What Price Hollywood? (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

What Price Hollywood? (1932)

What Price Hollywood? (1932)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

What Price Hollywood is often referred to as the "first" version of the oft-filmed A Star is Born. While there are strong resemblances between the two properties, Hollywood is in many respects a wholly separate entity. Constance Bennett plays a star-struck waitress who manages to make a good impression on prominent film director Lowell Sherman. With Sherman's patronage, Bennett rises to film stardom as "America's Pal." Sherman is gratified, but he keeps his distance; a chronic alcoholic, he is certain that his inevitable fall from grace will adversely affect Bennett's stardom. Impulsively, Bennett marries wealthy playboy Neil Hamilton, who genuinely loves his wife but is jealous of the demands made on her by her career. Hamilton walks out, but not before Bennett has been impregnated. Turning her attentions to her mentor Sherman, Bennett does everything she can to halt his career downslide, but it is too late. In a startlingly conceived sequence (utilizing slow motion and rapid-fire montage cutting), Sherman kills himself in Bennett's bedroom. When his body is found, the ensuing scandal destroys Bennett's career (represented visually by a life-sized cutout of "America's Pal" shrinking into nothingness). Hoping to heal her emotional wounds, she flees to Paris with her child, where she is reunited with a contrite Hamilton. What Price Hollywood? producer David O. Selznick later claimed that most of the dialogue and situations in the film were drawn from life; he'd make the same claim upon producing the similar (but not identical) A Star is Born five years later. Somewhat perversely, Lowell Sherman based his performance-especially the inebriation scenes-on his then brother-in-law John Barrymore.


Lowell Sherman
as Maximilian Carey
Neil Hamilton
as Lonny Borden
Gregory Ratoff
as Julius Saxe
Louise Beavers
as Bonita the Maid
Bryant Washburn
as Washed-Up Star
Heinie Conklin
as Car Owner
Eddie Dunn
as Doorman at Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Phil Tead
as Jimmy
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for What Price Hollywood?

All Critics (2)

A swirl of Tinseltown anecdotes peopled by spirited sketches of dyspeptic bosses and smirking gossip-peddlers, safe but piquant

July 7, 2012 | Full Review…

Cukor's well acted melodrama (especially by Constance Bennett) precedes by five years the first version of A Star Is Born; it's basically the same story.

April 4, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for What Price Hollywood?

The template for A Star is Born is a good film on its own. While certain scenes reflect the later films the tenure of this is different and the core relationship between the main characters is not a romantic one but one of friendship. Interesting use of imagery to make statements and set moods is dated but done it a way that makes sense within the context of the picture. Solid but the definitive version is still the Judy Garland 1954 starrer.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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