29 June 2004 | bkoganbing
Good Old Fashioned Jungle Fun
A previous reviewer said something interesting about this second Road picture being a satire on all those Hollywood jungle epics. A pet peeve of mine has always been that American's concepts of Africa came out of those films. We were not in the imperialist game in Africa which was good, but we also knew nothing about these people, their politics and culture, and in some respects we're paying for that ignorance.
That being said, I can't hold up Road to Zanzibar for that kind of criticism. It's a comedy and a funny one. With the success of the Road to Singapore and the obvious chemistry between Bob and Bing, the boys could now unload their monkeyshines on the audience full blast.
This film marked the beginning of a long association between composer James Van Heusen and Bing Crosby. Van Heusen was replacing Jimmy Monaco as partner to Johnny Burke, lyricist, and this was the first of many Crosby films they would score.
And the songs followed the usual Road picture pattern. Bing starts the movie off by singing You Lucky People You under the opening credits and continuing it in the opening scene at a carnival sideshow, a nice patented Crosby philosophical number. Dotty sings You're Dangerous while trying to vamp Hope the schnook. But then Bing croons to Dotty It's Always You another ballad and finally Hope and Crosby have a patter number Birds of a Feather sung in up tempo as the law is closing in. In that same scene is Eric Blore, better known for Fred Astaire films and he contributes to the clowning with a nice touch.
In a sense this is the first real Road picture because Singapore didn't have a lot of the spontaneity the others do because no one figured it would be such a hit. So get out and hit the Road.