Road to Bali

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Road to Bali
Road to Bali film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Hal Walker
Produced by
  • Daniel Dare
  • Harry Tugend
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Frank Butler
  • Harry Tugend
Music by Joseph J. Lilley
Cinematography George Barnes (cinematographer)
Edited by Archie Marshek
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Peter Rodgers Organization
Release dates
  • November 1, 1952 (1952-11-01) (USA)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3 million (USA)[1]
43,450 admissions (France)[2]
Road To Bali

Road to Bali is a 1952 American comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Released by Paramount Pictures on November 1, 1952, the film is the sixth of the seven Road to … movies. It was the only such movie filmed in Technicolor and was the first to feature surprise cameo appearances from other well-known stars of the day.


George (Bing Crosby) and Harold (Bob Hope), American song-and-dance men performing in Melbourne, Australia, leave in a hurry to avoid various marriage proposals. They end up in Darwin, where they take jobs as pearl divers for a prince. They are taken by boat to an idyllic island on the way to Bali, Indonesia. They vie for the favours of exotic (and half-Scottish) Princess Lala (Dorothy Lamour), a cousin of the Prince (Murvyn Vye). A hazardous dive produces a chest of priceless jewels, which the Prince plans to claim as his own.

After escaping from the Prince and his henchmen, the three are shipwrecked and washed up on another island. Lala is now in love with both of the boys and can't decide which to choose. However, once the natives find them, she learns that in their society, a woman may take multiple husbands, and declares she will marry them both. While the boys are prepared for the ceremony, both thinking the other man lost, plans are changed. She's being unwillingly wed to the already much-married King (Leon Askin), while the boys end up married to each other.

Displeased with the arrangement, a volcano god initiates a massive eruption. After fleeing, the three end up on yet another beach where Lala chooses George over Harold. An undaunted Harold conjures up Jane Russell from a basket by playing a flute. Alas, she, too, rejects Harold, which means George walks off with both Lala and Jane. A lonesome Harold is left on the beach, demanding that the film shouldn't finish and asking the audience to stick around to see what's going to happen next.


Cameo appearances[edit]

Among the celebrities who made token "gag" appearances in this film are bandleader Bob Crosby (Bing's brother), Humphrey Bogart, by way of a clip from The African Queen, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and Jane Russell, as her character from the 1952 film Son of Paleface. The cameo by Martin and Lewis was part of a 'comedy trade' whereby they made an appearance in this movie while Hope and Crosby appeared in Martin and Lewis's Scared Stiff the following year. Martin and Lewis also made films for Paramount at the time.


Bing Crosby and Bob Hope

Road to Bali was the first Road to... picture since 1947's Road to Rio, and was known during production as The Road to Hollywood. It was the sixth film in the series, the next to last, as well as the final Road film in which Dorothy Lamour's role would the female lead. Nine years later, The Road to Hong Kong instead featured Joan Collins, with a cameo by Lamour.

Road to Bali was a co-production of Bing Crosby Enterprises, Hope Enterprises and Paramount.[3]

The giant squid that threatens Bob Hope in an underwater scene was previously seen attacking Ray Milland in the Paramount production Reap the Wild Wind (1942), directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The erupting volcano climax was taken directly from the Paramount production Aloma of the South Seas (1941), also starring Lamour.


The music for all songs was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. When Decca Records was recording the songs from the movie, they did not use Dorothy Lamour. Peggy Lee recorded the Lamour vocals.

  • "Chicago Style" by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
  • "Moonflowers" by Dorothy Lamour
  • "Hoot Mon" by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
  • "To See You Is To Love You" by Bing Crosby[4]
  • "The Merry-Go-Run-Around" by Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby
  • "The Road To Bali" by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (recorded commercially, but was not used in the film)

Van Heusen's birth name was Edward Chester Babcock. For the final Road picture, The Road to Hong Kong, Hope's character was called Chester Babcock.

In popular culture[edit]

Road to Bali was parodied in 1953 in the animated short Alley to Bali, with Woody Woodpecker and Buzz Buzzard in the Hope and Crosby roles. The cartoon was released by Universal Studios, which currently owns the first four Road to... films.


Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour

In keeping with the film's Commonwealth setting, which takes Crosby and Hope from Melbourne, Australia, to the exotic island of Bali, many of the jokes contain references to Argyle socks, Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, Tasmanian-born Errol Flynn, and a dance routine featuring Scottish bagpipes.

As with the other Road movies, Bob Hope breaks the "fourth wall" several times to make side comments to the audience. For example, as the music for a song sung by Bing Crosby begins, Hope looks to the camera and says, "He's gonna sing, folks. Now's the time to go out and get the popcorn."

Crosby breaks the fourth wall after Hope "notices" the audience is paying attention when he's about to tell Crosby how he escaped from the giant squid. Hope and Crosby walk away from the camera and Hope tells his story in exaggerated pantomime (out of earshot). Crosby then walks back toward the audience and shrugs at the camera, indicating Hope's description was indecipherable.

Copyright status[edit]

This movie was copyrighted under registration LP2200 1 January 1953. That registration entry also shows "in notice: 1952", meaning that is the year in the copyright notice on the film. The copyright was renewed under RE105899 dated 1 September 1981.[5]

According to copyright law, when the "in notice" year is earlier than the calendar year of the official registration, the copyright term begins in the earlier year (1952 in this case).[6]

For films registered for copyright in 1950 and later, the window for a valid renewal was the 28th calendar year of the original copyright term.[7] For Road to Bali, the 28th year was 1980.


Columbia Pictures Television (in joint venture with LBS Communications through what was then Colex Enterprises) once had the television rights to this film in the 1980s, along with other Bob Hope movies from the 1940s and 1950s. This is evident in a home video release from the mid-1990s, where a CPT logo can be seen at the beginning and end of the film.

Because the film is in the public domain, there have been at least a dozen DVD releases from a variety of companies over the years. However, both CPT successor Sony Pictures Television and what is now FremantleMedia hold ancillary rights to this film, and official video releases have been issued under license from FremantleMedia (and its predecessor companies All-American Television and Pearson Television), the most recent DVD and HD-DVD releases coming from BCI Eclipse.


  1. ^ "The Top Box Office Hits of 1953", Variety, January 13, 1954.
  2. ^ Jerry Lewis films French box office information at Box Office Story
  3. ^ TCM Notes
  4. ^ Crosby's version of "To See You Is to Love You" is featured without credit in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1952).
  5. ^ Film Superlist: Motion Pictures in the U.S. Public Domain (1950-1959), page 287.
  6. ^ Film Superlist: Motion Pictures in the U.S. Public Domain (1940-1949), page viii.
  7. ^ Film Superlist: Motion Pictures in the U.S. Public Domain (1950-1959), page 509.

External links[edit]