Road to Utopia (1946)

90 mins | Comedy | 22 March 1946

Director:

Hal Walker

Producer:

Paul Jones

Cinematographer:

Lionel Lindon

Editor:

Stuart Gilmore

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

This film is introduced by humorist Robert Benchley, who died in 1945 before it was released. Benchley states that the film was made "to demonstrate how not to make a motion picture and at the same time win an Academy Award." Benchley warns the audience that he will be speaking periodically throughout the picture to clarify points; he appears at various instances in an upper corner of the screen and comments on the action. HR news items report the following information about the production: Sidney Lanfield was initially going to direct the film, but cast members reportedly requested that Hal Walker be appointed. Although production began in 1943, marking Walker's first solo directorial assignment, the film was not released until two years later. Some scenes were shot on location at June Lake, CA. This was the fourth film in the "Road to..." series starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. The film includes a shot of a snowcapped mountain encircled by stars, which is the Paramount Pictures trademark. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay). For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Road to Singapore in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; ... More Less

This film is introduced by humorist Robert Benchley, who died in 1945 before it was released. Benchley states that the film was made "to demonstrate how not to make a motion picture and at the same time win an Academy Award." Benchley warns the audience that he will be speaking periodically throughout the picture to clarify points; he appears at various instances in an upper corner of the screen and comments on the action. HR news items report the following information about the production: Sidney Lanfield was initially going to direct the film, but cast members reportedly requested that Hal Walker be appointed. Although production began in 1943, marking Walker's first solo directorial assignment, the film was not released until two years later. Some scenes were shot on location at June Lake, CA. This was the fourth film in the "Road to..." series starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. The film includes a shot of a snowcapped mountain encircled by stars, which is the Paramount Pictures trademark. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay). For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Road to Singapore in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3789. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Dec 1945.
---
Film Daily
5 Dec 45
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 43
p. 3, 8
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 44
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 46
p. 6.
Life
4 Feb 1946.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Jan 44
p. 1715.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Dec 45
p. 2744.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Dec 45
p. 2745.
New York Times
28 Feb 46
p. 20.
Variety
5 Dec 45
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Unit dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus numbers cond by
Mus score
Vocal arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff asst
Matte paintings
Matte paintings
Miniatures
Miniatures
Process photog asst
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
ANIMATION
SOURCES
SONGS
"Welcome to My Dream," "Personality," "It's Anybody's Spring," "Good Time Charlie," "Put It There, Pal" and "Would You?" music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
22 March 1946
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 February 1946
Production Date:
3 December 1943--late January 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 March 1946
Copyright Number:
LP159
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,057
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When a wealthy elderly couple is visited by Duke Johnson, an old friend who they thought was dead and have not seen in thirty-five years, he recounts the story of their early adventures: At the turn of the century, during the Alaska gold rush, Duke, a vaudeville performer, and his partner Chester Hooton, are forced out of town after a pair of murderous thieves run onstage while being chased by the police, and Duke and Chester are exposed as charlatans. The thieves, Sperry and McGurk, killed a man for a map to a gold mine belonging to Sal Van Heusen. Sal arrives in Skagway, Alaska to seek the help of saloon owner Ace Larson, an old friend of her father, who is now crooked. Meanwhile, Duke and Chester board a ship bound for Alaska as stowaways, hoping to cash in on the gold rush, and find the map to the mine in Sperry and McGurk's berth. The thieves hold them up, but Duke and Chester outsmart them and escape disguised as Sperry and McGurk, leaving them tied up onboard. In Skagway, the town waits in terror as the "murderers" arrive and enter the saloon. Ace, who has hired Sal to sing in his saloon, plots with his girl friend Kate and his partner LeBec to swindle Sal out of her mine. While Sal seduces Duke and Chester, believing they are Sperry and McGurk, LeBec absconds with Duke's half of the map. Searching for the mine, LeBec, Kate and Ace travel into the frozen North by dog sled to Dawson City. Duke and Chester follow and, taking Ace's bait, rescue Kate in ... +


When a wealthy elderly couple is visited by Duke Johnson, an old friend who they thought was dead and have not seen in thirty-five years, he recounts the story of their early adventures: At the turn of the century, during the Alaska gold rush, Duke, a vaudeville performer, and his partner Chester Hooton, are forced out of town after a pair of murderous thieves run onstage while being chased by the police, and Duke and Chester are exposed as charlatans. The thieves, Sperry and McGurk, killed a man for a map to a gold mine belonging to Sal Van Heusen. Sal arrives in Skagway, Alaska to seek the help of saloon owner Ace Larson, an old friend of her father, who is now crooked. Meanwhile, Duke and Chester board a ship bound for Alaska as stowaways, hoping to cash in on the gold rush, and find the map to the mine in Sperry and McGurk's berth. The thieves hold them up, but Duke and Chester outsmart them and escape disguised as Sperry and McGurk, leaving them tied up onboard. In Skagway, the town waits in terror as the "murderers" arrive and enter the saloon. Ace, who has hired Sal to sing in his saloon, plots with his girl friend Kate and his partner LeBec to swindle Sal out of her mine. While Sal seduces Duke and Chester, believing they are Sperry and McGurk, LeBec absconds with Duke's half of the map. Searching for the mine, LeBec, Kate and Ace travel into the frozen North by dog sled to Dawson City. Duke and Chester follow and, taking Ace's bait, rescue Kate in the snow. Sal arrives, and all four stay together in a cabin, where the women use their wiles to get Chester's half of the map, which is hidden in his undershirt. Sal falls in love with Duke, who tells her his true identity, and she confesses that the mine is hers. Kate convinces Sal that she can only save Duke's life by turning the map over to Ace, so she steals it and escapes with Kate. When Sperry and McGurk arrive, Duke and Chester again outsmart them and escape back to Skagway, where they elude a crowd of townspeople ready to hang them as Sperry and McGurk. Ace, LeBec, Kate and Sal, meanwhile, have returned to Skagway, where Sal confesses that she is in love with one of the "wanted" men and only went along with Ace's scheme in order to save them. Sal is tied up, but Duke and Chester steal the map from Ace's safe, rescue Sal, then blow up the saloon with a stick of dynamite after Sperry and McGurk enter it. Ace's men chase Duke, Chester and Sal to the North Pole, where the ice splits, leaving Sal and Chester on one side and Duke on the other. Duke throws them the map and faces Ace's men. Thirty-five years later, Duke meets the grown son of Chester and Sal, who is the spitting image of Duke, and Chester says they adopted him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.