Road to Bali (1952) – Hal Walker

The comedic entries continue in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book as I delve into one of the iconic Road movies of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, co-starring Dorothy Lamour.

When George (Crosby) and Harold (Hope) end up unemployed in their chosen art, show-biz, (because of some fraternisation with a couple of local sheilas) they travel to Bali taking work as a pair of treasure-hunting deep sea divers for a local princess, Lala (Lamour). Songs, zingers, love and good times ensue.

And obviously, considering the chapter we’re in, a monstrous ape, or man in an ape suit, shows up to cause at least some momentary additional wackiness.

The Road movies are a complete joy, and the chemistry between the pair is enduring, magical, and a lot of fun to see play out. Wonderfully joyous, and wacky, the pair can’t help but get into trouble, and bring lots of laughs to the viewers.

Despite starting in Australia, none of the extras sound Australian (but sound like they are trying to sound like Cary Grant).

Road to Bali - Bing & Bob & the Gorilla

As the princess falls for Harold (and George), they hunt for treasure, encounter a giant squid, engage in dance numbers, and come across an ape… when their ship crashes on an island after they have to escape the villain of the piece.

There’s also a weird thing with a chimp wearing a human mask that is a little unnerving.

Still, there are in-jokes galore, nods to fellow celebrities, some cameos, and lots of joy to be had throughout the entire film. The ape that lands this film in the Monstrous Apes chapter isn’t in the film for very long, making a brief appearance and simply adding to the wackiness that is at the heart of all the Road movies.

This, like the rest of the Road films, are a lot of fun to watch, and they are just a joy to settle in for, no matter how silly the plot it, and how dated some of the story lines, sets, costumes are.

Hope, Crosby and Lamour find a happy ending, and the film comes to a suitable conclusion. Which, sadly, brings the comedic section of the Monstrous Apes chapter to a close, but there are so many other films to come.

So I’ll be digging into more monkey business soon, and you can join me, or find something else to watch in the very enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book, now available from DK Books.


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