Musical Monday: Hollywood Party (1934)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Hollywood Party (1934) – Musical #587

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Several directors worked on this film and were uncredited: Richard Boleslawski, Allan Dwan, Edmund Goulding, Russell Mack, Charles Reisner, Roy Rowland, George Stevens and Sam Wood

Starring:
Jimmy Durante, Lupe Velez, Jack Pearl, Polly Moran, Charles Butterworth, Eddie Quillan, June Clyde, George Givot, Richard Carle, Tom Kennedy, Irene Hervey (uncredited), Curly Howard (uncredited), Moe Howard (uncredited),
As themselves: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mickey Mouse (animated and voiced by Walt Disney), Robert Young (uncredited)

Plot:
Jimmy Durante (himself) plays a matinée idol who is popular for his “Schnarzan” jungle films. But the Liondora jungle films (Givot) threaten his popularity. To help out his films, Schnarzan feels he needs real lions in his films because his are “worn out.” Baron Munchausen (Pearl) is coming to town with real, man-eating lions, so Durante throws a wild, lavish Hollywood party to impress the Baron and get the lions.

Trivia:
-Eight directors were involved in this film, including: Richard Boleslawski, Allan Dwan, Edmund Goulding, Russell Mack, Charles Reisner, Roy Rowland, George Stevens and Sam Wood.
-Mickey Mouse makes an appearance during an animated series, which is in Technicolor
-Originally planned to mirror the all-star review of “Hollywood Revue of 1929” and was going to be titled “Hollywood Revue of 1933.” All stars on the MGM payroll were going to be cast. Stars like Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, and Johnny Weissmuller were announced to be in the cast. However, Jean Harlow was cast in another project and the film was altered, according to Lupe Velez: The Life and Career of Hollywood’s “Mexican Spitfire” by Michelle Vogel
-Curly Howard and Moe Howard are uncredited as autograph seekers
-Robert Young is uncredited as a radio announcer
-Cinematography by James Wong Howe
-Costumes by Adrian

Jimmy Durante as Schnarzan and Lupe Velez as the Jaguar Woman in Hollywood Party

Highlights:
-Mickey Mouse in the film interacting with Jimmy Durante
-The music numbers
-The design of the home

Notable Songs:
-“Hollywood Party” performed by Frances Williams and chorus
-“Feelin’ High” performed by The King’s Men, Arthur Jarrett Shirley Ross and Harry Barris
-“I’ve Had My Moments” performed by Eddie Quillan and June Clyde

My review:
Similar to the party portrayed in this film, this movie is a crazy mess. But … it’s also strangely appealing. The plot is thin and zany and the party is over-the-top.

This musical is perhaps as 1930s as you can get: an all-star cast of MGM comedians with extremely lavish musical numbers and outlandish costumes.

Jimmy Durante and Mickey Mouse in “Hollywood Party.”

And despite the disjointed oddity of this film (I mean look it wasn’t even directed by just one or two people), I genuinely enjoyed watching this movie. There were several funny parts that made me laugh, especially the ridiculous of Schnarzan. Some of the songs are also very catchy. The Lorenz-Hart tune “Hollywood Party” is the highlight of the whole film. The number shows telephone operators in crazy outfits taking phone calls of eager attendees of the Hollywood party.

This initially was going to mirror the all-star review of “Hollywood Revue of 1929” and was going to be titled “Hollywood Revue of 1933.” Stars like Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, and Johnny Weissmuller were announced to be in the cast. This would have been very cool to see, but this film is also an interesting Hollywood tidbit.

While “Hollywood Party” isn’t a well-known or well-planned musical. It’s fun and entertaining to see the various comedy stars … and a cameo from Mickey Mouse! And when you watch it, be prepared for the song “Hollywood Party” to stay in your head for days.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

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