HOTEL (director: Richard Quine; screenwriters: Wendell Maves/from a novel by Arthur Hailey; cinematographer: Charles Lang; editor: Sam O’Steen; music: Johnny Keating; cast: Rod Taylor (Peter McDermott), Catherine Spaak (Jeanne Rochefort), Karl Malden (Keycase Milne), Melvyn Douglas (Warren Trent), Merle Oberon (The Duchess Caroline), Richard Conte (Detective Dupere), Michael Rennie (Geoffrey – Duke of Lanbourne), Kevin McCarthy (Curtis O’Keefe), Carmen McRae (Christine, torch singer), Alfred Ryder (Capt. Yolles); Runtime: 125; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Wendell Mayes; Warner Bros.; 1967)
“Well produced, old-fashioned drama.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Well produced, old-fashioned drama handsomely directed by Richard Quine (“Bell Book and Candle”/”The World of Suzie Wong”/”Sex and the Single Girl”), the actor turned director. It’s based on the best-selling 1965 novel by Arthur Hailey, and is adeptly written by Wendell Maves. It was shot both on location in New Orleans and at the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, California.
The hotel in question is the respectable posh tasteful St. Gregory Hotel in New Orleans, owned for a long time by the cultured but bigoted Warren Trent (Melvyn Douglas). It’s suffering from big financial problems and because of that might be taken over by a bland uncaring modernized hotel chain run by the hardened businessman Curtis O’Keefe (Kevin McCarthy). Trent accepts the advice of his shrewd loyal manager, Peter McDermott (Rod Taylor), and manages to get union backing.
When O’Keefe creates an incident that has a Negro couple not given a room by the hotel, even though the couple were shown to be paid for that service by O’Keefe, the union withdraws its support. The drama also creates a series of incidents in the hotel, such as the Duke of Lanbourne (Michael Rennie), the expected next British Ambassador to the United States, killing a child while drunk in a hit-and-run accident and is being blackmailed for $25,000 by the sleazy hotel detective Dupere (Richard Conte). To add a soap opera flavoring, McDermott has an affair going with O’Keefe’s sultry French mistress, Jeanne (Catherine Spaak). There’s also the problem over Keycase Milne, a comical burglar, trying to burglarize the joint.
All the problems are neatly solved by the end of the third act, which is nice if you can go along fully with such a morally acceptable contrived happy ending. It tries to be a less than grand Grand Hotel, and while fulfilling that aim also succeeds in being entertaining and filled with good performances.
The filmwas the inspiration for a successful television series, also called Hotel, which ran from 1983-1988..
REVIEWED ON 9/2/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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