|Van Johnson, Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, and Walter Pidgeon head a solid of
MGM favorites in 1945’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”
MGM’s all-star confection, Weekend on the Waldorf, was launched the
fall of 1945, on the finish of WWII. However it was filmed practically a yr earlier, when
the warfare was nonetheless raging. Weekend is
MGM in full dream manufacturing facility mode. Every storyline is a want achievement for its
characters, and by extension, the period’s movie followers.
Moviegoers ate up Weekend
on the Waldorf like an all you may eat buffet. The remake of 1932’s Grand Resort was a smash and the most important
film of Ginger Rogers’ profession, and after Peyton
Place, Lana Turner’s, too. Weekend was
within the high ten grossing films of 1945.
|Metro’s 1945 “Weekend on the Waldorf” was a field workplace smash.|
So far as Vicki Baum’s unique novel or the ’32 movie
basic is anxious, Weekend on the
Waldorf bears little resemblance to both works. The ’45 remake is about in
a luxurious lodge and there’s some naked bones character equivalents. Greta Garbo’s
ballerina is now a movie star—drained, however not suicidal; Joan Crawford’s
stenographer continues to be one, however far softer. Essentially the most notable factor is that the
movie now not takes place in Germany, and could be very Americanized for WWII
|Ginger Rogers as a overworked film star & Walter Pidgeon as a weary
warfare correspondent fall for one another in MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”
Ginger Rogers is Irene
Malvern, an overworked film star who has a Hepburn/Tracy-style romance with
warfare correspondent Chip Collyer (Walter Pidgeon). This made me marvel why MGM
simply didn’t solid Metro stars Kate and Spence because the bickering duo—too fluffy
for these tremendous thespians? Or why they borrowed Ginger once they might have re-teamed
their high star Greer Garson with Pidgeon. Scheduling points, I’m certain, as
movie-making was hitting its peak.
|Lana Turner is the lodge stenographer with a delicate spot for soldier Van Johnson in MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
Lana Turner is Bunny
Smith, the stenographer who makes injured soldier Jim Hollis’ desires come true.
Although in search of a wealthy man, this Bunny appears extra cuddly than calculating.
This ’45 Weekend is sentimentally sanitized
on this method all through. Additionally, the soldier (Van Johnson) takes a useless soldier
buddy’s tune to Waldorf’s resident star attraction, Xavier Cugat, who immediately
decides to carry out it the subsequent evening on his radio present.
Phyllis Thaxter is the
bride-to-be in Weekend on the Waldorf,
who wonders if physician fiancé Warner Anderson continues to be caught on his childhood
sweetheart, Ginger’s film star. In fact not, movie followers! However this results in
contrived misunderstandings that drive this film—and is true of all the
subplots in Weekend.
A younger couple needs
to honeymoon on the booked Waldorf, when a kindly millionaire who simply occurs
to be on the check-in desk lets the soldier and bride take over his suite for
the weekend. It’s that sort of MGM film!
|The honeymooners desire a suite in MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
Weekend on the Waldorf boasts a little bit of location capturing from NYC,
the remaining was performed deluxe model at MGM. In fact, Metro quickly recycled the
lavish units for Hedy Lamarr’s Her
Highness and the Bellboy.
|Ginger Rogers sports activities some elaborate ‘dos in MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
|“Weekend on the Waldorf:” Leon Ames, reacting to Ginger Roger’s traces or hair ‘do?|
Sydney Guilaroff and
crew should have labored time beyond regulation on Ginger’s locks and falls. All that hair for a
Weekend on the Waldorf! Ginger’s a
bit grand because the film star, however for Rogers, comparatively restrained. Though
Rogers’ total look is a bit a lot, it’s toned down in comparison with what would quickly
come: blinding platinum blonde and an overdrawn make-up masks. Weekend would even be one in every of Rogers’
final mega hits. The following one got here from MGM as nicely, taking up for Judy
Garland in 1949’s The Barkleys of
Broadway, and reuniting her with Fred Astaire.
|The softer aspect of Lana Turner, as Bunny Smith in MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
Lana’s very candy and
heat as Bunny; Turner’s early roles like this present what made audiences initially
fall in love along with her. Except for good hair and make-up, Lana’s merely
dressed and performs merely and believably, as nicely. There’s a genuinely
touching scene, the place Van Johnson’s soldier involves Bunny’s stenographer to
assist him write a will. Lana’s responses to Van’s subtly performed soldier, who has
few household or associates, are most affecting.
|Lana Turner’s stenographer helps soldier Van Johnson write his will in a
touching scene from MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”
Like Ginger, Lana’s hair-do
seems prefer it was constructed! The hair-don’t ages her total look, as she was
simply 24 on the time. Fortunately, the brilliant, delicate lighting tones the ‘do down a
|The younger stars of “Weekend on the Waldorf” look extra interesting within the movie than this p.r. picture. Van Johnson’s freckles have all been airbrushed. Lana Turner’s
hair and make-up is so matronly right here, she was solely 24!
MGM had a historical past of
pedaling Metro’s feminine stars backstories into their personas: Joan, Lana, and
Judy on the working class aspect, and likewise their British lasses, Greer, Deborah,
and Liz. Like Joan earlier than her, Lana’s working class roots are blended into her
character’s need to maneuver upwardly in life.
|Lana Turner as Bunny Smith & Van Johnson as Jimmy Hollis in “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
Van Johnson, because the
soldier with each shrapnel and Lana near his coronary heart, could be very interesting in
his boyish youth—and I am not even a Van fan. Johnson was one in every of Metro’s many
all-round gifted gamers: Van might sing and dance decently, had a aptitude for
comedy, and could possibly be a really pure dramatic actor. Right here, as Jimmy Hollis,
Van’s fatalistic soldier is sympathetic, not maudlin.
|Walter Pidgeon, Ginger Rogers, a stellar view in 1945’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
Walter Pidgeon is
livelier than common, as a seen-it-all warfare journalist. Pidgeon has an amused
rapport with Ginger’s brittle film star. I did not acknowledge Warner Anderson’s
doc at first, however the minute I heard him converse—Matthew Swain from TV’s Peyton Place! Anderson is a stable display
presence, providing recommendation to childhood pal Ginger, providing a second opinion to
soldier Van, and a gradual Eddy to his insecure bride-to-be.
On the debit aspect have been
these following actors, simply my preferences, of us. Edward Arnold performs the
glad-handing villain as soon as once more, however by no means appears as threatening, simply smarmy.
Keenan Wynn at all times provides me the creeps, like he’s attempting to cover that he’s
loopy. When Wynn performs comedy, he’s very heavy-handed, as in his “drunk” scene in
The Clock. Right here, because the cub reporter,
Wynn’s borderline obnoxious. Xavier Cugat is an acquired style as nicely—in the event you
get pleasure from bombastic, you’ll love him. And Robert Benchley’s a kind of nice personalities
of the period whose enchantment I’ve by no means understood, very like Oscar Levant, Monty
Woolley, or Hoagy Carmichael. Their charms are misplaced on me.
|MGM’s all-star solid aren’t simply phoning it in with MGM’s “Weekend on the Waldorf.”|
In case you are within the temper
for excellent escapism and star watching, that is maybe MGM’s greatest and greatest
instance from the WWII period. There’s additionally nostalgia for New York Metropolis, the
Waldorf Astoria, and the sense of a quickly altering period. If any of those
causes enchantment to you, Weekend on the
Waldorf is a good place to test in.
Right here’s my have a look at one in every of
4 1941 films that cemented the stardom of Lana Turner, Ziegfeld Lady:
Right here’s my tackle a
dramatic musical that was an enormous wartime hit for Ginger Rogers, Woman within the Darkish:
|This robe’s sash make Ginger Rogers appear like Rapunzel in 1945’s “Weekend on the Waldorf!”|