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Hollywood Hotel (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 15 January 1938 (USA)
Ronny Bowers, a saxophonist in Benny Goodman's band has won a talent contest an got a ten week contract with a film studio. On his first evening he is supposed to go with the studio's star ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Virginia
...
Mona Marshall
...
Chester Marshall
...
Fuzzy
...
Jonesy
Johnnie Davis ...
Georgia
...
...
Alexander Duprey
...
Dot Marshall
...
Alice
Jerry Cooper ...
Jerry Cooper
Ken Niles ...
Ken Niles
Duane Thompson ...
Duane Thompson
...
Bernie Walton
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Storyline

Ronny Bowers, a saxophonist in Benny Goodman's band has won a talent contest an got a ten week contract with a film studio. On his first evening he is supposed to go with the studio's star Mona Marshall to a movie premiere. But this lady doesn't want to go, so the bosses decide to use for Mona a double, Virginia. When Mona finds out next morning that happened, she insisted to fire her double and Ronny. Ronny finds work as singing waiter in a drive in, and is spotted by a director of the same studio, who wants him to lend his voice for an leading actor in a musical. After the first screening the actor is invited by Louella Parsons to sing in her program "Hollywood Hotel". He accepts, but he doesn't know that Ronny Bowers does not want to lend him his voice again. So everybody starts to play his little game to solve his own problems. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 January 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Himaires tou Hollywood  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The sequence with the Benny Goodman Quartet - white musicians Goodman on clarinet and Gene Krupa on drums, and Black musicians Ted Wilson on piano and Lionel Hampton on vibes - performing "I've Got a Heartful of Music" was the first time a racially mixed band was shown in a film. See more »

Goofs

In the "Hooray for Hollywood" portion of the finale, Johnnie Davis is shown playing the trumpet on the back row of Benny Goodman's band while at the same time he's in the audience singing. See more »

Quotes

Butch: [referring to her gown] If your fans don't explode when you walk into that premiere tonight, I'll tear it to pieces!
Mona Marshall: Do you really think so, Butch?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sinatra: All or Nothing at All: Part 1 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting (as Dick Whiting)
Played at the Orchid Room when Virginia asks Ronnie to dance
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Try Your Luck, You Could Be Donald Duck, Hooray For Hollywood"
2 April 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When we talk Hollywood Hotel we could be talking about one of three things, the actual hotel, the radio program, and this film which was partially inspired by the first two. Dick Powell was the host of the Hollywood Hotel program on CBS radio network in which Louella Parsons dished out the weekly scoop on the stars.

Powell and Parsons debuted the Hollywood Hotel program in 1934 so by 1937 it had its fair share of the radio audience. Powell hosted, sang, and kibitzed with Louella and her movie star guests. With the power she had with her column, she was able to get the various stars to go on and plug their latest films for nothing.

Then the American Federation of Radio Artists stepped in and demanded she pay wages accordingly and they won the case. That ended the Hollywood Hotel program in 1938. Of course both Powell and Louella went on to other radio venues. The whole story is covered in the Tony Thomas book, The Films Of Dick Powell.

But before the plug was pulled this film came out from Powell's home studio of Warner Brothers inspired by the radio program. Powell plays a singer/saxophonist with the Benny Goodman band who gets signed to a Hollywood contract. But when he gets out to Hollywood he gets himself tangled up with an egotistical film star Lola Lane, her lookalike double real life sister Rosemary Lane, and a ham actor in Alan Mowbray.

When Mowbray is called upon to sing in a Civil War epic he's making with Lola Lane, it's Powell's voice they use. Then Mowbray develops a Lina Lamont problem when he's asked to go on the Hollywood Hotel radio program, broadcast from the Hollywood Hotel. That's got the studio in a tizzy. Let's say the problem isn't solved the way it is Singing In The Rain, but Powell's manager Ted Healy proves to be resourceful.

Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer provide a really nice score for the film. The big hit song comes right at the beginning as the Benny Goodman band with scat singing Johnnie Davis sing Hollywood's anthem, Hooray for Hollywood. My favorite however is Powell and Rosemary Lane singing, I'm Like A Fish Out Of Water. Just listening to Johnny Mercer's lyrics about Ginger Rogers running the Brooklyn Dodgers or Sally Rand without her fan, it's a compendium of American popular culture in the Thirties.

Busby Berkeley does the choreography here and while the film doesn't have the soaring imaginary stuff that his earlier work with Warner Brothers has, the numbers are well staged. Berkeley's big moment is in a drive-in eatery where Powell and Healy have been forced to take jobs. The number starts with Benny Goodman broadcasting from the Hollywood Hotel doing Let That Be A Lesson To You and then at the drive-in Powell, Lane and the entire place start joining in song to the exasperation of owner Edgar Kennedy. And you know what you can expect from Edgar Kennedy exasperation.

Benny Goodman gets to show why he was named the King Of Swing when the band with drummer Gene Krupa and xylophonist Lionel Hampton as part of his ensemble. That together with Frances Langford singing as well. And possibly the last surviving cast member of the group was a fellow who had a small bit as a radio announcer. He died in 2004, but not before he became the 40th President of the United States. Ronald Reagan always credited Dick Powell and Pat O'Brien as being the two guys on Warner Brothers who were the most helpful to an eager young player looking to make his mark.

Hollywood Hotel is one delightful and entertaining motion picture, dated, but charmingly so.


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