Road to Zanzibar

Road to Zanzibar

Bing Crosby
Director: Victor Schertzinger Cast: Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
, Bob Hope
Bob Hope
, Dorothy Lamour
Dorothy Lamour
Victor Schertzinger

DVD (Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono)

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Victor Schertzinger's Road To Zanzibar (1941) comes to DVD with a very healthy selection of bonus features, courtesy of Universal Home Video as part of its Bob Hope: The Tribute Collection, supported by a brace of enjoyable bonus features. The movie itself looks better than it did in the last laserdisc incarnation that this reviewer remembers, from the early 1990's, with a rich and nicely defined audio track as well -- not only is the latter mastered at a high volume, but it offers a vivid playback of Bing Crosby's swing-style opening number, exposing the nuances of the singer and the arrangement. The transfer is so clean that the pattern in Crosby's jacket shimmers and you can see the skin textures in the medium shots. The movie has been given 18 chapters, which are well chosen -- though Crosby's opening song isn't listed -- and nicely spaced. The disc opens on a main menu that goes three layers deep with material of interest. Among the best of the bonus features is the tribute short "Bob Hope & The Road To Success," which appears on each of the discs in the series. The 13 minute documentary includes commentary by scholar Randall G. Mielke and biographer Richard Grudens, and Hope's longtime friend Phyllis Diller, supported by clips from the early "Road" movies that illustrate Hope and Crosby's timing together, as well as aspects of Hope's roots in vaudeville. The account of the evolution of the "Road" movies, out of the personae that Hope and Crosby had createdfor themselves on radio, is fascinating, though the real secret, at the root of the movies, seems to have been that the two performers genuinely liked each other, and they and Dorothy Lamour also appreciated each others' respective presences and contributions. The presence of Victor Schertzinger, an unusual talent as a composer and film director, is also acknowledged. The Bob Hope-featured "Command Performance" (1944), from the wartime Army-Navy Screen Magazine, is also included, with the comedian playing opposite Betty Hutton and Lana Turner (who looks delectable), both of whom get to feed him some real zingers, and a brief vignette with Judy Garland. The trailer is not to be missed, either, as Hope and Lamour have a lot of fun stepping out of character to introduce the highlights of the movie. The production notes on these releases can usually be dispensed with, but the story origins and pre-production history of Road To Zanzibar makes opening that layer of the menu a very worthwhile side trip. For those who need them, captions and subtitles can also be selected in English, French, and Spanish.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/05/2002
UPC: 0025192123221
Original Release: 1941
Rating: NR
Source: Universal Studios
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time: 1:32:00
Sales rank: 6,280

Special Features

Bob Hope and the Road to Success; Command Performance 1944; Photograph gallery; Theatrical trailer; Production notes; Cast and filmmakers; DVD-ROM features

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bing Crosby Chuck Reardon
Bob Hope Hubert "Fearless" Frazier
Dorothy Lamour Donna Latour
Una Merkel Julia Quimby
Joan Marsh Dimples
Eric Blore Charles Kimble
Charles Gemora Aqua the Gorilla
Harry C. Johnson Actor
Douglas Dumbrille Slave Trader
Iris Adrian French Soubrette
Luis Alberni Proprietor of Native Booth
Al Bridge Policeman
Ken Carpenter Commentator
James B. Carson Waiter
Eddie Conrad Barber
Leo Gorcey Boy
Ethel Loreen Greer Fat lady
Noble Johnson Chief
Richard Keene Clerk
Robert Middlemass Police inspector
Paul Porcasi Turk at Slave Mart
Georges Renavent Saunders
Henry Roquemore Cafe proprietor
Lionel Royce Mons. Lebec
Norma Varden Clara Kimble
Leigh Whipper Scarface
Ernest Whitman Whiteface
Buck Woods Thonga

Technical Credits
Victor Schertzinger Director
Frank R. Butler Screenwriter
Hans Dreier Art Director
Don Hartman Original Story,Screenwriter
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Paul Jones Producer
Alma Macrorie Editor
LeRoy J. Prinz Choreography
Ted Tetzlaff Cinematographer
Robert Usher Art Director
Victor Young Score Composer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scenes
1. Road to Zanzibar [:22]
2. Fearless Frazier [1:07]
3. The Human Dynamo [5:30]
4. Two Americans [4:05]
5. Mr. Kimble [3:25]
6. A Diamond Mine [2:14]
7. Patty Cake [2:14]
8. Damsel in Distress [5:56]
9. Donna [2:35]
10. Into the Jungle [1:15]
11. "On the Road to Zanzibar" [1:42]
12. Jungle Wonders [4:59]
13. There's Somebody Else [3:02]
14. Donna and the Leopards [4:07]
15. Native Drums [5:56]
16. Men Who Came to Dinner [4:15]
17. Off to See the Wizard [3:44]
18. Traveling Plans [8:11]

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