Hollywood Boulevard (1976)

Hollywood Boulevard (1976)

“This is Hollywood — we change everything; we have to.”

An aspiring starlet (Candice Rialson) hoping to make it big in Hollywood signs on with a hard-working agent (Dick Miller) and is soon working for a pretentious director (Paul Bartel) whose leading lady (Mary Woronov) detests her competition, and whose other actresses are mysteriously being killed off, one by one.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Aspiring Stars
  • Dick Miller Films
  • Hollywood
  • Joe Dante Films
  • Movie Directors
  • Satires and Spoofs
  • Serial Killers

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that the “main claim to fame” of this “self-parody” is “that it was made in record-breaking time on a pocket-change budget” by “Joe Dante and Alan Arkush, New World editors” who “wanted to prove to studio head Roger Corman that they could effectively direct quickie sexploitation films in the Corman mold”. He notes that “Patrick Hobby’s script is inventive and funny”, with “a barrage of surprisingly clever sight gags and references to Corman’s style of filmmaking; and the entire cast hams it up to perfection.” He points out that “Paul Bartel is hilarious as a director who tries to inject ‘art’, ‘meaning’, and character motivation into his trashy films — while maintaining a large quantity of T&A, car crashes, and massacre scenes” — but I’m more fond of Woronov, who has delicious fun skewering her own image as a “big-name” cult star. Peary argues that the “film falters toward [the] end, when it gets a bit too serious and includes a needlessly vicious knife murder”, but writes that “surprisingly, the film” — which incorporates “inserted footage from previous Corman productions” — “looks polished.” I’m essentially in agreement with Peary’s assessment, though I don’t think modern film fanatics need to see this one unless it piques their interest.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Mary Woronov as Mary McQueen
  • A shameless skewering of “quickie” exploitation movies
  • Good use of L.A. locales

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.


One thought on “Hollywood Boulevard (1976)

  1. First viewing. Agreed; not must-see, though cult film fans may want to give it a look (as a very minor cult wanna-be).

    It’s actually too bad that this film isn’t better than it is since there was potential for a more pointed Corman satire. But clearly this pic was mainly pulled off as a self-conscious goof (“in record-breaking time”, as stated) and it follows the script’s own mindset: “If It’s a good picture, it’s a Miracle.” It’s not exactly a miracle.

    It does have some fun bits of dialogue:

    “Listen, remind me: I wanna pump up some more laughs in the crucifixion scene – or more sex.”
    “Well, which is it gonna be?”
    “Um… more sex. It’s cheaper.”

    – and there are plenty of in-jokes and references to other films, even the likes of Ed Wood:

    “Everybody loves the future. It’s where we’ll all be spending the rest of our lives, right?”

    Directed by Dante and Arkush, ffs familiar with the work of both are likely to notice who did what (with Dante having the visually funny edge).

    But… it’s a wildly uneven film and too many of the jokes don’t land (esp. in the lengthy drive-in sequence). Not only that but the two ‘actual’ deaths crash against the overall tone (the second one seems influenced by ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’). Worst of all, the film begins to feel long – and an 82-minute comedy should never feel long.

    Fans of ‘Eating Raoul’ will enjoy seeing Bartel and Woronov here – but, to me, the one who walks away with the flick (overall) is Corman (and Dante) regular Dick Miller as no-nonsense agent Walter Paisley (Miller’s character’s name in ‘Bucket of Blood’ , the Dante-directed segment of ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ and some other films too).

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