This is the third installment of the “Road” movies starring Bing Cosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. This comedy film was directed by David Butler for Paramount Pictures.
Jeff Peters and Orville Jackson, stowaways on a ship are rendered asunder at sea due to an explosion. The explosion is caused by Orville's smoking in the powder room. As the jetsam and flotsam come ashore Orville reminds Jeff of his promise to Aunt Lucy about taking care of him. As they argue about the validity of the promise, they chance upon a camel and hitch a ride to Morocco.
At Morocco they are run over by the sinister sheik Mullah Kasim who is pursuing a princess. As they hide from the marauders in a restaurant, Jeff sells Orville for a large sum of money to an unknown person. Soon Orville is bundled off and Jeff moves on with the money. But Jeff is tortured by Aunt Lucy's spirit who remind him of his promise and Jeff tries to buy Orville back. He is distraught to know that Orville has been resold and tries to find Orville by singing his favorite song. AS he approaches a palace singing a note with Orville's locket is tossed at him with a warning to stay away or face torture. Fearing about Orville's safety Jeff scales the wall and to his surprise find Orville entertained by Princess Shalmar and her retinue.
An angry Jeff tries to fight Orville an is seized by the guards and Orville tries to feign ignorance about him. Shalmar forces Orville to admit the truth and allows Jeff to stay at the palace with Orville to his dismay. The palace wise man Hyder Khan tells the princess that the stars are in favor for her to marry Orville and the Princess agrees. This makes Jeff very jealous. Orville is waited upon by beautiful girls and the Princesses chief attendant Mirhmah, tells him that she loves him too. She asks Orville to run away with her. Jeff in the mean time convinces the princess that he is the right one and Shalmar falls in love with him.
In the mean time, Kasim confronts the Shalmar about two timing him and Shalmar tells him about Hyder Khan's prophecy, that the first husband of hers would die a violent death. She tells him that after Orville's death she would happily marry him. Orville overhears the prophecy and runs up to Jeff and acts like he is surrendering the Princess. Jeff is very happy and tries to get married. But the Princess who is in love with him refuses his hand and Hyder Khan who has discovered that his predictions are false because of the fireflies on the telescope rushes to Shalmar with the news. But the news reaches Kasim too and both Orville and Jeff are booted out. Kasim Capture the princess and turns them out in to the desert.
But the irrepressible duo come back to outwit Kasim to get the Princess and Mirhmah to a boat and sail away to the states. But Orville's smoking gets them stranded in the ocean but closer to new York. This movie was nominated for 3 Oscars, namely, the Best Sound Recording and Best Writing,Original Screenplay. In 1996, Road to Morocco was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". A very funny film and a perfect movie getaway to blow the blues away.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This is the third installment of the “Road” movies starring Bing Cosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. This comedy film was directed by David Butler for Paramount Pictures.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This is the second installment of the “Road “series which became a monster hit assuring the production of the subsequent movies. It stars the usual suspects, Bing Cosby, Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope.
Chuck Reardon and Hubert Fearless Frazier are con artist who work as side shows for a local success. One act like a human cannonball sets the whole circus on fire and they are on the run. Chuck comes out with real impossible ideas and son Fearless has had enough. He proposes to go home to the USA and starts packing. At a restaurant they are sent champagne by a wealthy eccentric miner who bail them out from the police. Soon they are invited by him to drink on his yacht. Fearless continues to pack and sulk when Chuck returns from the yacht with the news that the miner has sold his mines for a sum of five thousand. They rejoice their good fortune and their joy is short lived when they find out that the deed is worthless.
Fearless, an expert con man resells the deed for another gullible for seven and plans to flee. But Monsieur Lebec, the buyer insists they accompany him to the mines. Helpless the duo jump on to a boat and float to Africa. Here they meet Julia and Donna who live by their wits. Unknown to Chuck and fearless Julia asks them to save Donna from a save auction. They pay 150 local money to save Donna who plans to carry the con further to extract the full seven Thousand from them.
Donna romances both Chuck and Fearless even though Fearless suspects a rat. They come to blows for claiming Donna's hand and are informed by Julia about Donna's rich boyfriend. The angry cons run to the jungle to confront Donna who is swimming in the lake. Two leopards come and tear apart her clothes which makes Chuck and Fearless fear for her life and confess their love. This scene is one of the funniest in motion picture history. As Chuck and Fearless sing their eulogies and profess their feelings about the dead Donna with her hanging nearby, the audience are clutching stitches by the side. But love turns to anger as they realize that she is alive and well and both storm in to the jungle soon to get lost.
As they wander in the forest they are captured by the natives who think them as Gods and adorn them with jewels. But as Fearless loses a fight with an octopus the Natives plan to cook them. Soon after a series of comic capers, the duo escape to civilization and are joined by the con sisters. Donna who is in love with Chuck leaves her rich boyfriend and joins them. The foursome soon join in their brains to make money through what they are best at, conning people. A very good amazing comedy which will have you in splits if you ever get a chance to watch it.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
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.
Friday, October 22, 2010
This movie is a Paramount Movies release and is the last of the big broadcast series. It stars the irrepressible duo, WC Fields and bob Hope along with Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Ross and Martha Ray. This movie is directed by Mitchell Leisen and consists of a variety shows aboard a ship.
Buzz Fielding, the famous Radio host is incarcerated in prison because of the non payment of alimony to his three wives. His lover, Dorothy Wyndham pawns her engagement ring to get him out on bail. Two ships SS Gigantic and SS Colossal are engaged in a trans Atlantic Race from New York City to Cherbourg. France. T. Frothingal Bellows to help Gigantic intends to send his brother SB Bellows and his unlucky daughter Martha on Colossal because SB causes accidents where ever he goes.
But as luck could have it, because of a golfing mix up, SB' golfing cart ends up in SS Gigantic and the unlucky duo are inadvertent passengers. Buzz fielding is the entertainer at the ship and to his utter discomfiture, his three wives, Cleo, Grace and Joan, along with current flame Dorothy travel together in Gigantic.
The first performance on the ship is by Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm (themselves), who play "This Little Ripple Had Rhythm" for a cartoon sequence. Buzz introduces the Mexican singer Tito Guizar who regale the audience. Meanwhile Grace distracts SB and Dorothy who brings food for the ships power source inventor Bob, are attracted to each other. Dorothy and Bob sing "You Took the Words Right Out of My Heart”. Opera Diva Kirsten Flagstad sing “The Ride of the Valkyries" and is followed by Honey Child, a comedy routine.
In the mean time the Colossal is way ahead of the Gigantic and Buzz has a tough time manipulating his wives. As Buzz lean depressed on the hull, Cleo cheer him up and they reminisce their happy days. Buzz and Cleo realize they have feelings for each other and give the audience a slice of their heart through “Thanks for the Memory”. Mean while the Gigantic has a power failure and Dorothy and Bob work together to fix the power source. With the renewed power source Gigantic close on to the Colossal while the comedy routine by WC Fields and Martha continue.
At the end Buzz and Cleo renew their romance and sing “the Waltz lives on” which fine tunes, polka, Waltz and a host of other dances. Gigantic closes on to the colossal and edges past it to win the race. Dorothy and Bob find love along with the many other characters.
The film has a tame and abrupt ending, but lives up to its reputation as the last and best of the big broadcast films. It won an Oscar for the beast original song by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin for the song Thanks for the Memory. This movie has the unique distinction in being Bob Hope's first feature film. The DVD of the film has been released and one can enjoy it to this day as an ode to the simpler musical times far gone.
Monday, October 18, 2010
This comedy was directed by Eugene Nugget, and stars the eternal funny man Bob Hope along with Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre and a host of other comic stars of the 40's with Bill Cosby putting in a guest appearance.
The movie starts with Ronnie Jackson, a death row inmate eating his last meal after his reprieve is not granted. He tries to make the reporters to understand that he did not commit the crime and a sympathetic warden allows him to narrate his tale. Bob Hope stars as Ronnie Jackson, a baby portrait photographer who nurses a secret ambition to become a private eye as his next door neighbor. He is jealous of the macho private detective Sam MacCloud and asks him for a job.
As he is finishing a portrait of the Fong baby who never smiles, he throws in the towel and gets to MacCloud and tells him about his pet invention, the keyhole camera and the gun and asks him to hire him But Sam turns him down and asks him to mind his office while he is on vacation. As Ronnie is lounging in the office pretending to be a private eye, the damsel in distress Carlotta Montay mistakes him for MacCloud and asks his expertise in tracing her husband.
An elated Ronnie takes up the case and goes to the address given by Carlotta. But he encounters the oily attorney Montague and his evil sidekick Kismet who trick him. But Ronnie uses his keyhole camera to photograph them impersonating the Baron Montay. Soon the gang, hot on his heels vandalize his shop and trap him in an asylum where Carlotta and her husband turned uncle, Baron Montay are trapped. The baron informs him that the gang are after a coded treasure map which only an engineer who coded it can decipher. They escape from the clutches of the gang and go in search of the engineer.
But Kismet murders the engineer using Ronnie's gun and pins the deed on him which has the police hot on his heels. But he still tries to go to Washington DC under disguise to help Montay. But the police arrest him and he is subsequently convicted to death for the murder. Carlotta working tirelessly with the help of Sam MacCloud stumble on Mrs Fong who gives her the photograph of the gang captured by Ronnie's keyhole camera. AS luck could have it the murderers has destroyed the Fong Baby's photograph instead of their murderous action. Ronnie escapes the gallows and reunites with Carlotta and the gang gets their just desserts.
This comedy of errors is laden with one liners which tickles your funny bone continuously. Bob Hope is accused of repeating himself in every movie but I think nobody does complain because that guy is a complete entertainer. A sample of his wit is when Montay says “I am at my wits end, Hope Replies “I passed there an hour ago” or when he says after his last meal “this is the worst last meal I have ever tasted”.
“My Favorite Brunette” had a curious advertising campaign, with poster art that depicted Hope in a heavy mustache and Lamour in a bikini – there is no such scene in the film where the actors appear like that. Any way you get a chance you grab the chance for you will regret if you don't.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
"Crossing Over" is directed by Wayne Kramer who also writes the screen play and depicts the plight of immigrants who want to make USA their home. It deals with The film deals with the border, document fraud, the asylum and green card process, work-site enforcement, naturalization, the office of counter-terrorism and the clash of cultures. It stars Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta and many others in significant roles.
This drama film has a bunch of characters who goes through the rigors of immigration and their intertwining lives forms the basis of the screenplay. Officer Max Brogan is a tender hearted officer who goes beyond the call of duty to deliver the son of Mireya Sanchez who has been deported to Mexico. But he finds out that she has been killed at the border crossing and has the heart breaking task of delivering this news as well. Brogan's colleague Hamid Baraheri is an Iranian immigrant whose family has a tough time adjusting to the American life. His father and brother kill their sister for going out with her boyfriend and are arrested for this honor killing. Hamid knows the law and is torn between duty and family.
Kim Soon Yong, an south Korean unwittingly becomes a part of the robbery attempt which is intercepted by Hamid who shoots all perpetrators. Hamid spares Yong and lets him off with a warning and lies his superiors about the number of people to prevent a criminal record on Yong's name. Yong is able to get his green card because of Hamid's mercy.
Cole Frankel, a corrupt immigration official makes a deal with Claire Sheppard, and Australian for sexual favors in exchange of a green card. He falls in love with her and waives the mandatory two month waiting period to get a green card. But Sheppard does not love him and declines his offer. But soon the duo is caught and Sheppard is deported and Frankel is convicted of fraud. Denise Frankel adopts a Nigerian baby languishing in the detention center in a parallel story line.
Gavin Kosseff pretends to be a religious Jew to get admission to the Jewish school which will enable him to stay in US. He is caught by the Rabbi during the test, but the sympathetic Rabi passes him and ask him rectifies his deficiencies.
But Taslima Jahangir is not so lucky. She presents a school paper about 9/11 hijacking and her sympathetic tone makes the school see red. They notify the authorities and soon it is found that Taslima and her parents are illegal immigrants. Her sisters are deemed Americans as they are born there and she is deported with their mother to Bangladesh even though she had left the country when she was three. She is not allowed to see her father as she leaves USA.
The premise of the movie is the plight of the immigrant, but the movie fails to live up to the promise. The film does not have a continuous story line and has a feel of a documentary. It was a critical and box office failure on its release. A very forgettable movie.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Extraordinary measures (released in 2010) - A medical drama starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser
The movie directed by Tim Vaughn is a real life drama which is immortalized in print by the Pulitzer prize winning novelist Geeta Anand. She wrote the book called “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million--and Bucked the Medical Establishment--in a Quest to Save His Children " about a dad who goes about setting up a 100 dollar company to find a cure for his children's affliction.
The story is about John Crowley and his family who live a idyllic life. Crowley has a great job s a medical marketing executive in a big Pharma company and is on the fast track of success. But their lives are shattered when their youngest kids are diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Pompe Disease. Pompe Disease makes the internal organs swell causing muscular dystrophy and is always fatal. Many children thus afflicted do not see beyond their 10th birthday.
Crowley unable to bear his children, Meghan and Patrick's suffering, quits his job and vows to find a cure. After some research he zeroes in on Doctor Stonehill, a grouchy researcher who shows promising result. Crowley manages to convince him in setting up a biotech company which will develop a cure for Pompe disease.
With Crowley's business acumen and Stonehill's medical genius they soon develop a cure. But living with two eccentric personalities is not a cake walk. Crowley has to bear grouchiness, temper tantrums and outbursts. But he keeps up with it even when a big Pharma company swallows their small one.
John Crowley is the undisputed hero who goes to extraordinary measures to alleviate his kids suffering. He cajoles, pampers, yells, threatens and implores with the eccentric geniuses to work towards the cure. He is solidly supported by his wife and other children. You can see his determination as he walks away from his fast track success just to get his children alive.
In the end they develop a cure but even the success is tempered by the lack of common ground between the men. Dr. Stone hill develops an animosity towards Crowley and his tactics. Will it affect the cure and eclipse the guiding spirit of the company. One has to watch the movie to see two different men sink their animosity to save the lives of many. The film also explores the bureaucratic hassles faced by the protagonist and also informs the viewers the methodology of medical research.
Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford star as John Crowley and Dr. Stonehill respectively. They are ably supported by Keri Russell as Mrs. Crowley and the cute child stars. The film was a moderate success and had a mixed reaction from the critics. It is an extraordinary film which tugs at the heart strings, even though some of the scenes are too long and tends to have a documentary feel. But thanks to Crowley and his team, today Pompe disease is curable and thousands of children are saved from a fatal fate with this research. A good movie for all ages.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Jack Stanfield has everything in his life, a loving wife, great children, beautiful house and a great job as Vice President of Security at Landrock Pacific Bank in downtown Seattle. He is approached by another firm with a better offer and Jack agrees to meet Cox the manager. As he leaves for the day to meet cox little does Jack know the nightmare he is walking in to.
Cox follows Jack as he leaves the restaurant and informs him discreetly at the rear seat of the car about the abduction of his family. He threatens to kill them unless jack wires him $ 10000 from each account of the bank, thus robbing a tune of 100 million from his employers. Jack reaches home and finds his family captive and agrees for the transfer.
As he reaches the office Cox enters his office and forces him to give a guided tour of the security systems in place. Cox introduces a virus in to the system and leaves. Jack on reaching home try to escape by bribing the henchmen and all his attempts fail. Cox entices Jacks son Andy in to eating a cookie with nuts which makes him go in to shock as he is allergic to it. Cox withholds the treatment till Jack acquiesces to his demands.
Jack reaches his office and downloads the files necessary for transfer in to his daughter Sarah's i-pod mini and also slyly takes a photograph of the account information with an employee's camera phone. Cox on the other hand wipes the memory bank and security system clean to enable Jack to take the fall for embezzlement. He also makes Jack fire his secretary Janet for being suspicious.
Jack in the mean time kills two Hench -men and calls his friend. But Cox has one ace up his sleeve, and he kills Harry and with a planted message from Beth makes it look as though Jack had killed Harry in a fit of jealousy over Beth. Cox then transports the entire family to his hideout. Jack in the mean time goes to the bank and with the information in the photograph remove all money from Cox's account. He then calls him to announce that the ransom will be paid only if his family is released.
Cox tries blackmailing him again but it does not work as Jack has the tap of all the cash. During the conversation Jack hears his family dog and gets a brain wave of tracking the GPS unit attached to its collar. With Janet's help they drive over to the hideout and Janet leaves to call the police. Jack kills the henchmen in search of his family. But a panicky Cox take them up the tower for the final push. But jack climbs the treacherous incline, kills him ultimately rescuing his family. This movie was blasted by the critics, but was a box office success. It was also nominated for awards, the Taurus World Stunt Award for Best Fight. A must see for action buff's.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
A romantic comedy directed by Ivan Reitman, it is a love story between the opposites. Starring the tall and rugged Harrison Ford and the lissome Ann Heche, this time tested story gets a new aura with these splendid actors at the helm.
Robin Monroe, an uppity fashion editor from new York is surprised by her boyfriend, Frank, with a trip to Makatea in Hawaii. He wants to spend time with her strengthening their relationship. But Miss Busy Monroe cannot get away from her cellphone and her boss from Dazzle, (Which is the magazine she works for). So the yuppie twosome land on the island paradise and meet Quinn, a hard as nails pilot who is no gentleman. Quinn drinks hard, answer's back, and gets on Robin's nerves. But their dislike is mutual and their parries are one of the most likable moments in the movie, a la Elizabeth Vs Darcy moments.
Soon enough work catches up with Robin with the all mighty boss ordering her to Tahiti to organize a photo-shoot. So Robin ditches poor henpecked Frank and hitches a ride with Quinn in his dilapidated aircraft. Quinn enticed with the promise of a lot of greenbacks agrees to ferry her even with a weatherman's warning.
Soon enough they a are confronted with rough storms and seas and crash land in an uninhabited remote island. With no radio contact and a destroyed aircraft Quinn and Robin have to survive in the jungle. They come across pirates, reptiles, treacherous mountains and rough terrain.
Well superwoman Robin has to put her trust in Quinn who throws down pirates and handles reptiles to rescue the damsel in distress. So the rescued damsel inevitably falls in love with him and he reciprocates. So after a lengthy adventure they manage to repair their plane to get back to civilization where their boyfriend and girl friend awaits them. So what do the love birds decide, does Robin go back to her old life with the listless Frank or get hitched with Quinn?
Harrison Ford and Ann Heche tug your heart strings as the most unlikely couple, yet who are made for each other. The die hard romantic in us love them and cannot will them back in New York. This movie is said to be a remake of African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. But the couple is part of the folk lore of love, where destiny glues them together.
Apart from the story, the real winner is the breath taking scenes of Hawaii, which indeed is an island paradise. The rugged mountains, green valleys, blue waters and the pristine beaches photographed so vividly is an apt back drop for the love story. Who would go back to New York if you have Hawaii and Harrison ford for company?
This movie was a winner at the box office irrespective of the age and sexual preferences controversy dogging the lead couple. So for all of those romantic movie buff's a look in to Six Nights and Seven nights is a must.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
This movie is directed by Katheryn Bigelow takes a leaf out of the the real life incidents concerning the Russian Nuclear submarine K-19. It stars Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson in the pivotal roles.
K-19 is a Soviet ballistic Nuclear Submarine which is commandeered by Captain Alexei Vostrikov. Vostrikov commands no respect with his crew because he is said to have landed this plum job because of his wife's political connections. The second in command executive officer Mikhail Polenin is an experienced and well liked officer. He and his crew go a long way and have difficulty in accepting the rookie Vostrikov. Vostrikov tries to meddle with the daily workings of the submarine and accuses the officer and crew of being soft and lazy. He organize difficult maneuvers and actions which is not compatible with the submarine of this class. Due to the mounting injuries the crew began to grumble and a mutiny is quelled because of Polenin's intervention.
After very satisfying trials Vostrikov orders a very tricky maneuver to test the surface ballistic missile. It involves rapid surfacing of the sub from great depths to break the thick Arctic Ice. Polenin has his reservations, but Vostrikov conducts this trial with no difficulties. After its success he wins the grudging respect from his crew members for his fearlessness. But Polenin considers him to be very lucky not prudent.
But the damage has been done with the coolant pipes of the reactor totally damaged. As the submarine cruises through the Atlantic perilously close to the US and NATO army base the crew realizes that the reactor temperatures are abnormally high which would result in an nuclear explosion. Vostrikov ruefully admits that his drastic trials in the Arctic have wrecked the submarine. Soon a plan is made to drain their drinking water supplies and direct it to cool the reactor. It requires lion hearted men to weld those pipes with standing high amount of radiation. This is the high point of the movie where these brave hearts work with out any protective suits for 10 minute shifts to salvage the reactor.
In the mean time Vostrikov repeals all American help and waits with the silent ship whose radio's are also damaged. Soon a mutiny occurs and is quelled by the resourceful Polenin. Vostrikov again tries to order the welding which is resisted by the crew. Thats the time when Polenin utters those amazing words “don't order them, ask them”. Vostrikov then tells them that a nuclear explosion would wipe out the US Army base nearby signaling retaliatory strikes against Russia resulting in a nuclear holocaust. The crew goes back to work suffering heavy causalities and saves the submarine, reaching a Russian ship.
In the end Vostrikov and his men, old and infirm can only drink to their fallen comrades as they are denied even their medals since it was not a war situation. An amazing movie and I consider it on par with Saving Private Ryan. It was nominated for the Political Film Society Award and was a critical and box office success. A gripping drama for all peace-lovers.