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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
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"Week-end at the Waldorf" was MGM's attempt to cash in on its earlier success "Grand Hotel" (made in 1932) by re-using the idea of Vicki Baum's play and setting it in wartime.
So the ballerina becomes the actress (Garbo becomes Ginger Rogers), the Baron becomes the war correspondent (John Barrymore becomes Walter Pidgeon), the sick worker becomes the Captain with a heart problem (Lionel Barrymore becomes Van Johnson), and there is still a stenographer (Joan Crawford becomes Lana Turner). In support is the ever reliable Keenan Wynn as an eager-beaver cub reporter.
Where "Grand Hotel" was star-led and rather stagey, with an improbable plot and an air of glamour, "Week-end ..." is somewhat less starry, more cinematic but dull, and lacks the 30s glamour which ran through the earlier film. Rogers does well enough as the bored actress who is waiting for her next film premiere, and Johnson and Pidgeon are personable enough, but Turner doesn't seem to have enough to do and the film, although watchable, feels a little flat.
Something of a pointless exercise, really, as the original film, overall, was much better.
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