|Index||3 reviews in total|
A great pick-up on the Swing dance craze of the late 1930s. This
simple, short musical comedy was a delightful surprise to find. It was
available as a "Special Feature" on my DVD copy of "Swing Time".
The premise of this, as with many musicals, is secondary to the music. Here is the premise: a group of theater performers have lost their work and can't pay their hotel bill. They offer to take responsibility for the hotel for 90 days in exchange for their back rent. They plan to change things at the hotel by adding a "Swing" tone to the service and entertainment. Watch it till the end for the delightfully hilarious ending.
From beginning to end of this short were numerous whimsical numbers by the ensemble cast. I especially enjoyed the male trio who performed two numbers, one as famous detectives, and one as hotel kitchen chefs. The "Holiday in Hades" number was an interesting surprise for films of this era.
Hotel a la Swing (1937)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Mildly entertaining two-reeler from Warner has a traveling music show losing their job so when they can't pay the hotel tab they make a deal to work it off. The musicians bring swing music to the joint and soon enough people are coming from all around to check out the acts. Someone should really do a documentary on director Roy Mack and the other men who were pumping out these musical two-reelers throughout the decade because I'm sure it could be quite entertaining. This is one of countless shorts that was made with very little interest in an actual story and instead everything was thrown into the musical numbers. This one here includes a very interesting one called Holiday in Hades, which is performed by Marcia Wayne. This is a piece set in Hell with devils doing a dance but the interesting thing is that at the back of the set are a couple images of a monster and it certainly looks like the creature from I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN. That low-budget horror movie wouldn't come for nearly two more decades but the two monsters look so close to one another you wonder if someone hadn't seen this short as a child. Either way, this film here really isn't all that memorable outside this one number as the rest are rather clichéd and the music just isn't all that memorable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Often a viewer needs to sit through almost two hours of uninvolving material to glimpse a landmark musical number from a dated movie of long ago (especially if they don't have access to the "fast forward" and "search" functions). Well, HOTEL A LA SWING is an exception, as you can see Marcia Wayne and her ensemble perform that Cliff Hess and Mann Curtis standard, "Holiday in Hades," PLUS the rest of the film in a mere 21 and a half minutes. (If you don't have the patience for that, use "search" to set the d.v.d. at the 11:30 mark.) All of this brief farce is as funny as the average Marx Brothers effort (gadzooks! did he really mean that?! yes), but "Holiday in Hades" has the added attraction of being the perfect song for the previous administration here, especially with its introductory references to "evil-doers."
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