Hotel Film Details
Overview: A historical New Orleans hotel struggles to financially survive while the dramas of its various guests unfold.
Tagline: Warner Bros. unlocks all the doors of the sensation-filled best-seller!
Review: This is one of those multi-narrative, all-star movies about diverse people being their dynamic selves in a vast enclosed space, missing only Max von Sydow as the resident psychiatrist. And, man, this is one grand hotel — the St. Gregory in New Orleans, where twelve presidents have stayed. It’s huge, it’s rococo, it’s prohibitively expensive except for presidents, people on expense accounts, CEOs of major corporations, and my plumber, Dan. But there’s a rub. The St. Gregory may be the ne plus ultra of elegance but it’s old fashioned and it’s losing money. The crusty owner of the place, Douglas, refuses to change. He’s stuck in the eternal zugzwang. He’s known all his employees for years, he likes the marble pillars and the over-sized fountain in the lobby, and he endorses his policy of segregation. He doesn’t understand all this new stuff, “unions, civil rights, indoor baseball — MOTELS.” His general manager, the skilled and savvy Rod Taylor, understands it but would like to preserve what he can of the traditional opulence while adapting to changing circumstances. Unfortunately, he’s the victim of a plot that drags him away by the gonads from his post at the hotel, allowing some chicanery by a potential buyer to take place. But it’s too complicated to get into. Rod Taylor is reassuringly himself, handsome, robustly masculine. I saw him in a recent movie and he’s aged magnificently. His eyeballs bulge, his face is now one flab upon another, and his ears are those of the African elephant. He looks great. Catherine Spaak is the reformed spy. She’s conventionally attractive, her features are inexpressive but her voice carries an infinity of subtexts. Comic relief is provided by Karl Malden as the hotel thief who scurries from room to room, pocketing cash, expensive watches, jewelry, and whatnot. He’s fine too in an amusing role, with his bulbous nose and clownish smile. His last act, as he’s being led away in cuffs by the police, is to pocket a hotel ash tray. For what it’s worth, the Statler Hotel School at Cornell was about the most prestigious in the country, though you don’t hear much about it outside of hotel management circles. Snobby and even semi-snobby universities have always been a little ashamed of their specialized programs. The thing is to be a proud, defiant liberal arts college. It took Harvard a couple of hundred years to finally establish a school of medicine or law. More pragmatic schools have no such difficulty. The old, fancy universities, in resisting specialization, were much in the position of old Melvyn Douglas, owner of the St. Gregory. There’s a curious shot of the ancient, creaking potentate complaining about “all this new stuff” while the camera lingers on his fat, elderly dog who shifts slightly to a more comfortable position. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you know. It’s unusual — I realize that — but I’d like to dedicate this poor review to Zani. You’ll notice I used the word “zugzwang” earlier. I’d never heard of the damned thing before she told me what it meant. (It’s from German and means “pulled in two different directions.”) Zani, I can — excuse me, I’m all choked up — I can’t thank you enough. For me — sob — for me, the world wouldn’t exist without that word. (Sniff.)
Language: English, French
Duration: 124 min
Also known as: Hôtel Saint-Gregory,ホテル（1967）,Hotel,Hotellet,Hotelli,Hotelul,Intrighi al Grand Hotel,Os Ambiciosos,Maceralar oteli,Das Hotel,Hotel Sct. Gregory,Intriga en el gran hotel,To xenodoheion ton paranomon,Отель,Hotel de Luxo