IMDb > International House (1933)
International House
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International House (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   825 votes »
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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Francis Martin (screen play) and
Walter DeLeon (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for International House on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 May 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Grand Hotel of comedy
Plot:
Assorted wacky characters converge on a Chinese hotel to bid on a new invention...television. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(46 articles)
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User Reviews:
Don't let the posy fool ya! See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Peggy Hopkins Joyce ... Peggy Hopkins Joyce

W.C. Fields ... Professor Quail

Rudy Vallee ... Himself

Stuart Erwin ... Tommy Nash

George Burns ... Doctor Burns

Gracie Allen ... Nurse Allen
Sari Maritza ... Carol Fortescue
F. Chase Taylor ... Colonel Stoopnagle (as Colonel Stoopnagle)
Budd Hulick ... Budd (as Budd)

Cab Calloway ... Himself

Bela Lugosi ... General Petronovich
Marie Osborne ... Herself (as Baby Marie)
Franklin Pangborn ... Hotel Manager
Edmund Breese ... Doctor Wong
Lumsden Hare ... Sir Mortimer Fortescue

Sterling Holloway ... Sailor
Lona Andre ... Chorus Queen
Harrison Greene ... Herr Von Baden
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Norman Ainsley ... Ticket Clerk (uncredited)
Clem Beauchamp ... Newsreel Cameraman (uncredited)
Bo Ching ... Hotel Bell-hop (uncredited)
Wong Chung ... Health Inspector (uncredited)
Carrie Daumery ... Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw ... General's Henchman (uncredited)
Etta Lee ... Peggy's Maid (uncredited)
Bo Ling ... Cigar Counter Clerk (uncredited)
Al Morgan ... Bass Player in Cab Calloway's Band (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Telegram Clerk (uncredited)
Cyril Ring ... Mr. Brown - Assistant Hotel Manager (uncredited)
Henry Sedley ... Serge Borsky (uncredited)
Mary Jane Sloan ... Sugar Bowl (uncredited)
Edwin Stanley ... Mr. Rollins - Electric Company Boss (uncredited)
Louis Vincenot ... Mr. Brown - Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
James Wong ... Inspector Sun (uncredited)
Ernest Wood ... Newsreel Reporter (uncredited)
Gwen Zetter ... Tea Pot (uncredited)
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Directed by
A. Edward Sutherland  (as Edward Sutherland)
 
Writing credits
Francis Martin (screen play) and
Walter DeLeon (screen play)

Neil Brant (from a story by) and
Louis E. Heifetz (from a story by)

Produced by
Emanuel Cohen .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Howard Jackson (uncredited)
John Leipold (uncredited)
Ralph Rainger (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Ernest Haller (photographed by)
 
Costume Design by
Travis Banton (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Farciot Edouart .... special photographic effects (uncredited)
Loyal Griggs .... special photographic effects staff (uncredited)
Al Myers .... special photographic effects staff (uncredited)
Dewey Wrigley .... special photographic effects staff (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Guy Bennett .... second camera (uncredited)
Ellsworth Fredericks .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Thomas Morris .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Guy Newhard .... second camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Ralph Rainger .... music & lyrics by
Leo Robin .... music & lyrics by
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
68 min (copyright length)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Filmed February-April 1933. Bela Lugosi made this feature after "Night of Terror," and before "The Devil's in Love."See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The hole in the roof of Prof. Quail's car disappears and reappears during the chase.See more »
Quotes:
Nurse Allen:[on phone] No, the doctor isn't in just now. Oh, he won't be back for a long, long time. He went out on one of those eternity cases.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Comin' Thro' the RyeSee more »

FAQ

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Don't let the posy fool ya!, 11 August 2005
Author: wmorrow59 from Westchester County, NY

International House is the cinematic equivalent of a root beer float: not exactly nutritious, but it sure makes you feel good. This is the kind of movie that somehow creates an atmosphere of great comedy, even when the comedy isn't so great. Of course, it helps if you enjoy flicks of the Pre-Code era, the jazz and pop of the early '30s, and performers such as W.C. Fields, George Burns & Gracie Allen, Cab Calloway, etc. (Personally I love these folks, and relish seeing them in practically anything.) Even so, you may find that some of the punch-lines fall flat, either because they're based on obscure topical references or because they weren't all that funny in the first place, or maybe because the jokes are supposed to be dumb and the dumbness itself is the joke. In the end I have to conclude that whatever success this film achieves is due almost entirely to the charisma of the larger-than-life personalities of stage, screen, and radio assembled to put the material across. I can't think of another comedy with so many dead spots and missed opportunities that is so defiantly enjoyable anyhow.

Our story concerns the demonstration of a new invention, television, in a luxury hotel in Wu Hu, China. Dr. Wong, the inventor of this device (quaintly termed a "radio-scope" here) is entertaining bids from various international companies for the rights to his invention, and the competition for this prize forms what little plot there is. Clearly, the premise is just a flimsy excuse to throw together a batch of comic skits, songs, and star turns of one sort or another. Some of the stars have lost their luster with the passage of time; the male lead is a rather unappealing comic named Stuart Erwin who was mysteriously featured in several Paramount films of the period, while the leading lady is a once-famous celebrity named Peggy Hopkins Joyce who plays herself. Joyce was a former showgirl who was better known for marrying and divorcing millionaires than for her acting skill: the Zsa Zsa Gabor of her time. Happily, however, Erwin and Joyce quickly fade into the woodwork while we enjoy the antics of the more appealing players.

There's a lot to enjoy here: Gracie Allen as the ditsy dame, hotel manager Franklin Pangborn in full fuss-budget mode, a strangely out-of-place Bela Lugosi as one of Miss Joyce's jealous ex-husbands, and of course W.C. Fields as the drunken lecher Professor Quail. I've always enjoyed Fields a great deal but must confess I have mixed feelings about his work here. Quail isn't the long-suffering Dad of It's a Gift or the lovable rogue of The Old Fashioned Way, he's sour and generally obnoxious. For me this characterization plays better in some scenes (i.e. his confrontation with Gracie) than in others (his destruction of the telephone switchboard). Fields' funniest sequence is one in which he and Miss Joyce temporarily share a bedroom suite, while each is unaware of the other's presence. I also have mixed feelings about Burns & Allen's routines on this occasion, but even when their jokes are lousy they punch 'em across with sheer panache.

Who else is at the party? Well, Cab Calloway's music is great, and his number in the uncensored version of this movie, an up-tempo tribute to marijuana called "Reefer Man," is a real jaw-dropper -- no wonder it was cut from the T.V. prints! Baby Rose Marie, already a seasoned trouper at age 10, is downright eerie belting out her torch ballad like a low-down, red hot mama. Rudy Vallee's number has always been my cue to head for the john. And then, there are a couple of lingering mysteries: why is Dr. Wong is so doggedly determined to tune-in the six-day bicycle race at Madison Square Garden? And how did the two guys who call themselves Colonel Stoopnagle & Budd get into this movie? Their brief scene is a total dud, and their appeal escapes me completely. On the other hand, that musical number with the giant teacups, Sterling Holloway, and dancers with spoons in their hair makes me feel like I've suddenly ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms. In a nice way, I mean.

If nothing else this movie has given the world a notable punch-line, the one found in my subject heading above. This, of course, is Professor Quail's immortal retort to the fussy little hotel manager when he assumes the fellow is making a pass at him. I went to a public screening of International House recently and overheard two different people quoting the line in the lobby beforehand. If you find that line funny -- and I certainly do -- then this oddball comedy may suit your palate. After all, a root beer float now and again never killed anybody.

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