Published on June 27, 2016
Road to Rio is a 1947 American comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Written by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose, the film is about two inept vaudevillians who stow away on a Brazilian-bound ocean liner and foil a plot by a sinister hypnotist to marry off her niece to a greedy fortune hunter. Road to Rio was the fifth of the “Road to …” series.
Scat Sweeney and Hot Lips Barton, two out-of-work musicians, travel the United States trying to find work and stay away from girls. After running from state to state, each time running because of a girl, they try their luck in Louisiana.
They stow away on board a Rio-bound ship, after accidentally starting some fires at a circus. They then get mixed up with the distraught Lucia, who first thanks them, then unexpectedly turns them over to the ship’s captain. Unbeknownst to both of them, Lucia is being hypnotized by her crooked guardian, Catherine Vail. Vail plans to marry Lucia to her brother so she can control her and a set of “papers.”
After a series of misadventures. including sneaking off the boat, recruiting a few local musicians, and the boys trying to escape with Lucia only to have Vail hypnotize her again and slap them both, Vail decides to do away with the boys permanently. She hypnotizes both of them and tries to get them to kill each other in a duel, but it fails. Scat and Hot Lips finally figure things out and the boys head for the ceremony in order to stop the wedding and to help catch the crooks. Upon finding the “papers”, which Scat reads, when Hot Lips asks what they are about, Scat tears them up and looks into the camera, saying, “The world must never know.”
Later on, Scat is dismayed to see that Lucia loves Hot Lips and not him, but upon peaking through a keyhole, he sees Hot Lips hypnotizing her.
Hope’s frequent sidekick Jerry Colonna has a cameo as the leader of a cavalry charging to the rescue of Bing and Bob, as the film cuts away to the galloping horses periodically. All is resolved before he can arrive, leading Colonna to point out:
“ Whaddaya Know? We never quite made it. Exciting, though … wasn’t it?! ”