The Road to Hollywood (1947) Poster

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Clips from early Crosby shorts for Mack Sennett
gimhoff4 August 2004
Producer-director Bud Pollard was at this time primarily doing low-budget films with all-black casts, but the year before he had stitched together clips from three Educational Pictures/Mack Sennett short comedies starring Danny Kaye and released it as "Birth of a Star." Theaters could get the film as a cheap second feature, and use a big star's name on the marquee.

In this movie, Pollard did the same thing with four Educational Pictures/Mack Sennett shorts (two of them directed by Sennett himself) that Bing Crosby had done: "I Surrender Dear," 1934; "One More Chance," 1931; "Billboard Girl," 1932; and "Dream House," 1933. These were all two-reel comedies in which Crosby did physical slapstick comedy in the Sennett tradition (and did it very well) and sang his hit songs. Pollard himself appears on-screen to do a rather awkward narration that stitches the clips together, and ends the film with a short mawkish tribute to Crosby that nominates him for film-star sainthood.

Crosby fans and people who like silent and early sound slapstick comedies will enjoy this compilation, although the complete short films themselves would be better. Others won't be impressed.
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6/10
Early And I Mean Early Bing Crosby
bkoganbing24 March 2007
The Road to Hollywood is a compilation of bits and songs from the Mack Sennett shorts that Bing Crosby appeared in during the time he was between the Paul Whiteman band and his first feature film starring role in The Big Broadcast.

Probably in 1947 Bing Crosby was at the high point of his career. At that time he was number one in films, in record sales, and on the radio and no one has ever duplicated that success, albeit even with radio's successor television. He was probably the best known entertainer in the world at that time, it's first truly international star.

There are some Crosby fans who consider his early work during the days of his crooning rivalry with Rudy Vallee and Russ Columbo to be his best and one can make an argument for it.

If you feel that way, here is a great opportunity to see some Crosby performances of early solo hits he had like I Surrender Dear, Just One More Chance, Out of Nowhere, etc. In fact it was when William Paley heard Bing's record of I Surrender Dear that he made up his mind to sign him for a 15 minute radio show on CBS. The rest is history.

For Crosby fans, a must.
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3/10
Don't make a lot of popcorn for this one.
yonhope10 April 2005
Hi, Everyone, It will be very hard to watch more than 5 or 10 minutes of this at a time. There are some nice old cars and trains to be seen.

Bing shows no promise here of how good he would eventually become. There is a scene with a lion that has some funny (almost) animation. Also a car going around a hillside road that takes to the air. An old bus going into a lake reminds us how much fun driving was when gas was 10 cents per gallon.

A couple of slow burns. That used to be a comedy form that worked wonders during the silent era. We rarely see it anymore. The slow burn was a person getting mad very, very slowly.

Anyone you see in this movie who looks over 30 is probably over 100 now. This movie is old. Old isn't necessarily bad. Bad is bad, though. This flick is bad.

The narrator/director, Bud Pollard is funny as he looks to his left, our right, to read his cue cards. He is not a good reader.

An antique dealer might enjoy running the movie with the sound turned down. Lots of nice old radios and furniture are on display.

There are some movies that are worse than this. Fury of the Wolfman and Brainiac come to mind. Bing was good in the other "Road" films. Bing also was excellent in High Society with Grace Kelly (True Love) and Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. He worked with Grace in Country Girl and showed he was a very good actor as well as the singer America loved most at that time.

Tom Willett
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10/10
shows us some of the historical evolution of filmmaking
GryByteman18 March 2014
This film may not be excellent by 2014 standards, or even by 1947 standards, but it is excellent from the point of view of a pseudo-documentary (a pretend biography for Bing Crosby) that uses archival footage from early Bing Crosby films, even Mack Sennett comedies.

The special effects are terrible by our standards, but it's fun to see what our ancestors were able to do with that old acetate.

For all we know, some of this early footage might have been lost if it weren't for the fact that it was used in this later film. (I'm no expert, so I'm just guessing.) You'll have to use your imagination to bring the quality of the sound track up to what we grew to love about Bing's singing in later films, but I listed to his songs in this film with my mind's ear, not my physical ear, if you know what I mean.

The film is totally fictionalized, but it is a lot of fun to see what our old directors and producers could do by cutting and pasting old footage together to make a new whole.

As noted by another reviewer, there is one segment that included Crosby in blackface, but in my opinion, it was not done in a racial manner. Instead, it seems to have been played in a comedic style, with Crosby accidentally getting sprayed with black paint while he's peeking through a fence. But I also have to admit that I will understand that some people will think of it only as a racial comment. (The other two "black actors" in that segment appeared to be black actors, so the original director in the 1930's might have been making a sarcastic comment about even earlier directors who refused to hire black actors, and only used white actors in blackface to play black roles.

John
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1/10
Waste of time
dlduncan121 January 2004
Pathetically bad "biopic" of Bing Crosby

Contains a number of lame comedy sketches linked together by the purported story of Bing's career story

Includes some racist scenes including one with Bing in blackface

Some songs by Bing but sound quality is pretty bad.
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2/10
A total ripoff!
MartinHafer8 October 2013
"The Road to Hollywood" is a film Bing Crosby had no direct connection with--and the film was a creepy attempt to cash in on Crosby's popularity without having to pay him! The exploitation film director, Bud Pollard, took four of Crosby's early short films and spliced them apart into what he purports during his narration as the story of Crosby's rise to popularity. None of it is true and the film is just a shabby collection of early clips thrown together artlessly in an attempt to fool the public. He should have been ashamed of this and the film, understandably, is no in the public domain. While a few of the clips were humorous, the way they were assembled and with Pollard's narration, they are pretty much a waste of time.
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