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Hollywood Hotel (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hollywood Hotel
Hollywood Hotel - Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBusby Berkeley
Screenplay byJerry Wald
Maurice Leo
Richard Macaulay
Story byJerry Wald
Maurice Leo
Produced byUncredited:[1]
Samuel Bischoff
Bryan Foy
StarringDick Powell
Rosemary Lane
Lola Lane
Hugh Herbert
Ted Healy
Glenda Farrell
Johnnie Davis
CinematographyCharles Rosher
George Barnes (musical numbers)
Edited byGeorge Amy
Music bySongs:
Johnny Mercer
Richard A. Whiting
Score (uncredited):
Ray Heindorf
Heinz Roemheld
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 20, 1937 (1937-12-20) (U.S.)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budgetover $1 million[2]

Hollywood Hotel is a 1937 American romantic musical comedy film, directed by Busby Berkeley, starring Dick Powell, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Hugh Herbert, Ted Healy, Glenda Farrell and Johnnie Davis, featuring Alan Mowbray and Mabel Todd, and with Allyn Joslyn, Grant Mitchell and Edgar Kennedy.

The film was based on the popular Hollywood Hotel radio show created by gossip columnist Louella Parsons, where Hollywood stars recreated scenes from their latest movies. It was broadcast weekly from the hotel of that name.[1] The film's recreation of the program features Louella Parsons, Frances Langford, Raymond Paige and His Orchestra, Jerry Cooper, the announcer Ken Niles, Duane Thompson and Benny Goodman and His Orchestra.

Hollywood Hotel, the film, is now best remembered for the featured song and opening number "Hooray for Hollywood" by Johnny Mercer and Richard A. Whiting, sung in the film by Davis and Langford, accompanied by Goodman and his orchestra. The song has become a standard part of the soundtrack to movie award ceremonies, including the Academy Awards. Mercer's lyrics contain numerous references, often satirical, to the movie industry and the path to film stardom.

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Saxophone player and singer Ronnie Bowers, is on his way to Hollywood, having been signed to a ten-week contract by All Star Pictures. At the airport, his former employer, Benny Goodman, and his band give him a big sendoff, performing "Hooray for Hollywood".

In Hollywood, temperamental star Mona Marshall becomes furious when she learns that another actress has landed a part she desperately wanted. As a result, she refuses to attend the premiere of her latest movie.

Publicist Bernie Walton convinces studio boss B. L. Faulkin to substitute a double. Bernie chooses Virginia Stanton, who has already worked as a stand-in for Mona. For her escort, Bernie chooses an unsuspecting (and starstruck) Ronnie. The charade works. Everyone, from Ronnie to Louella Parsons to the radio host at the premiere is fooled. Things take an unexpected turn when Ronnie and Virginia begin to fall in love, wading in a fountain pond and singing "I'm Like a Fish Out of Water".

The next day, Bernie takes Ronnie to lunch at the restaurant where Virginia is working as a waitress, to break the news of his date's real identity. Ronnie and Virginia begin dating.

When Mona reads in the newspaper that "she" was at the premiere with Ronnie, she forces Faulkin to buy the young man out of his contract. Photographer Fuzzy Boyle appoints himself Ronnie's agent, and they make the rounds, trying to get his acting career started, without success. The two end up employed at a drive-in. When Ronnie sings during work, director Walter Kelton is impressed and offers him a job. Ronnie is disappointed to learn, however, that he will not be acting, but only dubbing the singing for Mona's longtime screen partner, Alex Dupre.

Dupre's "singing" impresses the audience at the preview. When Louella Parsons invites him to perform on her radio program, he accepts without thinking. Desperate, All Star Pictures pays Ronnie an exorbitant fee to sing for the actor. However, Ronnie has his own ideas. Virginia (posing as Mona) picks up Dupre in a limousine driven by Fuzzy. The pair drive him out into the countryside so he misses the program. Ronnie substitutes for Dupre and is a hit, so Faulkin decides to re-sign him, at a larger salary.


Cast notes:

  • Louella Parsons, a noted gossip columnist of the time, created the concept of Hollywood Hotel for the radio, and appears in the film as herself.[3] It was her screen debut.[1]
  • The Benny Goodman Orchestra at this time included drummer Gene Krupa, Harry James on trumpet, pianist Teddy Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton.[4] The strong reaction of the band's fans to its appearance in the film helped to convince Goodman to do the Carnegie Hall concert that had been suggested by his publicist, Wynn Nathanson. Goodman had been concerned that it would be perceived as a publicity stunt.[4]
  • Ted Healy is perhaps best known for creating the vaudeville act which later evolved into The Three Stooges. Hollywood Hotel was released in January 1938, less than a month after Healy's death, the cause of which is still a matter of debate today.[5][6][7][8]
  • Lola Lane, who plays Mona Marshall, and Rosemary Lane, who plays Marshall's stand-in, were sisters. Another sister, Priscilla Lane, was an even more successful film actress.[4]
  • Ronald Reagan makes his second film appearance in Hollywood Hotel, uncredited, as the radio host at a film premiere.
  • Both Carole Landis, as a hatcheck girl, and Susan Hayward, as a starlet, appear in the film uncredited. It was Hayward's film debut.[4]


Warner Bros. originally wanted Bette Davis to play both Mona Marshall and her stand-in, but Davis managed to convince them that it was not a good idea.[4]

The studio was sued by both the Campbell Soup Company, who sponsored the Hollywood Hotel radio program, and by the hotel itself, for using the name without authorization.[1] The Hollywood Hotel at its peak had attracted the royalty of Hollywood, such as Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, but it had fallen in prominence by the time this film was made. Some exteriors of the hotel appear in the films.[1] The hotel no longer exists, in its place is the Dolby Theatre, from where the Academy Awards presentations have originated since 2001.[4]


"Hooray for Hollywood" was nominated for the American Film Institute's 2004 list AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs,[9] while the movie was nominated for the 2006 list AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals.[10]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e "Notes" on
  2. ^ "Top Films and Stars". Variety. 4 January 1939. p. 10. Retrieved 18 March 2023.
  3. ^ Helfer, Andrew (author); Buccatello, Steve (artist); and Station, Joe (artist). Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography. Hill and Wang. p.22.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carr, Jay. "Hollywood Hotel (1938)" (article) on
  5. ^ "Police Drop Healy Probe". Prescott Evening Courier. December 22, 1937. p. 1. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  6. ^ "Foul Play Ruled Out In Ted Healy's Death". The Pittsburgh Press. December 22, 1937. p. 2. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  7. ^ Fleming, EJ: The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling, and the MGM Publicity Machine. New York: McFarland (2004). pp. 174-7. ISBN 978-0-7864-2027-8.
  8. ^ Braund, Simon (June 2010). "The Tragic And Twisted Tale Of The Three Stooges". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  9. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  10. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  • Green, Stanley (1999) Hollywood Musicals Year by Year (2nd ed.), pub. Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0-634-00765-3 page 78

External links

This page was last edited on 25 March 2023, at 22:09
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