aware of the confusion in the older man's mind and he is kind and considerate. He slowly chips away the armor and engages him.
O'Malley and his friend Father Timothy "Timmy" O'Dowd take Father Fitzgibbon for golf and he thoroughly enjoys it calling it the great outdoor pool. Soon he opens up about his parish life of past 50 years. He also mentions about his mother who is pushing 90 living in Ireland. O'Malley has his own personal demons to deal with with his interrupted love affairs. Soon pieces start to fall in to the right places. The choir is formed and the youth movement gains momentum with the prime mischief maker young Tony Scaponi comes to the fold.
Then tragedy strikes when the church is damaged in a massive fire on Christmas eve. But the spirit of togetherness kindled by Father O'Malley cannot be extinguished so soon. The newly awakened parish rally against odds and celebrate Christmas as a family in a temporary church. At this momentous occasion, Fitzgibbon's elderly mother reaches him all thanks to O'Malley efforts. But the joyous occasion has a sad tinge with O'Malley being transferred to another parish. But the builder builds for others and the fruits of his creation may not be for his sake but for the restoration of others. As the parish rejuvenates and embraces each other, O'Malley slips away for his new task.
This movie was a monster hit and was nominated for 10 academy awards winning seven. Bing Cosby won the Oscar for Best actor and Barry Fitzgerald won for the best supporting actor. Barry was nominated for the best actor award and lost to Cosby. After this the Oscar committee restricted the nominations to one category. It also won the Oscar for best picture, best director, best screenplay and best song. It was followed the next year by a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's.
In 2004, Going My Way was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". A feel good movie worth a watch.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Arsenic and Old Lace (Released in 1944) - Starring Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, and Raymond Massey
Arsenic and Old Lace is a 1944 film directed by Frank Capra based on Joseph Kesselring's play of the same name. It stars Cary Grant along with Josephine Hull, Jean Adir, Raymond Massey and John Alexander.
Cary Grant is Mortimer Brewster who does not believe in love stories and the institution of marriage and has written several books against it. But his views are put to the test when he falls head over heels for his childhood friend Elaine Harper and they get married on Halloween day. So Mortimer and his new bride go visiting relations after their wedding. Mortimer's bizarre relatives live in their family house and consist of his aunts, Ada and Martha and his brother Teddy. Well one hitch is that both Ada and Martha are very eccentric with Teddy crowning the madness streak. Teddy believes himselves to be Teddy Roosevelt and charges at all occasions over the banisters, imitating Roosevelt's famous charge up San Juan Hill.
Sinister and devilish plots and corpses tumble out of his Aunts closets. Both Ada and Martha inform him about their charity of bumping off invalid old members to end their presumed suffering by giving them elderberry wine spiked with arsenic. These corpses are unwittingly buried by Teddy who believes that he is digging locks for the Panama Canal and burying yellow fever victims.
To complicate matters further, Mortimer's more sinister brother Jonathan arrives along with his plastic surgeon friend Dr. Herman Einstein. Jonathan is a psychotic murderer who has his face altered by Dr. Einstein to look like Boris Karloff in his makeup as Frankenstein's monster. Jonathan finds about his aunts secrets and try to bury his latest victim Mr. Spenalzo in the basement. This is vehemently opposed by his aunts who think their victims prestige will be lowered being buried with a lowly Spenalzo. Soon all the crazed deranged relatives turn their attention to Mortimer.
A mortally afraid and mortified Mortimer tries to keep one step ahead of them. He tries to protect Elaine and makes various bumbling attempts to alert the cops and get his aunts and Teddy to an asylum. He is also scared of going insane as his relatives as insanity is galloping through the Brewster's from the days of their arrival aboard the Mayflower.
In the end, he manages to get his relatives booked and locked up. The ultimate redemption comes when he is informed by Ada, that he is not a Brewster, but the son of a chef aboard the ship. A relieved Mortimer walks in to the sunset with Elaine, happy to be a sea cooks son.
This movie is a spoof of the Black widow murders and was well received at the box office. This movie was also the critics favorite and is treated as one of the great 100 laugh riots by the American Film Institute. This macabre movie is a great fun to watch and I would recommend it highly for anybody. Just keep it away from children below eight.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Road to Hong Kong (released in 1962) - starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Joan Collins (the last in the Road series)
This is the last edition of the Road series staring Bing Cosby and Bob Hope. But the female lead was played by Joan Collins instead of the old time favorite Dorothy Lamour. Lamour makes a smart guest appearance in the movie for old times sake. This movie was directed by Norman Panama.
Harry Turner and Chester Babock are small time vaudeville actors and Chester suffers a localized amnesia when he is hit on the the head while hawking a do-it-yourself-space kit in India. Harry takes him to a local Lama who feeds him a wonder herb which not only restores his mind but gives him a high speed photographic memory. At the airport, Chester meets Diane, a spy for the “Third Echelon” an organization of mad scientists who are bent upon ruling the world, sorry the universe. Diane mistakes him to be a photographer sent to copy the secret Russian formula for rocket fuel. Chester memorizes the formula just by glancing at it and Diane destroys the other copy.
Soon the mad men are after the con men and they are captured. Both Harry and Chester are send in a rocket in the place of apes and tested upon successfully. The third Echelon members try to sacrifice them for science and send them to a harem to make their final hours wonderful. Diane, by now realizes that her employers are starking mad and decides to help the duo. Soon the trio are in a mad run of an escape.
Dorothy Lamour, an old friend help them outwit the pursuers and keep them at her night club. She alerts the police and the Third Echelon is raided. But Harry, Chester and Diane are trapped in a rocket which takes them to a distant planet called Plutonium where they meet the new comic duo, Frank Sinatra and Dean martin. And thus the baton passes to the next generation.
The last edition of the Road movie was not well received by the audiences and one can safely say that this is the least funniest of the series. It tends to be a spoof of all the spy movies but fails flat on deliverance. The worst transgression was the female lead, Joan Collins who is a poor replacement for Dorothy Lamour. Lamour is infinitely more attractive, stately and talented. It seems that Cosby did not want Lamour because she was too old for the franchise and she had a guest appearance because of Hope's insistence. But I can safely say age has caught up on Bing Cosby's face, more than any of his co-actors of the series. And it is pretty safe to say Joan Collins falling for 60 something Cosby was too far fetched.
This picture was not made by Paramount pictures but by a British company and has hugely spoofed off Dr. No. Many James Bond regulars like, Robert Marley, Syd Cain and Walter Gotell along with Peter Niven appear in this movie. The famous transsexual April Ashley also appears in this movie and due to the gender discriminatory practices of those years, her name was pulled from the credits.
Well this movie is worth the look because of its predecessors, but do not go looking for the yesteryear gags. The magic is gone and the remnants of it promises a glint, not the glitter of gold.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The wacky trio Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour star in this penultimate movie of the road series. This is the only movie to be pictured in Technicolor and the last movie to star Lamour. The director of Road to Utopia, Hal Walker makes a come back with this movie.
So again the two vaudeville actors Harold Gridely and George Cochran leave their act mid-way to get away from fathers of the daughters who were romancing them. The fathers armed with boomerangs want a shot gun wedding and the two con artist complete with disguises flee across Melbourne to reach Port Darwin. Here they get the job nobody wants; which is to get Prince Ken Aroke's sunken treasure. Many deep sea divers have lost their lives to a gigantic sea creature who seems to guard the treasure.
But the treasure belongs to the deceased king, who has the beauteous daughter Princess Lalah whom Ken wants to forcibly marry to usurp the throne. Lalah likes George but cannot forget Harold as he resembles her childhood friend – a chimpanzee. This is really one of the most hilarious resemblances in the history of motion pictures. Princess Lalah warns George about the Boga-Ten or the underwater squid which guards the treasure. George tricks Harold in to diving and he is soon accosted by Boga-Ten. Harold slips out of his suit and comes overboard with the treasure only for it to be yanked off by Ken. But the squid pulls out Ken in a deadly embrace leaving the trio rich beyond dreams.
But to escape from Ken, the duo move on with the treasure and the princess towards home. But Harold gets distracted when Lalah says that she loves both of them and the ship gets wrecked on another Island. Here Harold and George are taken in by a very smitten gorilla and even see the mirage of Humphrey Bogart, Hilarious scenes which leave you clutching stitches on your sides.
But as the Gorilla leaves them, barbaric natives cart them off to their homes ostensibly to shrink their brains and skulls. The tribes medicine man Bhoom Da is a friend of Lalah's Father and tries to help them. But their chief Ramayana, is in cahoots with Ken and he tries to persuade Bhoom Da to host a two groom wedding. Both Harold and George are told separately about the wedding and get excited. But they are drugged and wake up only the next day. They soon learn Lalah's fate and rush to rescue her. By that time the volcano erupts scattering the natives and the mad trio escape again.
Harold and George ask Lalah to pick one of them and Lalah picks George. A dejected Harold conjurers up Joan Russell to be his companion. But alas she picks George who walk away in to the sunset with two girls. Howzatt!!! for a perfect ending. Nothing should induce you to keep away from the Road series. Perfectly unbalanced fun, Top class.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The ultimate comical trio, Bing Cosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour star yet again in this wacky comedy where we have the action all aboard an ocean liner bound to Rio in Brazil. This movie is directed by Norman McLeod.
Scat Sweeney and Hotlips Barton are out of work musicians travel around the world trying to stay out of trouble and women. But inevitably they fail and after starting a fire in the circus with their hare brained act, they become stow aways in a Rio bound ship. They meet Lucia Maria Andrade and are immediately smitten by her. But Lucia blows hot and cold every moment. One time she is sweet and welcoming and the next minute she hands them over to the captain as unwelcome visitors.
Lucia is accompanied by her aunt Catherine Vail who seems to have an uncommon influence over her. She tells them that Lucia is to be married to her brother in Rio. Soon the stow aways discover that Vail is hypnotizing Lucia to keep her under control and some “papers” safe between them.
Both Scat and Hotlips plan to help out Lucia and get her off from Vail's influence. They soon succeed, but the uncanny Lady Vail puts her back under her spell and Lucia slaps them both. She even hypnotizes both of them and makes them fight against each other to the kill. But the boys soon figure out the evil designs of the devilish Aunt and soon reach Rio to rescue the damsel in distress. Lucia is all set to marry Vail's brother and a mysterious stranger informs the boys that the only way to stop the wedding is to retrieve “the papers”. So Scat and Hotlips reach the venue with Hotlips disguised in drag. They manage to hypnotize (again) Aunt Vail's henchmen and retrieve the papers. Scat reads them through and when Hotlips asks him what they are he says “the world should never know”.
So they use these papers to stop the wedding and the ultimate scene includes a cavalry charge from Hope's frequent sidekick Jerry Colonna to rescue the two wedding crashers. So the wedding is crashed, the girl is rescued and the evil aunt put to the test. Hotlips gets the girl and Scat sees him hypnotizing the girl but cannot do anything. The papers are revealed to be the best ultimate secret, the cutest of gags.
This road movie is the longest of the series running up to 100 minutes. But the gags are the same and the punches perfect. My favorite scene is the one when Bing and Bob introduce the Portuguese singers as Americans and teach the musicians one American line each by rote. Just imagine strong Portuguese men with Spanish accent's saying an American phrase by rote: "You're in the groove, Jackson", "You're Telling Me," and "This is Murder." Perfectly hilarious. You need a dose of the road movies to get the blues off your hazy eyes. Good watch always.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
This is the fourth installment of the “road” movies starring Bing Cosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. The road to Utopia is the one movie which does not have a real place mentioned even though Alaska is referred to the ultimate destination in the movie. This movie is directed by Hal walker and it is narrated by humorist Richard Bentchley with the real story in flashbacks.
Sal and Chester are an old couple who are reunited with an old pal Duke and they reminisce about their adventure in pursuit of the gold mines in Alaska. Sal is the daughter of Professor Van Hoyden who has the map of a gold mine in Alaska. Two thugs, McGurk and Sperry murder the professor and make off with the map. But Van Hoyden in his dying moments tells Sal about the maps and the thugs. He asks Sal to meet Ace Larsen in Alaska and Sal manages to get in to the last boat to Alaska before the thugs.
The thugs, in order to hide from the cops, get in to the stage room where Chester and Duke are performing a vaudeville. The thugs force them to flee from the theater with an angry mob on the tow. Chester tries to split the earnings with Duke, but Duke picks his pockets to make a run to the boat leaving for Alaska. Chester manages to get in to the boat just as the two thugs. After much activity, Chester manages to lose the entire money and both of them are forced to work on the boat for a passage. During their duties they steal the map, overpower the thugs and take their identities to leave the boat.
Meanwhile Sal on reaching Alaska finds employment in Ace Larsen's saloon and both Ace and Kate (his girlfriend) plan to double cross her. As Chester and Duke reach the saloon disguised as the thugs, Sal encourages their attentions to steal the map. Ace also encourages her mission and plant Kate to spy on her. Sal two times both Chester and Duke who fall head over heels in love and steals the map. But Chester and Duke realize that they are being led soon fight over the girl.
After a lot of comedy Sal realizes that she has fallen in love with Duke and tells Ace that she will give the map only if both of them are spared. To augment the confusion, the real thugs arrive on the scene and chase them over the cold Alaskan terrain for the map. Soon Ace also encourages a posse to hunt them down. So the chase begins and they flee on a dog sled. But then Ace splits with Sal on Chester on one side and Duke on the other with the posse. Duke throws them the map and urges them on.
After many years the friends meet at Sal's and Chester's married home and Duke tells them how he beat the posse and make his way. And all is well with the terrific trio. A madcap adventure comedy which will enthrall the viewers with its general wackiness and one-liners. I would recommend this laughter antidote anytime of the day.