The Road to Hong Kong (1961)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Buddy Film  |   Release Date - May 31, 1962 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although it's unfortunate that the "Road" series didn't go out on a higher note than that provided by The Road to Hong Kong, it would be wrong to just dismiss Hong Kong as a failure, as many have. It's true that it isn't on the same level as the best of the films in the series, but it's also true that it's just about as good as some of the lesser but more fondly regarded entries. Hong Kong's biggest sins are that it came 10 years too late and that it's a little tired. And, most importantly, that it thought that Joan Collins was a suitable substitute for Dorothy Lamour. Collins tries hard, but she simply doesn't have the appropriate chemistry with her co-stars -- and the 25-or-more years age difference between Collins and the men (no fault of hers) doesn't help matters. Melvin Frank and Norman Panama's screenplay is in the proper tradition, although there are too many misses among the gags, and the tone is a bit too self-referential (even for a "Road" movie.) Bob Hope and Bing Crosby have lost none of their vaunted chemistry, and they play off each other with an ease and camaraderie that is still inspiring. Even when the screenplay is letting them down (as it often does), they make the most of it. And Hong Kong does feature an inspired cameo by Peter Sellars that is nothing short of sensational.