Hollywood Party (1934 film)

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Hollywood Party
Hollywood Party1934.jpg
theatrical poster
Produced by Louis B. Mayer
Irving Thalberg
Written by Howard Dietz
Arthur Kober
Starring Jimmy Durante
Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Jack Pearl
Polly Moran
Charles Butterworth
Eddie Quillan
June Clyde
Mickey Mouse (Voiced by Walt Disney, uncredited)
Lupe Vélez
George Givot
Richard Carle
Robert Young
Arthur Treacher
Joe E. Brown
Frances Williams
Ben Bard
Anna May Wong
Tom Kennedy
Ted Healy and His Stooges
Music by Irving Berlin
Harry Warren
Edited by George Boemler
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) June 1, 1934 (US)
Running time 68' 21"
Country United States
Language English

Hollywood Party (1934) is a musical film starring Jimmy Durante and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film is notable for several disconnected sequences that have little connection with each other. Each sequence featured a different star with a separate scriptwriter and director assigned, not unlike Paramount's If I Had a Million.

Plot[edit]

Jungle movie star 'Schnarzan' (Durante), a character in parody of 'Tarzan' (extremely popular at the time due to the Johnny Weissmuller films), is advised by his manager he needs new lions for his pictures, as his old ones are 'worn out'. At a wild Hollywood party with many varied guests, including a 'lion provider', hilarity ensues. After it all gets out of hand, Schnarzan awakens to find he is just plain old Durante, who had a strange dream.[1]

Laurel and Hardy with Lupe Vélez in a scene of the film.

Production background[edit]

During production the film was known as Star Spangled Banquet.[2] Although Hollywood Party has no director credited, it has been asserted that Allan Dwan, Edmund Goulding, Russell Mack, Charles Reisner, Roy Rowland and Sam Wood directed various scenes with the overwhelming majority directed by Richard Boleslavsky.[3] George Stevens directed the Laurel and Hardy sequence[4] and Dave Gould directed the "Feelin' High" dance number with choreography by Georgie Hale. Seymour Felix and Eddie Prinz directed final reshoots.[5][6] Around the MGM backlot, the choreographers of the dance sequences were competing with those staging the MGM film Dancing Lady, vying to see who could create the most elaborate dance number.[7]

The film had many sequences cut or reshot after several references proved too esoteric for foreign audiences. A sequence that had featured Mae West, Lupe Velez, Jimmy Durante and Zasu Pitts playing bridge was deleted after it was lost on British viewers not yet familiar with the game.[8] Further episodes that featured actors Herman Bing, Johnny Weissmuller and Max Baer were cut from the film. As a result, surviving prints run approximately 68 minutes, but the original run time was 75 minutes. Famed songwriters Rodgers and Hart contributed most of the music.[9] Gus Kahn wrote "Moonlight Serenade" for the 1933 Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade. However, when that song was cut from the Warner Brothers picture, it was placed a year later in Hollywood Party and sung by Eddie Quillan.[10]

As stated IMDb gives sole uncredited credit to Roy Rowland with just two scriptwriters, Howard Dietz and Arthur Kober, not a platoon of scriptwriters. Why would MGM give such a project to a young unknown director as Rowland? speculatively while not on record, Rowland may have been related to L. B. Mayer's old partner Richard A. Rowland from their Metro Pictures days before the formation of MGM. Howard Dietz himself had designed the famous Goldwyn Pictures studio Leo the Lion logo in 1916, which was retained by Mayer after the 1924 merger. The film has the entertaining but concerted mess aspects typical of a first time or inexperienced director. One would not think of the film as being the result of such seasoned stalwarts as Dwan, Goulding, Riesner, Wood or Boleslavsky.

The film was not a financial or critical success. It was considered too avant garde to appeal to a general audience. It remains significant today for its 31 stars, including Laurel and Hardy, radio celebrity Jack Pearl, The Three Stooges (in their final appearance for MGM), and Mickey Mouse. The Three Stooges routine was written by Arthur Kober.[11] The Mickey Mouse sequence introduces a Technicolor cartoon, "Hot Choc-late Soldiers", created by Walt Disney with music by Nacio Herb Brown, and lyrics by Arthur Freed.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/210/Hollywood-Party/
  2. ^ Variety, March 13, 1934
  3. ^ Variety, March 29, 1934
  4. ^ Variety, March 29, 1934
  5. ^ Variety, November 18, 1933
  6. ^ Variety, February 22, 1934
  7. ^ Variety, October 31, 1933
  8. ^ Variety, February 22, 1934
  9. ^ Variety, March 29, 1934
  10. ^ Variety, August 22, 1933
  11. ^ Variety, October 12, 1933
  12. ^ IMDB entry

External links[edit]