Family Friendly Movies

What Price Hollywood?

What Price Hollywood? (1932) starring Constance Bennett, Lowell Sherman, Neil Hamilton, directed by George Cukor

In What Price Hollywood? a drunken director discovers an actress who goes on to become “America’s Pal”. She falls in love with a rich young man. but the director — and her career — pull them apart. After the director’s eventual suicide, her career falls apart as well.

Thoughts:

Cast of characters

  • Mary Evans (Constance Bennett, Merrily We Live). Brown Derby waitress, an aspiring actress, has an opportunity to meet drunken film director Max Carey when she serves him one night. And uses him to climb the rungs in Hollywood …
  • Max Carey (Lowell Sherman). The drunken director, who helps Mary with her career. Even as his life continues in a downhill, destructive spiral.
  • Lonny Borden (Neil Hamilton, Tarzan and His Mate, Batman). Wealthy polo player who convinces Mary to marry him. Against Julius and Max’s better judgment, of course. He becomes increasingly annoyed by the dedication of his movie star wife to her work, and finally walks out on her.
  • Julius Saxe (Gregory Ratoff, All About Eve). The producer who signs Mary to a contract after her (second) screen test, and tries to shepherd her career.
  • Bonita (Louise Beavers, Bullets or Ballots). Mary’s Maid.
  • James (Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, The Jack Benny Show, Broadway Rhythm). Max’s Butler

Songs

Lowell Sherman and Constance Bennett in What Price Hollywood?

Editorial review of What Price Hollywood? courtesy of Amazon.com

Sassy and ambitious waitress Mary Evans (Constance Bennett) amuses and befriends seldom-sober director Max Carey (Lowell Sherman), who stumbles into her restaurant. Max invites Mary to his film premiere and, after a night of drinking and carousing, Mary charms her way into a screen test and then a contract with a movie studio. Just as Mary finds her dreams coming true and her career on the upswing, Cary’s life and career begins its descent. A seldom-seen gem from the oeuvre of famed film director George Cukor, What Price Hollywood? Takes a shrewd, playful and pragmatic view of cinematic life from the other side of the camera, and created the blueprint from which all other “true-life Hollywood tell-alls” have been created, including A Star Is Born, in the 1954 version of which Cukor directed Judy Garland.

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