7.3/10
43
3 user

Hotel Imperial (1939)

Approved | | Drama | 11 May 1939 (USA)
It is the fate of a small frontier town, adjoining the no-man's-land where the Russians and Austrians are fighting out one of the final campaigns of World War I, to be occupied one day by ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

Lajos Biró (story "Színmü négy felvonásban"), Gilbert Gabriel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During World War I, a hotel maid and Austrian officer in hiding attempt to survive in a Russian-occupied town.

Director: Mauritz Stiller
Stars: Pola Negri, James Hall, George Siegmann
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Florida ship salvager, Loxi, falls for Jack, captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. However, their romance is complicated by the arrival of another suitor, and eventually leads to tragedy.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard
The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After murdering someone, a magazine tycoon tries to frame an unknown, innocent man for the murder instead, while the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A bellboy at a swanky New York hotel starts to ignore his girlfriend after meeting a beautiful European princess.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Robert Walker, June Allyson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Starring George Brent, Isa Miranda, John Loder, Nigel Bruce, Elizabeth Patterson Directed by George Fitzmaurice Print: black/white Runtime: 76 min. Genre: drama British army pilot Stephen (... See full summary »

Director: George Fitzmaurice
Stars: George Brent, Isa Miranda, John Loder
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi
Skylark (1941)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

As her fifth wedding anniversary approaches, a woman realizes that she is fed up with always coming in second to her husband's advertising business. Just at the moment when she is trying to... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Brian Aherne
Beau Geste (1939)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Three adopted English brothers join the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, after one of them steals their adoptive family's famous heirloom sapphire.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Story follows the training and personal lives of three recruits in the Army Air Corps --- a wealthy playboy, a college jock and an auto mechanic. Love interest is supplied by a female ... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Ray Milland, William Holden, Wayne Morris
History | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Robespierrre, a powerful figure in the French revolution, is desperately looking for his black book, a death list of those marked for the guillotine.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Richard Hart
Variety Girl (1947)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club (show-business charity) are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, ... See full summary »

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Mary Hatcher, Olga San Juan, DeForest Kelley
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Isa Miranda ... Anna Warschawska
Ray Milland ... Lieutenant Nemassy
Reginald Owen ... General Videnko
Gene Lockhart ... Elias
J. Carrol Naish ... Kuprin
Curt Bois ... Anton
The Don Cossack Chorus The Don Cossack Chorus ... Singers
Edit

Storyline

It is the fate of a small frontier town, adjoining the no-man's-land where the Russians and Austrians are fighting out one of the final campaigns of World War I, to be occupied one day by the Russians, the next by the Austrians, and the inhabitants soon acquire a complacent view of the changing allegiances. To the town comes Ann Warschaska, intent on avenging the suicide of her sister, who has killed herself after being betrayed by an Austrian officer. She knows no more about his identity than the number of his room at the "Hotel Imperial". She gets a job at the hotel as a maid but soon combines this work with modeling, when an eccentric Russian, General Videnko, with a passion for painting asks her to pose for him. Breaking into the fatal Room 12, she finds Lt. Nemassey, a young Austrian officer who has taken refuge there after being separated from the army. Thinking him the betrayer of her sister, she plans to hand him over to the occupying-Russians, but relents when she learns that... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

world war one | based on play | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aftokratorikon xenodoheion See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Loving the Classics DVD-R)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Three actresses were cast as Anna. The first, Marlene Dietrich, was constantly at loggerheads with then-director Henry Hathaway - he wanted to deglamorize her. After some rewriting by 'Grover Jones', she finally quit, and production was frozen. Margaret Sullavan was then brought in as Anna and shooting resumed, but while clowning around with Ray Milland on the set between takes (she was squirting him with a concealed water pistol), she fell and fractured her arm. She refused to do the rest of the film in a sling as the studio heads demanded, and also quit. At this point Dietrich offered to come back, but Paramount refused and instead brought in Italian sex symbol Isa Miranda. However, Miranda knew no English and had to have all her dialogue supplied phonetically. See more »

Connections

Version of Five Graves to Cairo (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

There's Something Magic Saying Nitchevo
by Friedrich Hollaender (as Frederick Hollander) and Ralph Freed
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Atmospheric Half-A, Half-B 1939 Film Entertains but Doesn't Quite Work
9 May 2015 | by OldFilmLoverSee all my reviews

The 1939 Paramount version of Hotel Imperial is an enjoyable film, but a flawed one.

Its greatest virtue is its atmosphere. You really feel you are in a little town in Eastern Europe during WW I, as the Russians and Austrians battle for possession of it. The limited battle scenes, the narrow streets, the muddy roads in the rain, the dark night scenes, the scenes in the inn (complete with Russians singing and dancing), are all very well-filmed.

The story is interesting: A woman whose sister committed suicide -- by delicate implication due to her sexual mistreatment by an unknown Austrian officer -- seeks revenge on the perpetrator and sticks around the Hotel (despite the risk of the imminent capture of the town by the Russians, with the likelihood of her own imprisonment or death) to find out who the cad was. I won't say what happens, as it would spoil the plot, but there are two or three twists or turns in her quest.

I don't think the final screenplay did justice to the plot, and so the execution of the film doesn't live up to the promise. I don't mean the story is incoherent; the events unfold quite logically; but it is not nearly as surprising or suspenseful or emotionally powerful story as it could have been, with more focused writing that was not in such a hurry to establish a romance and stuck more to developing the main plot ideas. (I believe this film had difficulties in production, with stars and directors in and out until the last minute, and that is probably why it ended up with a screenplay that was less than polished.)

Director Robert Florey had done one or two horror films for Universal; perhaps that is why the small-village Eastern European setting is so well done! Ray Milland is reasonably good as the Austrian officer, though I think the slightly stiff script cramps him. Isa Miranda, who appears to be offered as a Greta Garbo clone in the film, is good, and very attractive, and even does a musical number for the Russian officers. However, again the weak script makes her less effective than she should be; her romance with Milland isn't really built up to properly, and the emotional darkness of her quest for vengeance isn't played up enough in the writing, so she doesn't get a chance to shine as a serious dramatic actress (as opposed to a light romantic lead). Gene Lockhart is, as always, good in his humorous character-actor part. J. Carrol Naish is good in his non-humorous role as well, though again, an anemic script doesn't give him a chance to show his full range as an actor.

The main problem with this film, other than the weak script, is that it doesn't seem sure whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama. A drama can of course have lighter moments; they help to set off the serious parts. But there is fair bit of clownery with Lockhart and his assistant at the hotel, and the Russian general, a central character, is played largely for laughs (reminiscent of the father of the princess in Korda's Thief of Bagdad). Thus, there is a clash between the dark character of the basic plot (a tale of a woman's vengeance on a morally debased officer that she can't yet identify), and the generally grim wartime goings-on (Austrian prisoners being shot by the Russians and so on), and the attempt make several of the characters lovable buffoons. The movie lacks a consistency of mood and tone.

I certainly enjoyed watching the film, and probably will watch it again, to enjoy certain moments; but it remains stuck between the A-film aspirations of the plot and a B-film formulaic execution. The current rating of the film on the IMDb is 7.1 out of 10, and I have to admit that it doesn't deserve much higher than that. For photography, sets, and atmosphere, maybe an 8 would be justified, but in all other respects the film is a B-minus effort.

I add that while the IMDb and Leonard Maltin both list this film as 67 minutes -- a short length which would not be likely for a Paramount film of this type in 1939 -- it was in fact originally longer, and a nearly 80-minute version exists (Loving the Classics); my review here is based on that version. (If any shorter, 67-minute version actually exists, it would only exacerbate the problems of the longer version, since even at 80 minutes the story suffers from underdevelopment. Cutting out major scenes would add discontinuity to script weakness. So if you can, get the 80-minute version. And no, I'm not working for the vendor; I just hate shortened versions of films and like to let people know when fuller versions exist.)


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed