|What Price Hollywood?|
|Directed by||George Cukor|
|Screenplay by|| Jane Murfin |
Allen Rivkin (uncredited)
|Story by|| Adela Rogers St. Johns |
Louis Stevens (uncredited)
|Produced by|| Pandro S. Berman |
David O. Selznick
|By|| Gene Fowler |
|Starring|| Constance Bennett |
|Edited by|| Del Andrews |
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Distributed by||RKO-Pathé Distributing Corp.|
|Box office||$571,000 |
What Price Hollywood? is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by George Cukor and starring Constance Bennett with Lowell Sherman. The screenplay by Gene Fowler, Rowland Brown, Jane Murfin and Ben Markson is based on a story by Adela Rogers St. Johns and Louis Stevens. The supporting cast features Neil Hamilton, Gregory Ratoff, Brooks Benedict, Louise Beavers and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.
Brown Derby waitress Mary Evans is an aspiring actress who meets film director Maximillan "Max" Carey in the restaurant. Max is very drunk but is charmed by Mary and he invites her to a premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Max, who has an active sense of humor, arrives to collect her in a jalopy rather than a limousine and then gives the car to the parking valet as a tip.
Max takes Mary home after the event, but the next morning he remembers nothing about the previous night. Mary reminds him that he had promised her a screen test and expresses concern about his excessive drinking and flippant attitude, but he tells her not to worry.
Mary's screen test is a miserable failure, but she begs for another chance. After extensive rehearsals, she shoots the scene again, and producer Julius Saxe is pleased with the result, signing her to a contract. Just as quickly as Mary achieves stardom, Max finds his career on the decline, and he avoids a romantic relationship with Mary so that she will not become involved in his downward spiral.
Mary meets polo player Lonny Borden, who loves her despite his jealousy of her career demands. Lonny convinces Mary to marry him although Julius and Max try to discourage her. Lonny becomes increasingly annoyed by Mary's devotion to her work and finally leaves her. After their divorce is finalized, Mary discovers that she is pregnant.
Mary wins an award for her acting, but her moment of glory is disrupted when she must post bail for Max after he is arrested for drunk driving. She takes him to her home, where he wallows in self-pity despite her encouragement. Later, alone in Mary's dressing room, he stares at himself in the mirror and compares his face to that in a photograph from long before. He finds a gun in a drawer and commits suicide with a bullet to the chest.
Mary becomes the center of gossip about Max's suicide. Hoping to heal her emotional wounds, she flees to Paris with her son and reunites with Lonny, who begs her to forgive him and give their marriage another chance.
The film's original title was The Truth About Hollywood. Adela Rogers St. Johns loosely based her plot on the experiences of actress Colleen Moore and her husband, alcoholic producer John McCormick (1893-1961), and the life and death of director Tom Forman, who committed suicide following a nervous breakdown. 
Producer David O. Selznick wanted to cast Clara Bow as the female lead,  but executives at RKO's New York offices were hesitant to invest in a Hollywood story because similar projects had been unsuccessful in the past. By the time that Selznick convinced them that the project had potential, Bow was committed to another film. 
Constance Bennett considered What Price Hollywood? her greatest film.  
Four years after the film was released, Selznick approached Cukor and asked him to direct A Star Is Born (1937) starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. The plot was so similar to that of What Price Hollywood? that Cukor declined. RKO executives considered filing a plagiarism suit against Selznick International Pictures because of the similarities in the story, but eventually opted against legal action.   Cukor would later direct the 1954 musical version of A Star Is Born starring Judy Garland and James Mason.
In a contemporary review, The New York Times wrote: "Parts of 'What Price Hollywood' are very amusing, intentionally, and others are despite themselves. Sections of it are very sorrowful, in the bewildered manner of a lost scenario writer, and yet others are quite agreeable. There is some good acting in the picture—much more, indeed, than it deserves." 
Variety 's July 1932 review proclaimed: "It's a fan magazine-ish interpretation of Hollywood plus a couple of twists invariably known as the working girls' delight. ... Cukor tells it interestingly. Not so much for show people, perhaps, but the peasantry will like it as amusement even if it fails to fully convince them, too. Story has its exaggerations, but they can sneak under the line as theatrical license." 
The film was a runaway box-office hit.  However, according to RKO records, the film lost $50,000. 
Adela Rogers St. Johns and Jane Murfin were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story but lost to Frances Marion for The Champ .
George Dewey Cukor was an American film director and film producer. He mainly concentrated on comedies and literary adaptations. His career flourished at RKO when David O. Selznick, the studio's Head of Production, assigned Cukor to direct several of RKO's major films, including What Price Hollywood? (1932), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Our Betters (1933), and Little Women (1933). When Selznick moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1933, Cukor followed and directed Dinner at Eight (1933) and David Copperfield (1935) for Selznick and Romeo and Juliet (1936) and Camille (1936) for Irving Thalberg.
David O. Selznick was an American film producer, screenwriter and film studio executive. He is best known for producing Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both of which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Gregory La Cava was an American film director of Italian descent best known for his films of the 1930s, including My Man Godfrey and Stage Door, which earned him nominations for Academy Award for Best Director.
Constance Campbell Bennett was an American stage, film, radio and television actress and producer. She was a major Hollywood star during the 1920s and 1930s and for a time during the early 1930s, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. Bennett frequently played society women, focusing on melodramas in the early 1930s and then taking more comedic roles in the late 1930s and 1940s. She is best remembered for her leading roles in What Price Hollywood? (1932), Bed of Roses (1933), Topper (1937), Topper Takes a Trip (1938), and had a prominent supporting role in Greta Garbo's last film, Two-Faced Woman (1941).
Val Lewton was a Russian-American novelist, film producer and screenwriter best known for a string of low-budget horror films he produced for RKO Pictures in the 1940s. His son, also named Val Lewton, was a painter and exhibition designer.
A Bill of Divorcement is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by George Cukor and starring John Barrymore and Katharine Hepburn in her film debut. It is based on the 1921 British play of the same name, written by Clemence Dane as a reaction to a law passed in Britain in the early 1920s that allowed insanity as grounds for a woman to divorce her husband. It was the second screen adaptation of the play; the first was a 1922 British silent film also titled A Bill of Divorcement. The film was made again in 1940 by RKO Pictures.
John Cromwell was an American film and stage director and actor. His films spanned the early days of sound to film noir in the early 1950s, by which time his directing career was almost terminated by the Hollywood blacklist.
Little Women is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film, directed by George Cukor and starring Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Frances Dee and Jean Parker. The screenplay, by Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman, is based on the 1868-69 two-volume novel of the same name, by Louisa May Alcott.
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell. The film was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming. Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, following her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and her subsequent marriage to Rhett Butler.
A Star Is Born is a 1937 American Technicolor romantic drama film produced by David O. Selznick, directed by William A. Wellman from a script by Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell, and starring Janet Gaynor as an aspiring Hollywood actress, and Fredric March as a fading movie star who helps launch her career. The supporting cast features Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine, Lionel Stander, and Owen Moore.
A Star Is Born is a 1954 American musical drama film directed by George Cukor, written by Moss Hart, and starring Judy Garland and James Mason. Hart's screenplay is an adaptation of the original 1937 film, based on the original screenplay by Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell, and from the same story by William A. Wellman and Carson, with uncredited input from six additional writers—David O. Selznick, Ben Hecht, Ring Lardner Jr., John Lee Mahin, Budd Schulberg and Adela Rogers St. Johns.
Gregory Ratoff was a Russian-born American film director, actor and producer. As an actor, he was best known for his role as producer "Max Fabian" in All About Eve (1950).
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Jane Murfin was an American playwright and screenwriter. The author of several successful plays, she wrote some of them with actress Jane Cowl—most notably Smilin' Through (1919), which was adapted three times for motion pictures. In Hollywood Murfin became a popular screenwriter whose credits include What Price Hollywood? (1932), for which she received an Academy Award nomination. In the 1920s she lived with Laurence Trimble, writing and producing films for their dog Strongheart, the first major canine star.
Rowland Brown, born Chauncey Rowland Brown in Canton, Ohio, was an American screenwriter and film director, whose career as a director ended in the early 1930s after he started many more films than he finished. He walked out of State's Attorney (1932), starring John Barrymore. He was abruptly replaced as director of The Scarlet Pimpernel. As a writer, he was credited with twenty or so films including two Academy Award nominations, one in the 11th Academy Awards for Best Original Story Angels with Dirty Faces and another in the 4th Academy Awards for Doorway to Hell.
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., commonly called RKO Pictures or simply RKO, was an American film production and distribution company that was one of the "Big Five" major film studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chain and Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio were brought together under the control of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October 1928. RCA chief David Sarnoff engineered the merger to create a market for the company's sound-on-film technology, RCA Photophone. By the mid-1940s, the studio was under the control of investor Floyd Odlum.
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Edward Arthur Killy was an American director, assistant director and production manager in films and television. He was one of the few individuals to be nominated for the short-lived Academy Award for Best Assistant Director. During his 30-year career he worked on over 75 films and television shows.