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Anything can happen during a weekend at New York's Waldorf-Astoria: a glamorous movie star meets a world-weary war correspondent and mistakes him for a jewel thief; a soldier learns that without an operation he'll die and so looks for one last romance with a beautiful but ambitious stenographer; a cub reporter tries to get the goods on a shady man's dealing with a foreign potentate. And it all happens in the opulent, grandiose New York landmark hotel as a sort of tongue-in-cheek take-off on the classic movie Grand Hotel. Written by
Before Chip goes to sleep, he pushes chairs against the door. Later, Irene pushes the door open about 8 inches and gives up. But in the morning, the chairs are back against the door, when they should be 8 inches away! See more »
The movie's best part, to me, is seeing the actual army of hotel workers required to keep a high-rise like the Waldorf operating. It's impressive, and sure a lot of free advertising. Anyway, despite the attractive cast, the various light comedy threads fail to gel, making the screen time seem longer than its actual 130 minutes. The movie adds up to bland entertainment, at best. The one sparkling scene is when Johnson's flight captain and Turner's working girl meet, some winsome chemistry there.
The screenplay, however, comes across as a rather clumsy patchwork, at best. For example, shady tycoon Edward Arnold is apparently up to no good (and with oil sheiks, no less), but we never find out more. And what's with Thaxter's role. It comes across like a half-digested morsel, maybe serving as a screen test for a younger MGM performer. Nor does Robert Leonard's uninspired direction help. In fact, it seems odd that the studio didn't assign a top- flight director to what would appear a prestige project.
The biggest disappointment, however, is with the Pigeon-Rogers romance. Now they're both highly capable, charming actors. The problem again is with the screenplay. Pigeon's impersonation of a jewel thief is, I gather, supposed to be zany and out of character. Instead, it comes across as not just implausible but also downright silly despite the pair's best comedic efforts. However, there is one compensation for Rogers she gets to model an array of 1945's best high fashion, and lovely she is.
Anyway, the script looks to me like a rush job, comparing poorly with Grand Hotel's first-rate screenplay. Unfortunately, this version amounts to a general waste of superior talent, though I must admit coming away with a new appreciation of the boyish Johnson's acting talent. Too bad, some of that didn't better inspire the writers or at least give them more time.
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