This is the story of the clock-like movements of a giant, big city New Orleans hotel. The ambitious yet loyal manager, wrestles with the round-the-clock drama of its guests. A brazen sneak thief, who nightly relieves the guests of their property, is chased though the underground passages of the hotel. The big business power play for control and the thrilling crash of an elevator add to the excitement. Written by
Hotel is a film concerning a few days at the end of the life of one of those old fashioned hotels, the St. Gregory's in New Orleans. It's owner Melvyn Douglas is facing some financial problems and he's hired Rod Taylor as manager whose made some improvements and the place is beginning to turn around. But way too slowly to keep Douglas's creditors off his back. The story on which Hotel is based is from an Arthur Hailey novel who wrote Airport and inspired that series of films. The film bears some resemblance to Airport to be sure, but I also think it bears comparison to the Humphrey Bogart classic Deadline, USA about a newspaper going out of business with Bogart in the Taylor role and Ethel Barrymore in the one that Melvyn Douglas has here.
Douglas and Taylor are not going down without a fight. What they don't want to do is sell out to Conrad Hilton like hotel magnate Kevin McCarthy who will turn the place antiseptic and it will lose its traditional charm. It's a problem with hotels, so many of even the finest rated old ones are being purchased by chains, a problem back then to be sure. So few independents are even operating today.
McCarthy does have a secret weapon in the charming and voluptuous Catherine Spaak and her assignment is Taylor.
There are a couple of other subplots working here. Titled couple Michael Rennie and Merle Oberon are involved in a hit and run accident after they've both had too much and they face a blackmailing house detective in Richard Conte. And the police are after a very clever thief who works the New Orleans hotels in Karl Malden. All these stories do connect as you will see.
Director Richard Quine directed this film with an eye for style and elegance which the fictional St. Gregory is famous for. The cast is seasoned one of good professionals who give some professional performances. Hotel is a film of class and I think you'll like it.
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