Musical Monday: Road to Utopia (1946)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

road to utopiaThis week’s musical:
Road to Utopia (1946) – Musical #148

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Hal Walker

Starring:
Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Hillary Brooke, Douglass Dumbrille, Jack LaRue, Robert Barrat
Himself: Robert Benchley

Plot:
Vaudeville performers Duke (Crosby) and Chester (Hope) escape the law by traveling to the Klondike during the gold rush. They are mistaken for two cut-throat murderers with a valuable map, which singer Sal (Lamour) and Kate (Brooke) try to get from the men.

Trivia:
• The movie was filmed in 1943 to 1944. It was released in London in 1945 and in the United States in early 1946.
• The song “Personality” written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke was introduced by Dorothy Lamour in “Road to Utopia.”
• The fourth film in the “Road” series, starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
• Robert Benchley died before the film was released in the UK in 1945.
• Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were on the cover of the Feb. 4, 1946, issue of LIFE magazine in a still from this film.

road to utopia

Highlights:
• Robert Benchley narration cameos
• The lead characters as elderly people
• The joke with the mountain/Paramount

Notable Songs:
• “Personality” performed by Dorothy Lamour
• “Welcome to My Dream” performed by Bing Crosby
• “Would You?” performed by Dorothy Lamour
• “Put It Here, Pal” performed by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope

road to utopia3

My review:
While I enjoy comedies, I’m not one to laugh out loud often. There was an exception in ROAD TO UTOPIA (1946).

This has become my favorite of the “Road” films starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. In the film, Crosby and Hope play a vaudeville team who travel to in Alaska during the gold rush of the 1890s. The pair are mistaken for a couple of murderers who have treasure map. Sal Van Hoyden (Lamour) and Kate (Brooke) both try to romance the two men to get the map.

Outside of the comedy on screen, Robert Benchley (in contemporary clothing) pops in and out of frame as a narrator. Benchley provides humorous remarks about the film and plot, breaking the fourth wall.

The film also features entertaining songs, including Johnny Mercer’s “Personality.”

Pinpointing the release date of this film is tricky. While it was filmed in 1943 to 1944, it was not released in the United States until 1946. But it was released in England in 1945.

Regardless, it’s an entertaining and quite funny film.

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