Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hotel (1967)

After appearing on the cover of Life magazine in January of 1966, Catherine Spaak arrived in Hollywood to star in the lavish Warner Brothers production "Hotel," where she received top-billing. Released in 1967, "Hotel" ultimately failed to catch the attention of critics or audiences and as a result this was Spaak's only Hollywood film. Having had the chance to see it recently, "Hotel" is almost like a glimpse into an alternate reality where Spaak is an A-list Hollywood actress. Adorned in amazing Edith Head costumes, romancing Rod Taylor and Kevin McCarthy, her exquisite beauty heightened by the wonderful Technicolor cinematography of Charles Lang, there is no doubt "Hotel" was setting Spaak up to be a big star, but it wasn't to be.

Spaak went back to Italy after this film's failure and spent the next several years as a kind of staple of Italian genre & exploitation movies while continuing her career as a singer and appearing on stage in the Italian adaptation of "Promises, Promises," but if this film had been successful there's no doubt in my mind that she would still be acting in Hollywood movies today. And it could be because her "Hotel" co-star is Rod Taylor, star of "The Birds," but following my viewing I couldn't help but imagine what it would've been like if Spaak had been the heroine of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Although I wouldn't have thought of it before seeing "Hotel," I think she was perfectly suited to that kind of role, and it isn't a stretch for me to think of her alongside the likes of Cary Grant or Sean Connery in a big, thrilling adventure film. That said, it's neat to have one Hollywood movie with Catherine Spaak, but it's unfortunate that we don't have more.

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