Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Adolphe Menjou, Carole Landis, John Hubbard, Charles Butterworth, Patsy Kelly
Director: Hal Roach
It's a laughfest from start to finish as an elusive, rich bachelor wiggles off the hook on his wedding day for the umpteenth time by begging insanity, but his strong-willed bride calls his bluff and has him committed to th... more »
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HAL ROACH'S FINAL COMEDY FILM AS PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As World War Two was just beginning to rage in Europe, Hal Roach saw the writing on the wall and was bringing his brilliant career as a comedic producer and director to a close. He had been producing and directing comedies since he "discovered" Harold Lloyd in 1915, but--with European markets gone (and his plans for a producing alliance with Benito Mussolini's State-owned Cinecietta studios literally gone up in smoke) he went to the gate one final time for the comedy gem ROAD SHOW, and then prepared to join the war effort as an officer and turn his "Lot O'Fun" over to the Signal Corps to use for the production of Military training films. Practically all of the (mostly) unbilled but very familiar faces who graced the Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, Laurel and Hardy, and Our Gang Comedies over the preceeding decade made one final appearance under the maestro's direction, and the result was a very funny ninety minutes of escapist joy. Headlined by veteran actor Adolphe Menjou (in what must rank as his most far-out role as an escapee from a mental institution!) and featuring Roach matinee star John Hubbard paired with leggy Carole Landis (star of 1941's TOPPER RETURNS and the 1939 classic ONE MILLION B.C.) the film combines the wacky world of the traveling carnival (aided by Patsy Kelly and Willie Best!) with the romantic tale of a man who wants to marry but always manages to wriggle off the hook at the last moment--even during the wedding! He plays nuts during the actual ceremony, but the would-be bride calls his bluff and orders him institutionalized. He escapes with Menjou, joins the carnival--and Roach and his stable of comedy character actors take it from there. By the end of the picture, rich John has bought Carole the best carnival ever known, and, finally, he's headed down the aisle--as a stubborn Indian would-be suitor chases after a very reluctant Patsy Kelly. A final look at a world about to vanish behind the smoke of Pearl Harbor; a glimpse back at the slapstick joy of Hal Roach which pulled the world through a Great Depression. You'll love ROAD SHOW from Hal Roach Studios via Image Entertainment!"
A generally good B comedy
S. Jones | Chicago, IL United States | 07/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Road Show is far from Hal Roach's best, but nowhere near his worst either. Oddly, Adolph Menjou is the mediocrity in this film, the rest of the cast holds up pretty well.
The highlight of this film is 'The Charioteers,' a nearly forgotten African American ensemble from the 30's and 40's singing several songs including "Calliope Jane." The DVD audio transfer of the song from the film is better than any I've heard off old Columbia '78's.
Shemp Howard makes a cameo."
A waste of talent, sadly
Laughing Gravy | Sacramento, CA United States | 11/14/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"ROAD SHOW (1941) was one of the last films personally directed by Hal Roach (according to the credits, he had the help of Gordon Douglas, late of the Our Gang series, and Hal Roach, Jr.). It's a rather trifling waste of a lot of very appealing vintage talent.
John Hubbard is a rich, handsome young man who leaves a variety of lovely young ladies waiting at the alter. When he feigns mental illness to get out of marrying his latest conquest, the golddigger has him committed to a mental institution, but he escapes with the help of Colonel Caraway ("Of the caraway seeds fortune"), a crackpot who has invented a camera that takes blank pictures. Our two erstwhile nutcases hide out in a carnival run by the beautiful Carole Landis and her sidekick, the not so beautiful but much funnier Patsy Kelly. The cops, the golddigger, and some stray tramps are all after our heroes, for various reasons.
The above plot is supposed to hold an audience's interest for 85 minutes, but don't count on it. Hoagy Carmichael contributes some songs, but "Stardust" these ain't. A black rhythm group called the Charioteers sing most of the numbers, and they're great, but the songs are so sparse they sing each one a couple of times, and frankly, four black men singing a number called "Yum Yum" only reminds me of "Uncle George", the sideshow wild man, who chased the Little Rascals while yelling "Yum! Yum! Eat `em up!" in THE KID FROM BORNEO, a much better (and shorter) picture.
Adolphe Menjou plays Colonel Caraway, and his character is the best thing in the picture, not totally insane but a few playing cards short of a deck. Patsy Kelly is funny, and so is Willie Best, Negro comic who plays a very nervous lion-taming assistant. On the other hand, why on earth did Roach sign Shemp Howard and Johnny Arthur for the picture, and then give them such slight parts, amounting to little more than cameos? And why is Hubbard such a dull leading man? When Landis spends much of the picture resisting his "charms", we can totally empathize with her feelings. (Although Shemp is only in one scene, you'll get a laugh out of him: his character's name is "Moe"!) Harry Langdon was one of the screenwriters, and when Hubbard dons tights and goes out reluctantly to do a circus act, you're going to be reminded of THE STRONG MAN, and you're going to think, "Oh, boy!" and oh, boy, are you going to be disappointed with the lameness of the bit.
ROAD SHOW is an okay picture; I mean, it doesn't stink. But Roach clearly intended it to be an "A" rather than a "B" movie, and with a better script and wiser use of talent, he might've achieved that. (Image has just released this film on DVD; it's a good print and transfer, some scratches, nothing major, no extras.)
C.A. Arthur | Tacoma, Washington | 09/11/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Given the cast, this is a shocking stinker. The plot rambles, whole scenes are ridiculous, there can't be more than a single laugh in this "comedy," and the music is the worst Hoagy Carmichael you will ever hear. One feels sorry for the cast, especially Adolph Menjou, who has to play a nut, and Carol Landis, who had capabilities that Hollywood underestimated. And then there is poor Willy Best, whose ignorant and fearful black stereotype seems unusually cruel today. And Patsy Kelly, a talented comedian who appears in one embarrassing scene after another.
This was meant to be a screwball comedy. It doesn't come close. My copy goes in the wastebasket; I wouldn't want to inflict this on anyone."