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Film / Road to Zanzibar

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Road to Zanzibar is a 1941 film directed by Victor Schertzinger, starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. It is the second film in the Road to ... series.

Crosby and Hope play a pair of con-men, Chuck Reardon and "Fearless" Frazier, who get into a series of misadventures in Darkest Africa while trying to raise the money to buy passage back to civilization.

This film contains examples of:

  • African Chant: One scene has a bit of chanting titled "African Etude".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Subtle but the first sign of the series doing it is when the pair try the "patty cake" punch on a thug...who knocks them both down.
    Fearless: He must have seen the picture!
  • Captured by Cannibals: Chuck and Fearless are captured by an African tribe, who think they are white gods... until, that is, they decide to test the duo's divinity by having Fearless get into a wrestling match with a Killer Gorilla. After he loses, Chuck and Fearless find themselves on the lunch menu.
  • Darkest Africa: Road to Zanzibar uses all the standard Pulp Africa tropes and subverts the heck out of them.
  • Human Cannonball: One of the scams the duo run is a human-cannonball act; it turns out Fearless hides in a secret compartment in the base of the cannon and it's a dummy that gets launched out. (And catches fire, and crashes into a tent, and causes an entire carnival to burn down.)
  • Invisible Backup Band: Discussed together with Mickey Mousing in a dialogue which ends with Crosby conducting the invisible orchestra to accompany his singing of the love theme:
    Fearless: What killed me is that from nowhere, an orchestra started. You know, violins and everything, right in the minute of a jungle. Isn't that silly?
  • Killer Gorilla: Towards the end, Fearless gets tossed in a cage with a wrestling gorilla.
  • Pardon My Klingon: The natives of Darkest Africa have their lines subtitled in English, but one line produces a [CENSORED] stamp instead of a subtitle.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: The heroes attempt this at the end.
    Chuck: Are you sure you know what you're doing?
    Fearless: If I don't, one of us is going back half fare.
  • Shout-Out: Chuck's tribal garb includes a headpiece which looks a whole lot like Mickey Mouse ears. In the same scene, his line about being "off to see the wizard" is a quote from The Wizard of Oz.
  • Talent Double: Hope is doubled by Olympic wrestler Peter Mehringer in the scene where he wrestles a gorilla.
  • Travel Montage: The comedy version where the line starts meandering chaotically.