A truly good movie drama takes you to a place of interesting people and intrigue. You only get to stay in that special place for a couple of hours, so you want the trip to be fulfilling and memorable. Check into the Arthur Hailey-inspired Hotel, a 1967 Warner Bros. drama set in the posh St. Gregory Hotel in New Orleans, and you will meet a diverse group of characters (the all-star cast includes Rod Taylor, Catherine Spaak, Michael Rennie, Merle Oberon, Karl Malden, and Melvyn Douglas), each with a unique story in transition as events unfold at the title building.
An important feature of an Arthur Hailey story is the physical environment in which the characters act and react in relation to one another (1970’s Airport, also based on a Hailey novel, was good for three sequels). After your two-hour stay the Hotel, you will have a new curiosity for what is happening around you when you next become a lodger. What is going on with that interesting looking couple? What’s the story with that single person checking in without luggage? Is the staff really as happy as they act? Karl Malden’s portrayal of a professional thief will have you wondering— Is my property safe in my room? Best of all, the movie comes to a reassuring conclusion that justifies your stay at the St. Gregory and gives you the sense of a very nice sojourn.
California-based blogger John Greanias regularly looks back on the golden age of monochrome cinema in his John Greanias B&W Movie Report.