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Professor Wong has invented a television machine and invites everyone to see it at China's International House Hotel. Every time Tommy Nash attempts to wed his fiancée Carol Fortescue he comes down with an illness, and when he breaks out in a rash the hotel is quarantined. Into this hotel flies Professor Quail in his auto-gyro. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paramount had the brilliant idea of featuring radio in the movies the previous year with The Big Broadcast. That film featured all kinds of radio stars the public only imagined and had an anarchic plot similar to International House.
I've often wondered if Paramount didn't mean to have this be The Big Broadcast of 1933 originally. Repeating from the cast of The Big Broadcast are Stu Erwin and Burns & Allen and Cab Calloway. Adding to the general hilarity are W.C. Fields, Franklin Pangborn, Rudy Vallee, Bela Lugosi, and the Paris Hilton of her day, Peggy Hopkins Joyce.
The slender thread of a plot this movie hangs on involves a Chinese inventor Edmund Breon who invents the seeing eye, radio you can see as well as listen to. Everyone wants to get their hands on this valuable patent. A lot of the musical guest stars get hooked into the film via the inventor testing out the device.
Bing Crosby made his feature film starring debut in The Big Broadcast and I wonder why his crooning rival Rudy Vallee was hired for this film. Rudy has a nice, but unmemorable number.
Of course what makes the film really go are Burns and Allen and W.C. Fields. They uplift any film they are in. George and Gracie's montypythonesque type dialog is timeless and priceless.
So is Fields of course, the eternal misanthrope. There was one bit of humor I caught in International House though that is rather dated. During that final chase scene through the International House lobby with Fields in an automobile, he pokes his head through the car roof and puts his top hat on. He then remarks something about this car used to belong to the Postmaster General.
As it turns out Herbert Hoover's Postmaster General was a rather fatuous gentlemen named Walter Brown. He liked to wear high silk hats and had a limousine designed with an extra tall roof so he could ride with his topper on. At government expense of course in the middle of the Depression. He was forever derided as High Hat Brown after that and even a year later after Hoover was out of office, W.C. Fields could wring a laugh or two with that crack from the Depression audience.
Still though, this should really be called The Big Broadcast of 1933.
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