Rod Taylor plays Peter McDermott, the hotel's general manager, in this
movie based on the Arthur Hailey novel.
McDermott runs the posh St. Gregory Hotel in New Orleans in high style.
He's seemingly everywhere and is ever charming, efficient, in charge. American
Movie Classics calls him "James Bond in a day job."
Nevertheless, it's a troubling time at the hotel. The owner (Melvyn Douglas)
needs to raise money to modernize it, but a ruthless hotel magnate, Curtis
O'Keefe (Kevin McCarthy), is ready to pounce. The hotel has seen a modest
turnaround under McDermott's stewardship, and he's on the verge of sealing
a deal for union financing.
McDermott's honesty and good sense are no match for O'Keefe's underhanded
dealings. While McDermott is "distracted," the shifty O'Keefe
stages an incident in which a black couple is turned away from the hotel.
The scene makes the union leaders balk, and they back out of the deal.
Doing the distracting is O'Keefe's mistress, Jeanne (Catherine Spaak).
Despite her alliance with O'Keefe, she develops a respect for McDermott,
and he's attracted to her. They wind up in his delightful but seldom-used
apartment in the French Quarter. There, McDermott's smooth facade cracks
a little upon glimpsing Jeanne stripped to her slip. It's a splendid piece
of acting by Taylor, who brings a deft touch of humor to the scene, stumbling
through the mixing of drinks before gathering himself for his rendezvous.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, the guests have their own troubles, including
a duke and duchess dodging suspicion in a hit-and-run accident, and a petty
thief (Karl Malden) picking up cash while guests are sleeping.
Amid the chaos, McDermott is a sea of calm. Taylor stretches his acting
legs from cool businessman, to romantic leading man, to man of action as
he makes a heroic dangling-elevator rescue.
"Hotel" delivers pure entertainment, summed up in this four-star
Remember the old-fashioned movies where you got involved
with all the characters? ... Remember when a great big picture was really
just that -- a great big picture that you wanted to sit through twice with
an extra bag of popcorn to keep you company? Well, Hotel is just such a
picture. ... By all means, see Hotel and revel in its grand old style.
-- Modern Screen, April 1967
Despite all this, Taylor rates this movie as one of the least favorite
of his career:
It made a lot of people a lot of money, but personally
I didn't like "Hotel." I was so restricted I could not be my
usual gregarious self. I was so stiff, I hated myself in that.
-- TV Times (Australia), Dec. 18, 1976
Click for Gallery
on YouTube of the groundbreaking of an expansion of the Beverly Hilton,
attended by stars of "Hotel." Rod is pictured here with his wife, Mary. Also on
hand from "Hotel" were co-star Merle Oberon and director Richard Quine. Of
course, Conrad Hilton was there, as was his ex-wife, Zsa Zsa Gabor.