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What Price Hollywood? (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 24 June 1932 (USA)
The career of a waitress takes off when she meets an amiable drunken Hollywood producer.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Gene Fowler (by), Rowland Brown (by) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Constance Bennett ... Mary Evans
Lowell Sherman ... Max Carey
Neil Hamilton ... Lonny Borden
Gregory Ratoff ... Julius Saxe
Brooks Benedict ... Muto
Louise Beavers ... The Maid
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Reed ... Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Brown Derby waitress Mary Evans befriends seldom-sober director Max Carey and is soon in the big-time. She hooks eastern millionaire Lonnie Borden but he soon tires of the Hollywood lifestyle and of playing second fiddle to a star. Carey looks on with interest when he can see straight. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Constance Bennett pays for fame in "What Price Hollywood".

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 June 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hollywood Madness See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$411,676 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Pathé Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Neil Hamilton, who plays Mary's persistent suitor Lonny here, had been a leading man in the silent movie era, and continued working until the end of his life. More than 30 years after this film, Hamilton was cast in the role for which he is best remembered: Police Commissioner Gordon in the Adam West TV version of Batman. See more »

Goofs

When Mary is filming her first bit part she drops her script on the stairs, which then disappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Mary Evans is admiring a magazine photo of Clark Gable]
Mary Evans: Hmmmm. Oh, boy!
[Mary places the magazine photo against her face and pretends Gable is her lover. She speaks in an exaggerated voice]
Mary Evans: Daaahling, how I love you my daaahling, I love you I do.
[she puts the magazine down and returns to her normal voice]
Mary Evans: It's getting late and I must scram.
See more »

Connections

Version of A Star Is Born (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Pagan Love Song
Music by Nacio Herb Brown; Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Part of a medley played during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A zestier pre-Code version of the familiar "A Star is Born" story
29 December 1999 | by Michael-110See all my reviews

It's fun to compare "What Price Hollywood," made in 1932, to the more familiar 1937 version of "A Star is Born" (as well as its two later remakes). An important historic event intervened between the two: the Hays Code became rigidly enforced in 1934. The 1932 version is much spicier. Mary, the unknown knockout in in the 1932 version, is a saucy waitress at the legendary Brown Derby restaurant trying to catch the eye of a movie big shot. She's pretty sophisticated and, you believe, would happily do whatever is required to land an acting job. She readily allows herself to be picked up and taken to a premiere by a famous (but fading) director, which launches her great career. In the 1937 version, Esther, the ingenue, is straight off the farm and comes to Hollywood without a clue about the movie biz. She's a goody-two-shoes who would be shocked about what it usually takes to break into the biz. She catches the eye of a famous (but fading and highly alcoholic) actor when she waitresses at a party.

There is one major plot difference: in the 1932 version, Mary marries a rich polo playing socialite who divorces her (while she's pregnant) because he is fed up with movie people. This is highly realistic--movie stars had terrible marital problems. In the 1937 version, Esther marries the actor who was her mentor and is sucked into his hopeless downward spiral. Divorce is a perfectly acceptable solution to marital problems in 1932 but, under the constraints of the Code, was out of the question in 1937.

Both films are well worth seeing. They're loaded with insights about Hollywood and filmmaking (both the creative and the business end), the rapacious movie press, and the fans--an insatiable monster that devours the object of its affection. The declining fortunes of the director (in "What Price Hollywood") and the actor (in "A Star is Born") are quite fascinating. But of the two--the 1932 version is a lot more fun.


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