Weekend at the Waldorf

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WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF ,a showy, MGM-sleek reworking of Grand Hotel, was balm for audiences in the fall of 1945; the war over, the now-what? national mood in need of some light at the end of tunnels that would soon darken. Grossing $6,164,000, it came in 6th place, easily cushioning producer Arthur Hornblow Jr. and director Robert Z. Leonard from any L.B. Mayer grief over the $2,561,000 expenditure on stars, sixty sets and 130 minutes of plush comedy-drama (with plenty of music).

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Paths cross at the famed New York landmark. Romance blooms for those in need (just like real life), a good-hearted jewel thief reforms (don’t they always?), shady swindlers get nabbed (trying to con a visiting sheik out of oil money–now that’s a good one). Easy enough to take, with typical studio finesse in the production—-‘costumes by Irene’, art direction from Cedric Gibbons—and some swank musical numbers from Xavier Cugat, including a Salute to Good Neighbor Policy number with “Guadalajara”. weekend at the waldorf 2

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Stars are Ginger Rogers (very good), Walter Pidgeon (I don’t buy him as a suave, suggestive jewel thief), Van Johnson (likable) and Lana Turner (not bad). Backing them up: Edward Arnold, Robert Benchley, Keenan Wynn, Phyllis Thaxter, Leon Ames.

With Lina Romay, Samuel S. Hinds, George Zucco, Porter Hall, Frank Puglia, Rosemary DeCamp and John Wengraf. One-time silent star May McAvoy has an uncredited bit: her family had owned a livery stable where the Waldorf would end up being built.

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