The Hollywood Knights
|The Hollywood Knights|
theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Floyd Mutrux|
|Produced by||William Tennant
|Written by||Floyd Mutrux
|Cinematography||William A. Fraker|
|Edited by||Stanford C. Allen
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Budget||$2.5 million (est.)|
|Box office||$10,000,000 (domestic)|
The Hollywood Knights (1980) is an American motion picture comedy written and directed by Floyd Mutrux depicting the crass and mischievous antics and practical jokes of the remaining members of a 1950s-era car club turned social fraternity in and around Beverly Hills and Hollywood in 1965. The cast, led by Robert Wuhl as the fraternity's charismatic leader Newbomb Turk, features Tony Danza and a young Michelle Pfeiffer as high school sweethearts as well as Fran Drescher and Stuart Pankin in supporting roles.
On Halloween night in 1965, a group of high school pranksters – the Hollywood Knights – enraged by the Beverly Hills Residents' Association's success in arranging for the shutdown and demolition of their favorite hangout, "Tubby's Drive-In" diner, which is to be replaced by an office building, launch a sustained and comically vengeful campaign against the principals of the association and two bumbling local police officers charged with keeping the "The Knights" in check during their last night in Beverly Hills. The ensuing antics include, among other things, a sexual encounter involving premature ejaculation, a punch bowl being "spiked" with urine, an initiation ceremony involving four pledges who are left in Watts wearing nothing but the car tires they are left to carry, a cheerleader who forgets to put on her underwear before performing at a pep rally, several impromptu drag races, and the lead character of Newbomb Turk (Robert Wuhl) wearing a majordomo outfit and singing a version of 'Volare' accompanied by the sounds of flatulence. "Mooning" also plays a prominent role in the film: one of the advertising slogans exploited the recent Apollo space program by touting that The Hollywood Knights was the first movie "to moon a man on the land." During a mooning incident in the film's final scene, the character Dudley Laywicker, becomes absolutely "all eyes", transfixed by the bare buttocks. So much so, that he takes his glasses off for a better look.
Director Floyd Mutrux revealed on the audio commentary of the Columbia DVD release that he was at one point going to direct Urban Cowboy (1980), and that he would have been likely to cast Michelle Pfeiffer in the role of Sissy. The producer of that film, Robert Evans, also preferred Pfeiffer, but the eventual director, James Bridges, refused to cast anyone but Debra Winger in the part.
- Tony Danza was noted for having played dimwitted boxer Tony Banta on the television sitcom Taxi since 1978, but he had not appeared in a feature film prior to this production.
- The lead role of Newbomb Turk was former stand-up comic Robert Wuhl's first film performance, and he would later win two Emmy Awards in the category of 'Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Program' for his collaboration with Billy Crystal on the script of the 63rd and 64th Academy Awards ceremonies.
- Fran Drescher had appeared in small roles in Saturday Night Fever (1977) and American Hot Wax (1978) prior to this film, but she would not establish herself fully until her successful television sitcom The Nanny (1993) aired on CBS. She was nominated for two Golden Globes and two Emmys for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.
- The only actor in The Hollywood Knights who went on to a long and successful career in cinema was Michelle Pfeiffer, who went on to earn three Academy Award nominations and a host of other acting awards for her roles in Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and Love Field (1992).
- The movie built a cult-like following during the 1980s due to repeated late-night airings on HBO.
- The Columbus, Ohio band New Bomb Turks took their name from the film's protagonist.