It Happened in Hollywood


It Happened in Hollywood

Harry Lachman
USA, 1937
67min, OF

© Viennale

It Happened in Hollywood

Harry Lachman
USA, 1937
, 67min, OF

Richard Dix
Fay Wray
Victor Kilian
Charles Arnt
Granville Bates
William B. Davidson
Arthur Loft
Ethel Hill
Harvey Fergusson
Samuel Fuller
Myles Connolly
Joseph Walker

Columbia Pictures
35 mm

An affectionate valentine to Tinseltown that nevertheless remains clear-eyed about the perils and strange paradoxes of stardom, IT HAPPENED IN HOLLYWOOD was directed by the little known post-Impressionist painter turned Hollywood director Harry Lachman but is better recognized as a striking expression of Samuel Fuller’s first Hollywood career as a successful and always brilliantly imaginative screenwriter. Perennial tough guy Richard Dix is wonderfully cast as a silent cowboy star whose oversized heart gives him trouble when his career plummets with the arrival of sound and he can no longer keep his pledge to a sickly young fan who he had once invited to his now lost cattle ranch. A stand-out climatic scene of a picnic staged with actual stand in extras for the stars casts an ersatz W. C. Fields and Greta Garbo, among others, for a remarkable, almost Surrealist, gag that also gives touching homage to the Dream Factory’s unsung workers. Only Fuller could have invented the film’s eccentrically twisting plot that speaks with unexpected wit and poignancy about the fragile lives of actors washed-up by the ever-shifting tides of Hollywood caprice. (Haden Guest)