The Road to Bali 1952 ***

Amazon’s description of The Road to Bali as a family film is somewhat ironic in terms of its rather dark depiction of male-female relations, which run contrary to the generally sunny, knockabout feel of the film. Zany is the word for any film featuring a cameo from Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis., and as the only Road Movie in colour (somehow 1963’s The Road to Hong Kong was in black and white), The Road To Bali is probably the best example of the series. George and Harold  (Bing Crosby and Bob Hope) are two singing, dancing vaudeville scoundrels who are looking down the barrel of a shotgun wedding as they perform the opening song. A repeated line about George linking them young and a snake-charming twist where Hope conjures up a mono-browed overweight native woman rather than the buxom girl he desired don’t look too great in the harsh modern light. But many of the other jokes have weathered well, including the allusions to Scottish heritage, and if you can ignore the lapses of taste, the best of Road to Bali’s generally genteel comedy still works.


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