Road to Morocco (1942)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Survivors of a Mediterranean shipwreck, stowaways Jeff and Orville paddle to a North African shore, and then hitch a camel ride across the desert to Morocco. In order to buy food, Jeff sells Orville into slavery, but when Orville’s owner turns out to be the luscious Princess Shalmar, she wants to become his wife. However, the true reason for the Princess’s proposal quickly becomes clear. Her prophet warned her that first husband will meet a violent death within days of their marriage. So, she wants to marry Orville instead of her beloved Mullay Kasim. Wacky comedy ensues.

‘Road to Morocco’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Road to Morocco (1942)Road to Morocco begins with the explosion of a freighter out at sea. News spreads across the world over its destruction. While the cause of the ship’s explosion is unknown, the entire crew is accounted for sans two unidentified stowaways.

The men, Jeff Peters and Orville ‘Turkey’ Jackson, float adrift at sea on a piece of the ship’s wreckage. Jeff was the one whose bright idea it was to stow away, but it was Orville’s smoking that caused the mighty explosion, and got them into their current predicament.

They eventually hit land, and while they sit on the beach, Orville reminds Jeff that he promised Aunt Lucy to take care of him, but really, Aunt Lucy died before Jeff could agree. As they talk, a random camel walks over to them from out of nowhere, and kiss them over and over. When the boys realize who the real kisser it, they hitch a ride on the camel down the road to Morocco.

Sheik Mullay Kasim, and his little outfit, nearly run down the boys once they enter through the gates of an Arabian city. However, these Arabic desperadoes are too busy shooting their guns in the air to notice them because their sheik is trying to woo the local princess he plans to marry. When group of slaves from the palace walks by Orville, the woman they are toting around in a litter takes Orville’s hand from inside her veiled box. Orville is immediately smitten.

Jeff and Orville head over to a restaurant to eat, but spend most of their time figuring out how to dine and dash without paying the knife-wielding waiter. A man spots Orville, and calls Jeff over. They haggle, and then the man hands Jeff a large amount of money. Jeff returns, and then pays for their meal with some of it. When Orville asks him what’s going on, Jeff says he just sold Orville to the man. While Orville is furious, Jeff calmly says he will buy Orville back. Then two men throw a hood over Orville, and take him away.

We next see Jeff trying to get some sleep, but Aunt Lucy’s ghost visits him in his dreams. She’s angry at Jeff for selling Orville. Jeff tried to buy Orville back, but he found out Orville was re-sold to someone else quicker than a bank re-sells a home mortgage to Freddie Mac.

Jeff sets out to find Orville, and he does so while walking through the sleepy streets of the town; singing a little song. Someone at the palace throws a note at him from a window with Orville’s locket inside. The note’s says Jeff is in grave danger, and he should leave at once…also, someone is torturing him. Jeff scales the palace wall to save Orville, but instead, he finds a lot beautiful girls dancing around the beautiful Princess Shalmar as she sings to Orville while he lounges with her on a large sofa.

The princess’ guards nab Jeff as he barges in. When Orville pretends to not know Jeff, the princess sends everyone away except for the two men. Orville comes clean, but he’s still pretty mad at Jeff for selling him. Orville then informs Jeff he is to marry the princess.

She’s only doing so because her wise man read the stars in the sky, and Jupiter and Venus say she is to marry Orville. She is the one who purchased him that day, and she gives Orville a warm kiss in front of Jeff. Jeff decides to stay for a bit, but Orville wants him to go. The princess invites Jeff to stay anyway, so he does.

While the princess is currently engaged to Orville, originally she was to marry Sheik Kasim. When Jeff asks Orville about it, the two argue, and Orville has Jeff tossed out. So, Jeff meanders through the palace halls, crooning along the way. His voice grabs the princess’ attention, and the two go for a walk under the moonlit sky. They begin to fall for each other.

Meanwhile, Mihirmah, one of the princess’ beautiful maidens is in love with Orville, and she wants Orville to run away with her, but Orville still wants to marry the princess. As Jeff continues walking with the princess, he tells her that he was the one originally sold; not Orville. She should marry him instead, but Orville arrives carrying a sword to break the love-fest up.

In the morning, Kasim arrives in a bad mood. He argues with Princess Shalmar for attempting to marry someone else. He then turns to kill Orville dead, but the princess sends him to her wise man named Hyder Kahn.

Khan says the stars found that Princess Shalmar’s first husband will die a violent death within a week of the marriage. She will marry her second husband for love, and be blessed with a long happy marriage. The princess tells Kasim that Orville is going to be her first husband, and when he dies, Kasim will be her second one. Kasim is elated at the news, and warmly embraces his bride to be.

Soon however, Orville learns the local undertakers are preparing his grave, so he goes to convince Jeff that the princess actually loves him. He now plans on running off with Mihirmah so Jeff can have the princess. Later that night, Aunt Lucy’s ghost visits Orville, and shames him, but Orville still won’t tell Jeff the truth. The wise man discovers that he’s been misreading the stars because fireflies have infested his telescope. He was looking at the wrong Jupiter and Venus the whole time; throwing off his prophecies.

Back at the palace, Princess Shalmar refuses to marry Jeff, and she sends Orville to get ready for their wedding. Khan arrives to tell the princess and Jeff of his incorrect prophecy. This pleases the princess, and she now agrees to ditch both Orville and Kasim, and marry Jeff.

Now that Jeff knows why Orville wanted out of the marriage, he decides not to tell him the truth. Instead, he tells Orville that the princess has agreed to marry him. Orville is now the pleased one. Khan’s assistant also tells Kasim of the incorrect prophecy hoping to be greatly rewarded for the information. Kasim tosses him some coins, and gathers up his men to raid Morocco.

Jeff and the princess agree to marry in the U. S. with Orville and Mihirmah in tow, but Kasim intervenes first. He grabs the princess, and then Jeff and Orville try to patty-cake their way out of the situation, but Kasim doesn’t fall for the gag. They then try to escape with the palace girls, but Kasim’s men capture them anyway.

Kasim rides off with the women, and leaves Jeff and Orville in the middle of the desert for dead. They somehow untie themselves and start wandering through the dunes. Cue the aimless wandering in a hot desert with plenty of mirages schtick. Soon, they walk into an oasis, and are thrilled to find it’s real. They find Kasim’s camp nearby, and try to sneak into their tent. Unable to see where they are going in a little tent of their own, they wander into the middle of their camp, and are captured.

When they see another group of horsemen approach, they learn its a rival sheik coming in a token of peace and friendship on Kasim’s wedding night. Jeff and Orville escape their little jail cell with the help of a magic ring, and a rifle. They head back to the wedding party at the tent, and sabotage the party with a dribble glass, a fart joke, and exploding cigarettes. In the accompanying melee that ensues, Jeff and Orville grab the girls, collapse the tent, and flee for their lives.

The four take a boat ride back to America. Orville, not learning from his mistake before, sneaks into the powder room, and lights a cigarette. The boat explodes, and we next see all four floating in some of the ship’s debris. Fortunately for them, they are near New York’s harbor and a quick rescue.

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Paramount Pictures released Road to Morocco on April 8, 1942. David Butler directed the film starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour.

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