This week, Olive Films is releasing, for the first time on Blu-ray, The Road to Hong Kong, the last of the seven “Road” buddy comedies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Hitting theaters a full decade after the penultimate entry, Hong Kong is an occasionally funny and occasionally wheezy bit of business, with one honest-to-God great sequence: an unbilled cameo by Peter Sellers, who strolls into the picture and steals the damn thing outright. Hope and Crosby were early adopters of the kind of inside-joke comedy that yielded such cameos, which became increasingly common in the years that followed; we’ve gathered up some of the funniest in movie history.
Peter Sellers in The Road to Hong Kong
Sellers’ turn as an Indian doctor, like his feature-length performance in Blake Edwards’ The Party six years later, manages to mostly dodge the pitfalls of “brownface” thanks to the good nature of the performer in question; you never feel that Sellers is laughing at his creation, but enjoying him. The scene was, reportedly, mostly improvised, with Hope and Crosby cracking up off-camera through the shooting day — and you can see why. As Sellers biographer Roger Lewis succinctly put it, “He totally upstages them.”