Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hollywood Party

Hollywood Party is a 1934 MGM Musical staring Jimmy Durante that I have been wanting to see for a very long time. It's not on DVD and extremely rare on VHS. When I first got my TiVo in 2002, I set it up to automatically record this movie if it were to ever come on! About two weeks ago Turner Classic Movies aired the movie at 9am, and I finally got to sit down and watch it last night!

Why am I so interested in seeing Hollywood Party. Look at the bottom left hand corner of the movie poster. That's right, it's our good ol' friend Mickey Mouse! Hollywood Party has the dictinction of being one of the only films NOT produced by the Walt Disney Studios that Mickey Mouse appeared in.

In the movie, Jimmy Durante (playing the role of Jimmy) throws a big Hollywood party to impress the visiting Baron Munchausen in the hopes that the Baron will allow Jimmy to use his fierce tigers in the upcoming "Schnarzan" film. That's right folks, SCHNARZAN! during the 70 minute running time of the film there are about 107 musical numbers, and numerous cameos from celebrities of the day...the most notable being The Three Stooges. About half way through the party, and 50 minutes into the movie, a lady screams "Mouse!" and everyone starts to run and scream! Jimmy Durante investigates and tells everyone not to worry. He picks an animated Mickey Mouse up off the floor by the tail and sets him down on a table that is conveniently in front of a plain-white wall. Mickey is on screen for all of a minute (at best) and trades a few jokes with Durante. Then Mickey pulls up a cartoon piano and begins to play. Then, for whatever reason, the movie just stops and they play a color cartoon that has nothing to do with anything in the movie.

The cartoon is called "Chocolate Soldiers" and is basically a Walt Disney Silly Symphony. It's not bad, but it's not a very good Silly Symphony either. When the cartoon is over, the movie goes back to Black and White and Mickey is gone and there is no mention of him for the rest of the movie.

I was pretty bummed that I spent almost an hour watching goofy musical numbers and jokes anyone under the age of 105 wouldn't get, all to see about 6 minutes of below average Disney animation! Luckily after the Mickey segment and another 7 to 8 musical numbers, Laurel & Hardy show up and stick around for the rest of the film! They have a great bit with some lady and cracking eggs in their hats. It's funny, trust me! Then before you know it, the movie is over...I'm not sure if Jimmy Durante got his tigers or not, but I really didn't care!

The Disney segment of the film had been edited out for television screenings in the 60's and then was believed to be lost! I was keeping my fingers crossed that the animated part was edited back in, and I'm glad it was otherwise I would have completely lost an hour of my life!

Laurel and Hardy are comedy geniuses, by the way. Go rent one of their movies!

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