|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . is the most artificial, forced, fake exercise in dumbed-down Tomfoolery (and biggest waste of celluloid) since GONE WITH THE WIND, an earlier Tinseltown attack on Common Sense and Good Taste. It's as if someone said, "Let's make a cheaper version of GWTW, minus the plot, the stars, and the Blacks." Obviously, when you subtract those three elements from the six (or is it seven?) hours of the GWTW snooze-fest, all you're left with is about ten minutes of extras in costumes and forgettable music. Warner Bros. chose to pad out HOLLYWO0D WONDERLAND with another five minutes of material, consisting of a pompously self-important narrator's overview, followed by a belabored and over-used framing device of a studio tour led by a singing Usher and Usherette, leading a troop of a half dozen Golden Ticket Holders, including a lady in a bright blue top hat (certainly a typical Hollywood tourist). They're treated to whirling female violinists, crooning cowboys, warbling waitresses, and singing soldiers. Warner Bros. threw this onto one of their "John Wayne Collection" DVD's (TYCOON) to show exactly what they think of John Wayne fans.
Hollywood Wonderland (1947)
*** (out of 4)
This Warner short pretty much takes us on a tour of their studio and we get to see several of their musical shorts being put together. We go behind the scenes on GYPSY SWEETHEART, SWINGTIME IN THE MOVIES, THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD and RIDE, COWBOY RIDE. We get to see clips from the movies then we go into the studio to see the songs being recorded and matched up to the lip movement on the screen. I'm sure various other films have shown this but I still got a kick out of watching this short and seeing all the work be done. We also get clips from a film called THE Sunday ROUND UP, which is a very good one worth catching on Turner Classic Movies. Look fast for Ann Sheridan and Lauren Bacall photos. Horror fans will also notice Glenn Strange from RIDE, COWBOY, RIDE.
The best thing about this sixteen-minute short is the eye-popping
Technicolor. The music is ho-hum and at times downright boring, snipped
from Warner Brothers musical shorts of the previous decade. Ukulele Ike
(Cliff Edwards, aka Jiminy Cricket)is pleasing, singing and playing a
guitar rather than a ukulele. Cowboy Dick Foran shows why singing
shoot-em-up pictures came to be called horse operas. Unlike Gene Autry,
Roy Rogers, and Tex Ritter, Foran's voice was more suitable for opera
than for western ballads. His style was derivative of Nelson Eddy
rather than Bing Crosby.
For smirks, there's Clark Gable lookalike John Carroll warbling a song while in a canoe. Carroll turned out to be a much better actor than his reputation would indicate. For movie buffs there's a glimpse of starlet Lauren Bacall as her picture floats across the screen while the narrator emphasizes the importance of photography in the making of a Hollywood film.
Mainly for die-hard fans of 1930's-era popular music, "Hollywood Wonderland" is more like Hollywood Babalu-land.
Footnote: The tour guide is the same Wanda Hendrix who played Pilar in the film noir thriller, "Ride the Pink Horse," the same year.
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