This is the one that started it all and it is also one of the weakest of the "Road" pictures. There are two stories as to how it came to be. The studio bought a Harry Hervey original entitled "The Road to Mandalay" which was an adventure story. It was then turned into a comedy and
rejected by George Burns and Gracie Allen, as well as Fred MacMurray and Jack Oakie before being seen by Hope and Crosby. The other tale is that producer Thompson and director-songwriter Schertzinger played golf one afternoon with Hope and Crosby and such a good time was had by all that they
decided to work together. This movie, although never intended to be more than a one-shot, did such huge business when released that everyone was happily amazed. It was Paramount's biggest grosser of the year and it came at the right time as the studio had turned out a series of less-than-rewarding
pictures in the previous months. Crosby is an affable young man, the son of hard-driving Coburn, a millionaire shipping mogul. Coburn wants Crosby to give up his life of playboy ease and take his place as the head of the company, but Crosby hates the thought of sitting behind a desk and walks out
on the job as well as his fiancee, Barrett. Crosby would rather spend his life bumming around the world with his best friend, Hope. The two take off for the furthest point they can find on the map, Singapore. Once there, they rent a tiny house and begin pub-crawling. At one of the clubs, they see
Lamour as part of a dangerous vaudeville act. She puts a cigarette in her mouth and it is snatched out by Quinn, a South American who snaps a bullwhip. They can't bear the thought of that lovely face being marred by a whip so they take her back to their place where she sincerely appreciates what
they've done and agrees to become their housekeeper in return for room and board. The menage begins to get complicated as both men are falling for Lamour who admits that she likes one of them over the other but won't reveal her preference until she is certain that she is right about her emotions.
Time passes and Coburn and Barrett are applying pressure on Crosby to return to the US and marry, as well as take over the company. Crosby puts it to Lamour and says he will go back if she chooses Hope. Lamour's answer is that she does prefer Hope. Crosby is shattered, but being a gentleman,
congratulates the couple and goes back. Dissolve: We then learn that Lamour was only saying that because she couldn't bear to come between Crosby and a woman he'd known before. Once Crosby discovers the truth, he books passage to Singapore and returns to the woman he's wanted from the first reel,
thereby leaving Hope out in the cold for the first of many times in the ensuing movies. While there were a few zippy moments, Hope and Crosby had yet to develop their style when this was made. As the years passed, Hope's quick lines began to blend well with Crosby's more relaxed manner and the
contrast proved to be pleasing to millions of happy theatergoers. Songs by Johnny Burke and James V. Monaco included: "Too Romantic" (sung by Crosby, Lamour), "Sweet Potato Piper" (sung by Crosby), "Kaigoon," and then Burke teamed with director Schertzinger to write "Captain Custard" (sung by
Hope, Crosby) and "The Moon and the Willow Tree" (sung by Lamour). ROAD TO SINGAPORE confounded all the pundits with the money it brought in and proved to be a refreshing start to a series of seven, almost all of which were better than the original.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This is the one that started it all and it is also one of the weakest of the "Road" pictures. There are two stories as to how it came to be. The studio bought a Harry Hervey original entitled "The Road to Mandalay" which was an adventure story. It was then… (more)