The third of the well-known Road movies starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour is perhaps the best. Lighthearted and nonsensical, sophisticated but not overplotted, Road to Morocco represents the point at which the Road-movie formula had hit its stride but hadn’t yet descended into self-parody.
By this time audiences knew what to expect, and were in on the joke as Bing and Bob sang, in their self-aware opening number, "Where we’re goin’, why we’re goin’, how can we be sure? I’ll lay you eight-to-five that we meet Dorothy Lamour!"
This time out the boys take their Road act to Arabian Nights territory, where, as usual, they sing (especially Bing), crack wise (especially Bob), and vie over Lamour, who again has an agenda of her own. The story, which is taken about as seriously as the plot of a typical Looney Tunes cartoon, has Bing and Bob shipwrecked and washed up on the road to Morocco.
Bob’s sainted aunt (played by Hope himself in a wig) appears periodically from heaven, urging the boys along the path of righteousness; but when it comes time to pay the bill in a Moroccan eatery — and still more when Princess Shalmar (Lamour) unexpectedly takes an interest in Bob (!) — it’s every man for himself. Anthony Quinn shows up as a sheik who wants Shalmar for himself.
The camel sums it up nicely: "This is the screwiest picture I’ve ever been in."
Seven years ago, after nearly six decades of marriage to an active Roman Catholic, Bob Hope was received into the Catholic Church, and became a frequent communicant. His funeral Mass was celebrated on July 30 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, and on Sunday, August 3, he was remembered at a memorial Mass celebrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Beaucaire (Hope) is barber to Louis XV of France — until the former’s romantic altercations with a chambermaid named Mimi (Joan Caulfield) inadvertently result in banishment for both Mimi and himself. At the same time, the king finds it expedient to rid the court of the Duc le Chandre, a renowned swordsman and celebrated ladies’ man, by making a political marriage between le Chandre and Princess Maria of Spain (Marjorie Reynolds).
One of Bob Hope’s best comic-thriller vehicles, My Favorite Blonde benefits from its semi-serious spy-thriller ambiance, tolerably cogent plot, scene-stealing penguin, and above all one of the more human, less caricatured, less one-dimensionally narcissistic characters in Hope’s movie oeuvre.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.