Hollywood or Bust (1956)

Hollywood or Bust (1956)

“Okay, Hollywood — here we come!”

An in-debt gambler (Dean Martin) cons his way into winning a convertible, hoping to sell it and pay his bookie off — but he must share his prize with the real winner, a nerdy movie buff (Jerry Lewis) whose goal in life is to travel to Hollywood and win the heart of Anita Ekberg.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anita Ekberg Films
  • Comedy
  • Dean Martin Films
  • Frank Tashlin Films
  • Jerry Lewis Films
  • Musicals
  • Road Trip

Frank Tashlin directed this final outing by comedic partners Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, who at this point in their joint career had reached a notorious crisis point (Lewis actually claims he’s never seen this movie, given the negative memories it evokes for him.) Peary labels it a “personal recommendation” in the back of his book, and it was a favorite of Truffaut — but while there are occasional moments of inspired hilarity — including an early hold-up by a deceptively innocent hitch-hiker:

and Lewis “feeling lucky” and winning oodles of money at a craps table):

— it’s ultimately (like the rest of the Lewis and Martin films I’ve seen so far) a mixed comedic bag, one which eventually wears out its welcome. The film’s most inspired moment — (pure Tashlin) comes fairly early, when the duo are driving through the countryside, singing, and see sexy dames every which way who represent the joys of “country living”; it’s truly surreal, and worth the price of a rental alone.

Note: Redheaded Pat Crowley (who I’d never seen before) is a refreshingly wholesome presence as Martin’s romantic lead; why didn’t her silver screen career go any further?

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The surreal “day in the country” musical sequence
  • Pat Crowley as Terry Roberts
  • Random moments of inspired humor

Must See?
No. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Hollywood or Bust (1956)

  1. More or less a total snooze. A very Technicolor road movie that nevertheless manages to be almost completely colorless.

    Director Tashlin desperately does what he can – which amounts to very little, trapped as he is by the witless screenplay: yes, the unexpected hitchhiker is good for a laugh; the Native American sexpot spices up things; and I do like the Great Dane (who gives the best performance) going gaga for the poodle.

    But none of that is meant as recommendation. This is actually a pretty bad flick. Lewis’ shtick wears thin (as is so often the case); Martin is, again, suave to no real avail. We’re ultimately talking wash-out here. (And the songs are horrible.)

    Yes, Patricia Crowley (in a rather nothing role) is cute. I remember her coming off to much better advantage in the tv series version of ‘Please Don’t Eat The Daisies’.

    A favorite of Truffaut? That’s troublesome in itself.

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