Hope and Crosby in one of the best of the Road series
C. Roberts | Halifax, Yorkshire, United Kingdom | 03/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour made seven "Road" films in total and all were great entertainment and worth seeing (except perhaps for their last one "The Road to Hong Kong" (1962) which was something of a disappointment and not up to the standards of the earlier films). However, "Road to Utopia" in my opinion was one of the best and has not become dated over the years. The film is very fast moving with gag following gag, talking animals, Bob Hope's remarks to the camera, and even has comedian Robert Benchley interrupting proceedings to give a running commentary on the film as it progresses! Dorothy Lamour provides the glamour and adds a song or two.
Duke Johnson (Bing Crosby) and Chester Hooton (Bob Hope) are struggling entertainers down on their luck who travel to Alaska. Killers Sperry and McGurk steal a vital map showing the location of a gold mine. Our two heroes manage to obtain the map and decide to impersonate Sperry and McGurk which leads them into more trouble than they could have imagined. Along the way they meet saloon singer Sal Van Hoyden (Dorothy Lamour) and as usual both men compete for her charms. With the real Sperry and McGurk hot on their trail plus other assorted villains after them Hope and Crosby get into many tight corners but they still find time for some great songs along the way including "Put It There Pal" which is a typical Hope-Crosby number.
Some favourite lines from the film:
Bob Hope (to Bing Crosby): "I didn't think there was one more way to get the cops after us but you found it!".
Hope (to Crosby): "Next time I'll bring Sinatra". (When Crosby loses a talent contest on board ship).
Hope (to Crosby): "It may be a mountain to you but it's bread and butter to me!".
Hope (to Douglass Dumbrille): "I'll take a lemonade .... in a dirty glass".
I have always been a big fan of Bob Hope and as a young schoolboy and then later as a teenager I used to wait eagerly with anticipation for each new Bob Hope picture to arrive at our local cinema. They didn't always come up to expectations but if it was a "Road" film then I was pretty sure that it would be O.K. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were two of the biggest stars to come out of Hollywood in the 30's and 40's and although the "Road" films never won any "Oscars" they certainly brought an enormous amount of pleasure to a lot of people during that time and can still be enjoyed today.
BOOKS. For a more detailed look at the "Road" series of films take a look at a fascinating book by Randall G. Mielke entitled "The Road to Box Office: the Seven Film Comedies of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, 1940-1962"."
Who'd Be Selling Fish At This Hour?
El Kabong | 08/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is hardly an original insight, but anyone who dismisses Bob Hope as the tiresome, unfunny comic from those dreadful 1960s 'comedies' he appeared in is missing out on a real national treasure - his films up to around 1952 are hysterically funny, and his ROAD entries with cohorts Crosby and Lamour are among the best of 'em. Hope, along with the brilliant Preston Sturges, had restored Paramount to the comedy throne they'd occupied in the early 30s; from the lavish budget and attention to period detail throughout UTOPIA, it's obvious that the studio was not ungrateful. For my money, ROAD TO UTOPIA is the funniest film he ever made (though there are half-a-dozen others close on its heels). As in all ROAD movies, the engine powering the vehicle was the lightning-quick banter between the two leads; Crosby smooth as snake-oil, Hope perpetually suspicious and cowardly. And with excellent reason - no straight man ever victimized a foil the way Bing routinely does to Bob. ROAD movies always threaded their satires of B-movie plots (this one spoofing Robert W Service-style frozen-North melodrama) with plenty of topical humor, much of it capitalizing on the fans' awareness of the stars' personal foibles (Crosby's rivalry with Sinatra, his investments in thoroughbreds, Hope's disastrous box-office returns in LET'S FACE IT), and there's a goodly amount of what's now referred to as 'breaking the fourth wall' (they talk directly to the audience at varying points). What elevates UTOPIA just over the others is the sky-high breezy confidence of everyone involved this go-around. The cast and crew, coming off ROAD TO MOROCCO, were on a roll and knew it, and they ride that momentum for all it's worth (Hope's constant kibitzing is particularly hilarious). Der Bingle gets to groan a couple of subpar songs (as opposed to MOROCCO's highlights - 'Ho Hum' and 'Moonlight Becomes You' - this outing's 'It's Anybody's Spring' and 'Welcome To My Dream' are instantly forgettable) but the team's 'Put It There, Pal' is infectious fun and Miss Lamour's 'Personality' is sexy and sprightly. A further note on Lamour - she's luxuriously beautiful here, an ice-cream sundae with curves (why she's never ranked with the decade's top screen sirens is unfathomable: she's every bit the looker that Lake, Grable, Hayworth & Sheridan were, and a better singer besides). My apologies for not quoting any of the zingers from the script, but there are just too many of them to play favorites with. ROAD TO UTOPIA is well worth the effort it'll take you to track down; get cracking."
If you've seen the other "Road" films, you'll love this one.
C. Roberts | 12/11/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you've seen the other "Road" films, you'll love this one. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are up to their usual antics with Dorothy Lamore right in the middle. The two guys are funny, witty, and as impromptu as ever."