Hotel (1967): Richard Quine’s Ensemble-Driven Melodrama, Starring Rod Taylor,

Richard Quine directed Hotel, Technicolor melodrama, based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Arthur Hailey.

The large ensemble includes Rod Taylor, Catherine Spaak, Karl Malden, Kevin McCarthy, Michael Rennie, Merle Oberon, and Melvyn Douglas. It is directed by Richard Quine.

The story takes place at the fictional St Gregory Hotel in New Orleans, owned by Warren Trent and now in financial trouble.

Hotel manager Peter McDermott meets three potential buyers of the property. He also takes a romantic interest in Jeanne Rochefort, the beautiful French mistress of one bidder, and deals with all kinds of problems, including a faulty elevator.

Jeanne is the mistress of Curtis O’Keefe, who intends to renovate and “modernize” the hotel, with conveyor belts carrying luggage automatically around the building as if it were a modern airport terminal, and even presenting the customer’s bill on a conveyor belt.

While this is O’Keefe’s vision for a hotel of the future, his immediate plans for the St. Gregory are different: He would remove the fountain in the center of the lobby and replace it with a circular news stand and bookstore; he would remove the comfortable lobby seating, forcing guests to go to a restaurant or lounge and spend money to sit; he would change the promenade with little shops; and he would divide up the great suites into smaller rooms.

Among the guests at the hotel are the Duke and Duchess of Lanbourne, a wealthy couple hiding out after fleeing from an accident. A hotel detective, Dupere, attempts to blackmail the Duke and Duchess. The Duchess responds by asking Dupere to drive the car from the accident to Washington D.C. for $25,000, but he gets caught outside of the city.

In the end, the Duchess tells police she was responsible for the auto accident, hoping to save her late husband’s reputation. She also saves Dupere by denying any blackmail. The police detectives, seeing through the ruse, decide not to press charges.

In the last scene, McDermott rounds up the remaining guests, including Jeanne, and buys them drinks as a final toast to the St. Gregory.

The movie was a commercial failure at the box-office.

Cast

Rod Taylor as Peter McDermott
Catherine Spaak as Jeanne Rochefort
Karl Malden as Keycase Milne
Melvyn Douglas as Warren Trent
Richard Conte as Det. Dupere
Merle Oberon as the Duchess Caroline
Michael Rennie as the Duke of Lanbourne
Kevin McCarthy as Curtis O’Keefe
Carmen McRae as Christine
Alfred Ryder as Capt. Yolles
Roy Roberts as Bailey
Al Checco as Herbie Chandler
Sheila Bromley as Mrs. Grandin
Harry Hickox as Sam
William Lanteau as Mason

Note:

TCM showed the movie on March 31, 2021.