Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bob Hope Duo on DVD: Road to Comedy (Not a Book)


All who buy DVDs at the grocery store, raise your hands! (One, two, three...) OK, for all ten of us who do this, let me tout the Albertson's shelves, where you will find a collection of loosely-allied films together on DVD, under the "Vintage Movie" (Vintage Home Entertainment) label. There's a selection of classic cartoons, for example, or three black-and-white films with Jack Nicholson (including the hilariously dark Little Shop of Horrors, the original with no singing, but lots of campy gore). A set of Roy Rogers reels and a collection of Andy Griffith episodes can be found there, as well as some not-even-B movies like Curse of the Werewolf collected on one DVD.

But the best title is the one I bought, a duo of Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour movies collected under Road to Comedy. The folder cover includes a little historical write-up about the late entertainer who was born "Leslie Towns Hope" in England in 1903.

The two movies paired in this set are the classic Road to Bali, starring Bing Crosby as well as Hope and Lamour, and My Favorite Brunette, a great spoof of film noir mysteries, with an uncredited cameo by Alan Ladd and a billed one by Bing Crosby. Please note that this duo from Vintage Home Entertainment has excellent production quality in video and audio, as well as reasonable scene bookmarks for fast-forwarding. (Contrast this with the Unicorn Video version listed on the Amazon site.) The only thing I would have liked is a Scene Selection option in the menu, but both movies are so short, you can get a quick tour simply by pressing the "Next Scene" button on your controller.

My Favorite Brunette is a black-and-white offering, in which Hope is a photographer mistaken for next-door neighbor Alan Ladd, a private detective. He is hired by Lamour to rescue her uncle from a sanitarium which also hosts a knife-throwing Lon Chaney, Jr, and the ever-sinister Peter Lorre. Reginald Denney plays the uncle, a geologist whose murder is credited to Hope's bumbling detective. This is really delightful, especially if you watch it after viewing a real film noir entree such as The Maltese Falcon.

Road to Bali is the only Hope-Crosby-Lamour Road movie made in color. Like all the Road moves, the scenery is studio-set and 50s-Hollywood-style. People went to these movies to be entertained, not informed—fortunately, since there is very little factual material in any Road movie. The Bali "location" seems to have been chosen to allow the maximum color and minimum coverage in the ladies' costumes. There is the typical banter between Hope and Cosby, the typical disguised sex jokes about (and from) Lamour, and passable song-and-dance from all three. Keep a note-pad on hand to record the cameos, which are numerous and humorous.

A really great deal for less than $6.


Blogger samraat said...

4/03/2010 9:39 PM  

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