Hollywood Party


1h 10m 1934
Hollywood Party

Brief Synopsis

A movie star's gala celebration creates chaos.

Film Details

Also Known As
Star Spangled Banquet, The Hollywood Revue of 1933
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jun 1, 1934
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 24 May 1934
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Knapp, the manager of jungle movie star Schnarzan, complains to a theater manager when, following a showing of Queen Christina , the trailer for the latest Schnarzan film is not well-received. The manager advises Knapp that the public is sick of Schnarzan's moth-eaten lions, and that the "soon-to-be has-been" had better get new lions if he wants to be king of the jungle once again. Buddy Goldfarb, the manager of Liondora, the actor who is Schnarzan's main competitor, is also told by the theater manager that his meal ticket will soon be standing in the bread lines without new lions to spice up his act. Knapp goes to Schnarzan's opulent mansion and tells the actor that Baron Munchausen, a famous explorer, will soon be arriving in town with his latest shipment of wild animals, including some fabulous lions. Knapp convinces Schnarzan to throw a huge party for the baron and buy the lions before Goldfarb and Liondora get them. As the invitations are distributed for what promises to be the party of the year, Lupe Velez, who plays "The Jaquar Woman" in Schnarzan's films, is furious that she has not been invited to the party. When she calls, Schnarzan complains that she is too rough and hot-tempered, and hangs up on her. On the night of the party, Oklahoma multimillionaire Harvey Clemp, his wife Henrietta and their niece Linda prepare to attend. On the way, Linda meets and flirts with a young man named Bob, while the Clemps are taken in by the suave Liondora, who is crashing the party disguised as a European aristocrat. A multitude of guests pour in and soon the festivities are in full swing. Munchausen arrives and presents Schnarzan with a gorilla, while Henrietta is pursued by Liondora, and Harvey flirts with Lupe, who has crashed the party. Bob and Linda sing together and are oblivious to all else as Jimmy tangles with Mickey Mouse and Liondora persuades Harvey to buy the lions for him. Meanwhile, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrive and try to convince Beavers, the doorman, that they need to see the baron, who purchased their lions with a check for 50,000 tiddlywinks. Stan and Ollie finally succeed in getting into the mansion, and while they are engaged in an egg-smashing contest with Lupe, Schnarzan romances Henrietta and promises her movie stardom if she gets Harvey to give him the lions. Stan and Ollie inadvertently let one of the lions loose, and the terrified guests flee the party. Schnarzan, mistaking the lion for one of his rugs, battles the animal to impress Henrietta and knocks himself out. When he regains consciousness, he is plain, old Jimmy Durante, who fell asleep while reading Tarzan the Untamed by Edgar Rice Burroughs. As he realizes that he was dreaming, his wife comes in and tells him to hurry or else they will be late for Lupe's big party.

Film Details

Also Known As
Star Spangled Banquet, The Hollywood Revue of 1933
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jun 1, 1934
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 24 May 1934
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

Hollywood Party


The inimitable Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy make guest appearances as owners of a lion farm in MGM's Hollywood Party (1934), a spoof of Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan movies with Jimmy Durante cast as an unlikely jungle-film star billed as 'The Great Schnarzan.' The problem, it seems, is that box office is falling off for Schnarzan's movies because the lions that play supporting roles have grown lethargic. Schnarzan plots to buy some livelier lions from Baron Munchausen (Jack Pearl, who played the role on radio) and throws a lavish party in the Baron's honor in hopes of getting a bargain.

Lupe Velez, then Weissmuller's wife, plays Schnarzan's troublesome ex-girlfriend, kidding Maureen O'Sullivan's "Jane" by showing up at the party in an ultra-revealing costume. (O'Sullivan was notorious at the time for her brief attire in the Tarzan series.) Robert Young pops in as himself. Laurel and Hardy's appearance involves an egg-breaking sequence performed with Lupe that is considered a classic. Also contributing to the fun are an unbilled bit by the Three Stooges as autograph seekers and a Technicolor cartoon spoof from Walt Disney, introduced by Mickey Mouse, titled The Hot Chocolate Soldiers. Despite it's Disney credentials, the latter cartoon is a wild animated fantasy full of the most over-the-top phallic imagery from gingerbread men ramming the walls of a candy castle with chocolate logs to exploding custard eclairs to an orgiastic climax where everything gets covered in hot melted chocolate. Yikes! How did this get past the censors?

Although only 70 minutes long, Hollywood Party also includes eight musical numbers. Among them are the title tune written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and performed at the film's opening by Frances Williams and a chorus of scantily clad telephone operators; "Hello," another Rodgers and Hart tune performed by Durante and Pearl with the chorus; and Durante's signature "Inka Dinka Doo."

Originally planned as an all-star musical to be called The Hollywood Revue of 1933, Hollywood Party went through seven writers (five un-credited) and five directors (none credited) as it was refashioned into a vehicle for Durante. The final director, silent-screen pioneer Alan Dwan, considered the film's goofy plot and disparate elements "a nightmare" and was inspired to use a trick ending. In a gimmick famously repeated many years later on TV's Dallas, Durante is awakened (by his real-life wife) to realize he has dreamed the whole outrageous thing!

Producers: Howard Dietz, Harry Rapf
Director: Richard Boleslawski, Allan Dwan, Edmund Goulding, Russell Mack, Charles Reisner, George Stevens, Sam Wood (all uncredited)
Screenplay: Howard Dietz, Arthur Kober
Art Direction: Fredric Hope
Cinematography: James Wong Howe
Costume Design: Adrian
Editing: George Boemler
Original Music: Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart, Nacio Herb Brown, Walter Donaldson, William Axt (incidental music, uncredited)
Principal Cast: Jimmy Durante (Schnarzan), Lupe Velez (Herself/Jaguar Woman), Jack Pearl (Baron Munchausen), Charles Butterworth (Harvey Clemp), Polly Moran (Henrietta Clemp), Eddie Quillan (Bob), Stan Laurel (Himself), Oliver Hardy (Himself).
BW-69m.

By Roger Fristoe

Hollywood Party

Hollywood Party

The inimitable Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy make guest appearances as owners of a lion farm in MGM's Hollywood Party (1934), a spoof of Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan movies with Jimmy Durante cast as an unlikely jungle-film star billed as 'The Great Schnarzan.' The problem, it seems, is that box office is falling off for Schnarzan's movies because the lions that play supporting roles have grown lethargic. Schnarzan plots to buy some livelier lions from Baron Munchausen (Jack Pearl, who played the role on radio) and throws a lavish party in the Baron's honor in hopes of getting a bargain. Lupe Velez, then Weissmuller's wife, plays Schnarzan's troublesome ex-girlfriend, kidding Maureen O'Sullivan's "Jane" by showing up at the party in an ultra-revealing costume. (O'Sullivan was notorious at the time for her brief attire in the Tarzan series.) Robert Young pops in as himself. Laurel and Hardy's appearance involves an egg-breaking sequence performed with Lupe that is considered a classic. Also contributing to the fun are an unbilled bit by the Three Stooges as autograph seekers and a Technicolor cartoon spoof from Walt Disney, introduced by Mickey Mouse, titled The Hot Chocolate Soldiers. Despite it's Disney credentials, the latter cartoon is a wild animated fantasy full of the most over-the-top phallic imagery from gingerbread men ramming the walls of a candy castle with chocolate logs to exploding custard eclairs to an orgiastic climax where everything gets covered in hot melted chocolate. Yikes! How did this get past the censors? Although only 70 minutes long, Hollywood Party also includes eight musical numbers. Among them are the title tune written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and performed at the film's opening by Frances Williams and a chorus of scantily clad telephone operators; "Hello," another Rodgers and Hart tune performed by Durante and Pearl with the chorus; and Durante's signature "Inka Dinka Doo." Originally planned as an all-star musical to be called The Hollywood Revue of 1933, Hollywood Party went through seven writers (five un-credited) and five directors (none credited) as it was refashioned into a vehicle for Durante. The final director, silent-screen pioneer Alan Dwan, considered the film's goofy plot and disparate elements "a nightmare" and was inspired to use a trick ending. In a gimmick famously repeated many years later on TV's Dallas, Durante is awakened (by his real-life wife) to realize he has dreamed the whole outrageous thing! Producers: Howard Dietz, Harry Rapf Director: Richard Boleslawski, Allan Dwan, Edmund Goulding, Russell Mack, Charles Reisner, George Stevens, Sam Wood (all uncredited) Screenplay: Howard Dietz, Arthur Kober Art Direction: Fredric Hope Cinematography: James Wong Howe Costume Design: Adrian Editing: George Boemler Original Music: Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart, Nacio Herb Brown, Walter Donaldson, William Axt (incidental music, uncredited) Principal Cast: Jimmy Durante (Schnarzan), Lupe Velez (Herself/Jaguar Woman), Jack Pearl (Baron Munchausen), Charles Butterworth (Harvey Clemp), Polly Moran (Henrietta Clemp), Eddie Quillan (Bob), Stan Laurel (Himself), Oliver Hardy (Himself). BW-69m. By Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was The Hollywood Revue of 1933. According to a March 6, 1934 Daily Variety news item, the title was briefly changed to Star Spangled Banquet. The picture was intended as a follow-up to M-G-M's The Hollywood Revue of 1929, which was also produced by Harry Rapf (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.2553). Although no director is listed in the onscreen credits, contemporary sources indicate that Allan Dwan, Richard Boleslawski, George Stevens and Charles Riesner directed different sections of the film. Boleslawski was assigned to the film in mid-August 1933, and a October 4, 1933 Film Daily news item pointed out that Stevens was handling the comedy sequences. Dwan was engaged in mid-January 1934 to direct additional sequences, and Reisner was assigned in early March 1934 to finish the film. Other directors listed by contemporary sources were Edmund Goulding (who, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item, resigned because he "knew nothing about the handling of low comedy") and Russell Mack. Their participation in the completed film has not been confirmed, however. According to modern sources, Roy Rowland was also one of the film's uncredited directors, while Alexander Leftwich, who was assigned to direct, was taken off the film before production began.
       Goulding and Reisner were also among the many writers listed by contemporary sources as contributing to the film's screenplay. Some of the other writers and songwriters listed in contemporary news items and company records located at the USC Cinema-Television library are: Ritchie Craig, Jr, Clarence Hennecke, Henry Myers, Harvey Gates, Robert Hopkins and Bert Green. Modern sources credit Edgar Allan Woolf with the original story and Herbert Fields with dialogue. The contribution of these writers to the final script has not been confirmed.
       Contemporary news items and company records listed a wide variety of actors and actresses who were to appear in the film, although they were not in the completed picture. Among them were: Joan Crawford (who was to appear in a production number entitled "Black Diamond," about a light-skinned black woman who attempts to pass for white), Jean Harlow (who was to play a hotel night operator), Johnny Weissmuller (who was to appear with a swimming chorus), Frank Morgan, Buddy Rogers, Marie Dressler, Ed Wynn, Lee Tracy and Nils Asther. Among those whose participation in the completed picture has not been confirmed are: The Albertina Rasch Ballet, Mary Carlisle, Florine McKinney, Muriel Evans, Marcia Ralston, Jean Howard, Ruth Channing, Margaret McConnell, Martha Sleeper, Dorothy Short, Agnes Anderson, Pauline Brooks, Linda Parker, Jean Parker, David Landau, Russell Hardie, Herman Bing and Max Baer. Jack Pearl played "Baron Munchausen" in another 1934 M-G-M film, Meet the Baron (see below). According to a April 23, 1934 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was re-edited following a preview in Atlanta. According to another Hollywood Reporter news item, Hollywood Party was banned in Germany.
       Although Mickey Mouse had briefly appeared in the 1933 Fox film My Lips Betray (see below), this was the first feature film for which Disney created new animation of Mickey. In the picture, Mickey appears in a live-action sequence with Jimmy Durante and introduces "Hot Chocolate Soldiers," which was done in the style of a Disney Silly Symphony cartoon. According to a modern source, the animated portions were deleted, and Disney's name blacked out of the onscreen credits, when M-G-M released the film to television because Disney retained the television rights. In 1992, however, Turner Entertainment released Hollywood Party on video in a version that does contain the animated sequences and Disney's credit. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the picture's original ending was set in a nudist camp, but protests from state censor boards prompted M-G-M to furnish the ending described above, which was in the print viewed. No other information about the nudist camp sequences has been found.
       Modern sources note that Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote several songs that were not included in the completed film. One of them, "Prayer," was to be sung by Jean Harlow. Its lyrics were later rewritten and the song was retitled "Manhattan Melodrama," and then "The Bad in Ev'ry Man," the title under which it was included in the 1934 Cosmopolitan production Manhattan Melodrama (see below). The lyrics were rewritten once again and the song was finally titled "Blue Moon." In 1983, an English record label produced and released an album of some of the Rodgers and Hart songs written for, but not included in, Hollywood Party.
       Modern sources include the following actors in the cast: Rychard Cramer and Nora Cecil (Scientific pedants); Baldwin Cooke (Doorman); Sidney Bracy (Butler); Irene Hervey (Showgirl); Frank Austin (Party guest); Ray Cooke (Theater patron); Ernie Alexander (Servant at the party); and Bess Flowers. Modern sources also state that Walt Disney provided the voice of Mickey Mouse.