Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Price Hollywood? (1932).

What Price Hollywood?(1932). Drama directed by George Cukor. The screenplay by Gene Fowler, Rowland Brown, Ben Markson, and Jane Murfin is based on a story by Adela Rogers St. Johns. Cast: Constance Bennett, Lowell Sherman, Neil Hamilton, Gregory Ratoff, Brooks Benedict, Louise Beavers.

While working at Hollywood's Brown Derby, waitress Mary Evans, waits on the alcoholic film director, Maximillan "Max" Carey. Charmed by her wit he invites her to the premiere of his latest film, which is being shown at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and then they hit the town to celebrate.

The next morning, Mary talks Max into giving her a walk-on part in his film, but her performance does not go well and she is fired. That night, Mary practices at home until she is ready to try again for the part.

The next day, she gives a fabulous performance and is signed to a seven-year studio contract. While visiting the Santa Barbara Polo Field, Mary, now a famous movie star, meets Lonny Borden, a millionaire from the east. Mary and Lonny, marry in an elaborate, much publicized ceremony, but Mary's Hollywood career soon takes it's toll on their marriage.

Heartbroken, now that Carey has lost Mary, he drinks until he is forced out of his work in film. One night, he finally shows up drunk in Mary's bedroom, Lonny misunderstands and files for divorce.

Now alone, Mary gives birth to Lonny's son but refuses to allow Lonny to see the baby. After Mary bails an intoxicated Carey out of jail, Carey commits suicide. Her career ruined by the scandal  she moves to France. Will Lonny ever learn the truth and be reunited with Mary and their son?

I really wanted to see this film because of actress Constance Bennett, who plays the starstruck waitress at the Brown Derby and I also wanted to see the world premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater. It really is a fun film.. (I'm watching What Price Hollywood? while writing this review)..

Lowell Sherman (October 11, 1885, San Francisco, California –  December 28, 1934). Lowell began his career playing playboys or villains in films such as, Way Down East (1920), Molly O' (1921), Ladies of Leisure (1930), and What Price Hollywood? (1932).

His directing credits include: The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932) with Joan Blondell, She Done Him Wrong (1933) with Mae West, Morning Glory (1933) with Katharine Hepburn, and Broadway Through a Keyhole (1933) with Russ Columbo.

He was married three times: to Evelyn Booth (1915–22), Pauline Garon (1926–30) and to actress Helene Costello (1930–32), younger sister of Dolores Costello. Lowell died three days after Christmas 1934 from pneumonia, aged 49, shortly after starting the filming of Becky Sharp (RKO, 1935) which was completed by Rouben Mamoulian.


  1. Dawn,
    On paper this film's story line sounds a lot like A Star Is Born but luckily it has it's own identity.

    Anxious to see if you liked it. It's always fun to see iconic Hollywood landmarks like The Brown Derby, Grauman's (also seen in The Star Is Born).

    All in all its a decent film and you can't beat pre-code Constance!

  2. Page, The classic film, A Star Is Born, followed right after this classic.. So, you must be on to something.. :)

    I did enjoy this film very much, not one slow scene. One thing I did not mention in my review is.. I think Maximillan "Max" Carey, might be gay.

    I would give this film a "B". A must see for any Constance Bennett fan.

  3. Loved this film. It was the inspiration for A Star is Born if I'm not mistaken. I find the Constance Bennett character more believable than the Vicki Lester in many respects. Perhaps it is because Janet Gaynor and Judy Garland were a bit too old for the part. Whereas, Constance Bennett's character has been trying for several years to be discovered, so her age seems appropriate.

  4. Gilby, The film, What Price Hollywood?, seems like one of those films that gets better with each viewing..


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