8 user 3 critic

Starlight Hotel (1987)

PG | | Drama | August 1988 (USA)
It is Depression era New Zealand and school-kid Kate is missing her father badly. The temptation to seek him out leads her into diverse and intense encounters with fate.


Sam Pillsbury


Grant Hindin-Miller (novel), Grant Hindin-Miller (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Greer Robson-Kirk ... Kate (as Greer Robson)
Bruce Phillips ... Kate's Father
Alice Fraser Alice Fraser ... Aunt
Patrick Smyth Patrick Smyth ... Uncle
John Watson John Watson ... School Teacher
Vanessa Young Vanessa Young ... Schoolgirl #1
Teresa Bonney Teresa Bonney ... Schoolgirl #2
Duncan Anderson Duncan Anderson ... Railway Foreman
Russell Gibson Russell Gibson ... Railway Worker
Marshall Napier ... Det. Wallace
Norman Forsey Norman Forsey ... Farmer
Craig Halkett Craig Halkett ... Farmer's Son
Peter Phelps ... Patrick
Louise Petherbridge Louise Petherbridge ... Chairwoman
Laura Robertson Laura Robertson ... Panel Member


It is Depression era New Zealand and school-kid Kate is missing her father badly. The temptation to seek him out leads her into diverse and intense encounters with fate. Written by <tgard@genauto.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »



New Zealand



Release Date:

August 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Csillagfény Hotel See more »

Filming Locations:

Oamaru, New Zealand See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Patrick's nickname for Kate is Rat Bag. See more »


Kate: I want to get out of this place.
The Wizard: Well who's stopping you? You crippled or something?
Kate: I'm just a kid.
The Wizard: When Alexander the Great was just a kid he conquered half the world. But he was a boy. If you want to something, do it.
See more »


References The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

"I thought you said you were staying in a hotel."
10 May 2010 | by BERSERKERpoetrySee all my reviews

The initial plot set-up for "Starlight Hotel" is virtually identical to that of an American film made two years earlier called "The Journey of Natty Gann". Greer Robson plays young Kate, whose father leaves New Zealand to find work during the Great Depression. After things don't quite work out with being left behind, she decides to find her own way out to meet him. This film isn't quite as well-realized as the aforementioned American production, but it's still an excellent watch for kids. There's two major highlights here - the first is Greer Robson (who I'd liked in "Smash Palace", made six years earlier) who gives a very engaging, natural performance. The second is the vivid and beautiful cinematography by Warrick Attewell.

The major, distracting downside is the music. Instead of making something a little more chronologically appropriate for a film set in the 1930s, Andrew Hagen and Morton Wilson composed a soundtrack full of echoey synths and tickling pop piano. It's rages above the soundtrack like a whore with hideous makeup. It's the only time I've ever heard music that was so bad it came close to sinking an entire film.

There's all the inherent improbabilities one might expect from an adventure story aimed at younger audiences, but it doesn't fly in the face of reality too much. None of the humor is cheap or easy. "Starlight Hotel" is generally a lighthearted film, and by extension, a rather lightweight one as well. I enjoyed a lot. You should too, especially if you watch it with children.

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