ROAD TO HONG KONG
BOB HOPE as Chester Babcock
JOAN COLLINS as Diane
DOROTHY LAMOUR as Herself
ROBERT MORLEY as The Leader WALTER GOTELL as DR Zorbb
ROGER DELGARDO as Jhinnah
FELIX AYLMER as Grand Lama
PETER MADDEN as Lama
ZZA ZZA GABOR
Assistant Director - Bluey Hill Director of Photography - Jack Hildyard B.S.C Music by Robert Farnon
Original Songs by Sammy Cain & Jimmy Van Heusen Art Director - Sydney Cain & Bill Hutchinson
Screenplay by Norman Panama & Melvin Frank Edited by Victor Smith Produced by Melvin Frank
Directed by Norman Panama
A couple of con artists, Turner & Babcock become involved in the space race and a sinister group, known as The Third Echelon. While checking in for a flight to Hong Kong, they lift the wrong suitcase and instantly become involved with sultry agent Diane. She is assigned to pick up a top secret formula and mistakes Babcock for her contact! Mountaintop retreats! Underground headquarters! Space flights! plus a warble from Dorothy Lamour! It's a madcap adventure on The Road To Hong Kong!
(c) 1962 UA / MGM 91 MINS B/W REG1 & 2 DVD FROM MGM HOME ENTERTAINMENT.
This was the seventh and final film in the very successful film series which starred Hope & Crosby and up to this film, Dorothy Lamour. But as it had been nine years since "Road to Bali", Dorothy Lamour was seen to be too old for the leading lady role and the producers decided to cast a younger actress. Dorothy was not even considered for the film and indeed only found out the film was to be made, after she read about it in a news article. She then contacted the producers to voice her dissapointment, but only after Bob campaigned for her to be cast in a smaller role, did they cast her. Although it also helped that many of Dorothy's fans had written to protest. But Dorothy was not too impressed with the script, as the role they gave her was so small, it was hardly worth the effort. But while Bob was rallying around Dot, Bing Crosby wanted a younger female lead and said at the time.
" I would like to see Bardot in the part. Mind you, I think she might be a little on the younger side for Hope! Filming is kind of difficult for someone at my time of life. I'm too old to get the girl and not old enough to be her granddad!"
Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren were also under consideration, but thankfully Joan won the role.
The film was shot at Shepperton Studios in London, which had to double for a variety of outlandish locations. Not only had the film makers to recreate Hong Kong, for which they hired 300 members of London's Chinese community as extras. They also had to recreate a Tibetan Lamasery, a distant planet and the underwater headquarters of the sinister Third Echelon. This set cost £30,000 alone to create. During the shoot, both Crosby, Hope and their families all lived at Cranbourne Court, a stately home near Shepperton. Joan was delighted with the oppurtunity to do another comedy role and as her Fox contract had run it's course, she was glad to be back in London. She was happy to be away from Hollywood as her relationship with Warren Beatty had become strained. Joan was also delighted to be back home at Harley House with her parents. Her mother had just had a serious operation and tragically would only have months to live. Joan however enjoyed making the film and really liked Bob Hope, she had worked with him on his TV show in 1959 and they got on well together. She was not, however too keen on Bing as she found him to be grumpy and rude! He was also a pipe smoker and he had terrible bad breath, which did not appeal to her as they both had kissing scenes together. The film also had many interesting cameo appearances. Peter Sellers played an Indian doctor and according to reviewers was the hilight of the film! Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin appeared in the film's space outer space climax! As Joan was trying to forget about Beatty, she did find a discraction in another preformer.. One evening she accompanied her old Hollywood friend Robert Wagner to a performance of a hot musical "Stop The World, I want To Get Off" at the Queen's theatre in London. She became smitten with the show's star Anthony Newley and soon after they both became the Talk Of The Town! "The Road To Hong Kong" was a big hit at the box office and was one of the top ten hits of 1962. But as far as Joan's career, it would be a while before she made another film and had to contend with TV work. Still there is much fun to be had, with a bunch of veterans on The Road To Hong Kong!