“Road to Morocco” Tonight

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Tonight at 8pm Eastern, TCM is showing one of the best of the Hope-Crosby-Lamour “Road Pictures”,  Road to Morocco (1942).

We meet the boys adrift on a raft after Hope has destroyed the vessel they were sailing on by smoking in the gunpowder closet. When they make it to day land they are in Morocco. Crosby sells Hope into slavery, then it emerges that Hope is to marry a Princess (Dorothy L’Amour). It turns out that this is not because she is in love with him (although in his vanity, Hope is hilariously convinced that she does) but because she heard a prophecy that her first husband will die within a week; she really wants to marry her true love (Anthony Quinn as a bedouin). But then L’Amour falls for Crosby, when he croons “Moonlight Becomes You” to her. Later the boys are imprisoned by Quinn and his bedouins. They make their escape by tricking the guards and then play practical jokes on everyone (hotfoots and exploding cigars). They escape with the girls (Hope gets one too this time out) and arrive back in New York harbor where Hope once again blows up the ship and has his “Oscar moment”. The film contains too many memorable bits to count, including a recurring one where Hope appears in drag to the boys in their dreams as “Aunt Lucy” (the two men are either brothers or cousins. Who pays attention?). And lots of funny jokes with camels!

Cultural sensitivity for other cultures, though? Not so much.

Here’s the title song from the film:

To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.

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