The Hollywood Knights
|The Hollywood Knights|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Floyd Mutrux|
|Cinematography||William A. Fraker|
Stanford C. Allen|
Danford B. Greene (sup)
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Budget||$2.5 million (est.)|
|Box office||$10,000,000 (domestic)|
The Hollywood Knights is a 1980 American comedy film 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 Newbaum Turk, features Tony Danza and Michelle Pfeiffer as high school sweethearts as well as Fran Drescher and Stuart Pankin in supporting roles.
It is also the inaugural film credit of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, a British studio that aimed to compete with Hollywood.
On Halloween night in 1965, a group of high school pranksters – the Hollywood Knights – are 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. In response, they launch a sustained and comically vengeful campaign against the principals of the association and two bumbling local police officers charged with keeping "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, an affair between 2 of the members of the association, several impromptu drag races, and the lead character of Newbomb Turk (Robert Wuhl) wearing a Majo Domo 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." The film concludes with The character of Jimmy headed off to join the Army and more than likely headed for Vietnam. When Jimmy's girlfriend arrives to pick him up, the viewer is led to wonder if others from the group will soon be drafted. The troubled couples come together in spite of themselves. The Pledges arrive safely and are accepted as new Knights and Dudley the nerd, having helped the Knights reluctantly all evening, is inducted into the group and secures a romantic interlude with a girl. An amusing theme song accompanies the film's credits.
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.
- 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.
- Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood, Ohio named a sandwich The Newbomb Turkey Club in honor of the film's protagonist.