5.8/10
129
8 user 3 critic

College Holiday (1936)

Expecting to put on a musical show, singing and dancing college students are brought to a struggling hotel to be guinea pigs in an ancient Greek-themed eugenics experiment.

Director:

Frank Tuttle

Writers:

J.P. McEvoy (original screenplay), Harlan Ware (original screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Benny ... J. Davis Bowster
George Burns ... George Hymen
Gracie Allen ... Calliope 'Gracie' Dove
Mary Boland ... Carola P. Gaye
Martha Raye ... Daisy Schloggenheimer
Ben Blue ... Stage Hand
Marsha Hunt ... Sylvia Smith
Leif Erickson ... Dick Winters
Eleanore Whitney ... Eleanore Wayne
Johnny Downs ... Johnny Jones
Etienne Girardot ... Prof. Hercules Dove
Olympe Bradna ... Felice L'Hommedieu
Louis Da Pron Louis Da Pron ... Barry Taylor
Jed Prouty ... Sheriff John J. Trimble
Margaret Seddon Margaret Seddon ... Mrs. Schloggenheimer
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Storyline

Sylvia Smith and Dick Winters share a romantic kiss at a dance, but Sylvia is called away before Dick can learn her full name. Sylvia's father is about to lose his California hotel, the Casa Del Mar, thanks to the financial blundering of his new business partner J. Davis Bowster. The mortgage is held by eccentric heiress Carola P. Gaye, whose current fascination is with the ancient Greek-style eugenics championed by Professor Hercules Dove. Carola plans to use the hotel as the center of her "Body Beauteous" selective mating program. Looking to raise funds with a collegiate musical show, Bowster gathers talent under the pretense of recruiting good-looking young people for Carola's eugenics experiment. Among the group are Dick Winters (still searching for his mystery girl) and Daisy Schloggenheimer (taught to resist male attention with physical force). Under strict orders to prevent any romance between the "guinea pigs", Bowster has great difficulty keeping the boys and the girls away ... Written by Jimmy L.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Youth and Romance on a Grand Spree...With the World's Five Funniest Comics! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alegria a Solta See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First movie listing of journeyman extra William Meader, age ~22 from Massachusetts. Who appears likely to have 'Vaudeville/Theatre', involvement since ~1916 onward. Here, as a dancer for a film that would have served as lightweight diversion for World War 1 audience, introducing the basic 'Eugenics' notions of the day topical to those prior to World War 2. Ideas ironically that led to him being cast in the science fiction classic Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) series. See more »

Goofs

In Miss Gaye's car, Bowster is clasping his toga closed at his breast with his left hand in practically all of the close-ups. In long shots, his hand's in his lap. See more »

Quotes

J. Davis Bowster: I hope I come up to your expectations.
Calliope 'Gracie' Dove: Oh yes, on account of I'm not expecting too much.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fright Night (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sweetheart Waltz
Lyrics by Ralph Freed
Music by Burton Lane
See more »

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User Reviews

 
How can a film that promotes eugenics and has a LONG minstrel show finale be a good film--particularly when it has almost no laughs?!
28 June 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"College Holiday" is a film with practically no plot and the writing is generally awful. This is why although there are some talented folks in the film, it manages to make the least of them! Oddly, the film has relatively glowing reviews and a very respectable 7.0. Don't believe it---this is a terrible so-called comedy.

Jack Benny plays a guy whose hotel is going out of business. When a crazy rich lady arrives to try to take over his hotel, he convinces her that he can help her find a lot of subjects for her eugenics experiment* and she has no idea he's the hotel owner. So, Benny goes to colleges around the country recruiting handsome college students--and they have no idea that they are going to be involved in some sort of wacky breeding program! And who is the 'expert' who will be matching up these couples? The ideal woman, Calliope (Gracie Allen).

This plot makes little sense and is just an excuse for a plot. Additionally, considering the Third Reich and what they did in regard to eugenics, it's a completely distasteful subject--selectively breeding people like dogs in order to better the human race. What they don't mention is that the eugenics movement ALSO sought to eliminate so-called 'inferiors'. Mostly, people thought this would occur through mass sterilization programs, but the Nazis found an easier way by simply killing these undesirables! So much for a plot for a comedy!!

As far as the rest of the story goes, it really is very, very thin and there are LOTS of sidetracks. Mostly the film consists of lots of excremental song and dance numbers--some of the worst of the era. This, the general lack of laughs and the goofy plot served to make a singularly awful film--and you can barely tell that it was SUPPOSED to be a comedy. Among the unfunniest folks in this film are Ben Blue and Martha Raye--who are simply detestable and obnoxious. As for George Burns, Gracie Allen and Jack Benny, they should have been a lot funnier and their pairing should have been wonderful. It wasn't and the film is at best annoying. Especially awful is the finale--which is a giant minstrel show!!!!

If you do watch this film, and I pray you don't, look for a couple things. First, Benny hammering out his theme song "Love in Bloom" near the beginning of the film. Second, when Marsha Hunt and Leif Erickson jump into the lake, the underwater shot clearly was done in a pool--as you can see the sides of the pool in the distance.

In conclusion--the film had white folks in black face, almost no laughs AND it promoted Nazi ideals of race supremacy. All in all, reasons that I am right about this awful film and the other reviewers are not!


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