Manic, ragtag W.C. Fields vehicle, full of the usual lunacy and laughter.
Breese plays Dr. Wong, an eccentric inventor who intends to exhibit his early version of television in Wuhu, China before a group of international buyers. Foremost of these is a Russian general (Lugosi) who arrives at the hotel to be greeted by his golddigging ex-wife. Arriving later is Dr. Quail
(Fields), who has flown in from Mexico in an autogyro, dropping beer bottles en route and injuring countless victims below. At least so say the reports read by Dr. Burns and Nurse Allen (George and Gracie) of the International House's hotel staff. Meanwhile, American envoy Tommy Nash (Erwin) is
busy trying to woo Carol Fortescue (Maritza), while evading the Russian's predatory ex. Finally, all the players gather to view Wong's new invention. Tommy ends up buying the device mostly to escape the hotel, quarantined with the measles. During the last demonstrations, Wong manages to pick up on
transmissions of Baby Rose Marie warbling a torch song, then tunes in to Cab Calloway singing a song called "Reefer Man," which later became a camp classic. (This number is invariably cut from the prints shown on television.) Before the cast escapes the madhouse, there are several big musical
production numbers on a Busby Berkeley scale, as well as numerous romantic pairings, including one for Dr. Quail.
In INTERNATIONAL HOUSE, director Sutherland wisely let Fields do practically whatever he wanted, inserting gags and routines that caught the public's fancy and boosted his stardom even higher. Pangborn, Burns, Allen, and Lugosi are all hilarious, but this near-surreal spoof of GRAND HOTEL
ultimately belongs to Fields.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Manic, ragtag W.C. Fields vehicle, full of the usual lunacy and laughter. Breese plays Dr. Wong, an eccentric inventor who intends to exhibit his early version of television in Wuhu, China before a group of international buyers. Foremost of these is a Rus… (more)