Songs: "But Beautiful" (Crosby); "You Don't Have To Know the Language" (Crosby, Andrews Sisters); "Experience" (Lamour); "Apalachicola, Fla" (Crosby, Hope); "Cavaquinho" (Wiere Brothers) -- all by Johnny Burke (lyrics) and James Van Heusen (music),who wrote another song, "For What?" for the Andrews Sisters, but this was deleted; "Brazil" (orchestral) by Ary Barroso (music),Bob Russell (lyrics). Music director: Robert Emmett Dolan. Music associate: Troy Sanders. Vocal arrangements: Joseph J. Lilley. Dances staged by Bernard Pearce and Billy Daniels. Executive producers: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope.
Copyright 25 August 1947 by Bing Crosby Enterprises, Inc., and Hope Enterprises, Inc. Released through Paramount. New York opening at the Paramount: 18 February 1948. U.S. release: 25 December 1947. U.K. release: 29 March 1948. Australian release: 6 May 1948. 9,144 feet. 101 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: After a wonderfully stimulating special effects cross- country montage sequence in which our ever-helpful crooner identifies himself firstly as Frank Sinatra, than as Gene Autry, Bing and Bob sing and dance their way through "Apalachicola, Fla", after which they burn down a whole carnival. And this is just for openers. Fleeing from the vengeance of the carnival owner, they stow away on board a luxury passenger ship bound for Rio where they meet and rescue a beautiful heiress who is being craftily mesmerized by her evil aunt. The aunt's two goons hunt the boys down, but...
NOTES: Fifth of the seven Road pictures. With a domestic rentals gross of $4.5 million, this was the number one box-office attraction in the U.S. and Canada in 1948. Although the movie did not do quite so spectacularly in Britain and Australia, it was certainly Paramount's top-grossing picture of the year in both countries. Despite its box office success, the film received only one Oscar nomination, and that was for Robert Emmett Dolan in the Scoring of a Musical category. He lost to Alfred Newman's Mother Wore Tights.
Best Actor, Bing Crosby - Photoplay Gold Medal Award.
COMMENT: Wonderful fun. "The Road to Rio" is an almost perfect musical comedy, wittily scripted, ingratiatingly played, sensitively directed and lavishly produced. The songs are great too. So are the clever dances. The bantering between Bing and Bob was never better and here they are joined by a really out-of-the-drawer support cast led by the spider lady herself, Gale Sondergaard.
If you were compiling an anthology of memorable moments in film comedy, this film contains so many classic scenes you'd be forced to give the whole idea away and just use this movie instead.
OTHER VIEWS: Even though it's full of "in" jokes, topical allusions and now-forgotten references, The Road to Rio is just as mightily entertaining today as it was to audiences in 1948. Partly due to the fact that Hope delivers his darts with such casual grace and marvelously off-handed timing, patrons not in the know won't realize he's being funny; and partly the fact that the film now has a tremendous boost in nostalgia appeal.
It would be hard to better this cast line-up. Not only are the players at their peak, but the script's situations are still wonderfully, crazily funny. And the four main songs are tunefully witty standards that are still hummed today.
As a satire on the movie chase thriller, complete with cross-cutting to the last-minute rescue party that here actually arrives on the scene too late, "The Road to Rio" is still an absolute delight.
Bing and Bob put their own money into this one, spent it with admirably free hands, and happily received handsome dividends. Good on you, boys! - JHR writing as George Addison.