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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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A sunnier, lighter version of "Grand Hotel" is entertaining fluff...
MGM updated its "Grand Hotel" storyline, gave the four principal roles to Walter Pigeon, Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner and Van Johnson, set them in some plush hotel surroundings amid a not too involving weekend situation and just let things coast along merrily. When the story sags a little, they even bring in Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra for a Starlight Roof floor show. None of it seems real, not for a moment, but it's all as light as the frosting on a cake and no one expects you to shed any tears as they did with the original story.
The ladies have the camera in love with them most of the time. Rogers and Turner are both seen at their photogenic best and give assured performances in roles that require a modicum of thespian talent.
Rogers gives the more effortless portrayal, clearly having a good time when she finds herself in a situation not far removed from those she shared with Fred Astaire in many an RKO romantic comedy. Turner is there for eye candy and little else. Van Johnson is enthusiastically boyish as the Army man concerned about his health and Walter Pigeon is as debonair as always as a pipe smoking war correspondent who has marriage on his mind with Rogers as his prospective bride.
It's all photographed in dreamy MGM style, everything smoothly crisp with the story shifting back and forth between a couple of minor sub-plots involving Edward Arnold, Phyllis Thaxter and Keenan Wynn.
Ginger Rogers has never looked more glamorous as the worldly movie star who is not quite sure whether she yearns to be alone and Walter Pigeon is excellent as the man who eventually wins her heart.
Pleasant fluff, but easily forgotten. A nice cast does what it can with stock characters and that's about it.
A warning: The ending is unbelievably theatrical and corny.
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