Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon & Van Johnson in Weekend at the Waldorf (1945)

Obscurity factor: 7

The plot of this film may seem familiar. It's a war time remake of Grand Hotel. It follows the fortunes of a bored film star (Rogers), exhausted war correspondent (Pidgeon), ambitious stenographer (Turner) and a wounded air force captain (Johnson) as they spend their weekend at the glamorous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Of course romance is in the air and before long the leads are paired off. Will the star lose her boredom in love? Will the stenographer forsake her career for the man she loves? Will the captain survive the only operation that can save his life? Only time will tell.

This film, though long, at 2 hours and 10 minutes, has a charming wartime feel to it, despite the fact that it was released a month after the war was over. Also in the cast are Xavier Cugat, Robert Benchley, Leon Ames and the irrepressible Keenan Wynn. It's interesting to note the differences between this and Grand Hotel - those differences are really indicative of the differences between the eras both films were made in.

Weekend at the Waldorf was a very successful film in its day - finishing 11th at the box office the year it was released. It has faded into obscurity since then, overshadowed by it's more successful forebarer, Grand Hotel. It's recently been released on print-on-demand DVD and the trailer is above, uploaded to YouTube by skipjacktuner.

Obscurity factor: 7 (popular in its day, largely unknown today, available on DVD)


  1. I actually saw Weekend at the Waldorf on tv when I was very young and before I saw Grand Hoteland didn't know it was a remake. A few years later I saw Grand Hotel and thought: this is all too familiar. When I would ask friends about it they had never heard of Weekend at the Waldorf. I guess it's always been obscure I just happened upon it in reverse order.

  2. That was sort of my experience with What's Up Doc and Bringing Up Baby...