What Price Hollywood? – Not Bad for Being 85

Rating (3 out of 5)

Summary: This 1934 movie by director George Cukor, contains scenes you want to force modern directors to watch to learn. Your engaged immediately by the colorful interactions between the characters drawing the audience into the move. However, the movie rushed at the end, and the final few sections didn’t flow seamlessly.

Plot: A young woman, Mary Evans (Constance Bennett) works at the Brown Derby hoping to be discovered. One fateful night, director Max Carey (Lowell Sherman) comes to the restaurant and her rise begins. Mary struggles in her relationship with Lonny (Neil Hamilton) while Max fights alcoholism.

Detail: Some scenes from “What Price Hollywood?” are simply magical. The introduction scene at the Brown Derby is such classic 30’s Hollywood, and it fills with you joy. The introductions sets the stage well for the rest of the movie and the motivation for Mary.

In another scene, Mary gets her first break but flubs the first day. She returns home saddened by her performance, but determined to succeed she practices her one line over and over. A cute scene demonstrating her grit and determination, and you desire her to succeed. Naturally, she knocks it out of the park.

From there the movie is filled with a variety of scenes showing her rise. Snippet of her growth to a starlet; to paparazzi hunted; to mourner; the picture perfect Hollywood ending kiss. What is off about the movie is it becomes choppy as it moves from one issue to another and the choppiness results in an unfinished feel.

My other problem is the multiple focus. I liked the Max and the relationship (platonic) that he and Mary had. I wish the movie concentrated on their relationship more than the love between Mary and Lonny.

Constance Bennet and Lowell Sherman are outstanding. Easy to see why they both went on to make many more movies.

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