Iconic Hotel Movies – Part I

Hotels that played a major part in some of the most iconic movies of all times. By Natalia Apostolou | @cinema.monamour

A hotel represents an ideal film set, as it offers endless possibilities of comical misunderstandings, the beginning of a romantic flame or even set the tone for a haunting, unforgettable experience. It is no wonder why many great directors have decided to use a hotel as a core of the plot in some of their most iconic movies, giving the audience many memorable scenes of hilarious wit, nostalgic love affairs and, of course, pure moments of terror!

Here are some of the most important hotel movies that are now considered to be iconic.

Some Like it Hot

Billy Wilder’s 1959 comedy is one of the enduring film treasures, starring the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe, the charming Tony Curtis and the hilarious Jack Lemmon.

The plot of the film is classic screwball comedy. Two musicians disguise themselves as women to avoid being killed by ruthless gangsters. They join an all-girl orchestra on its way to Florida and a series of comical misunderstandings begins.

Marilyn Monroe gives a mesmerizing, utterly sensual performance as she sings in an almost innocent way ‘I wanna be loved by you’ and wears a clinging, see-through dress that makes her look like a sex goddess ready to be loved.

Some Like it Hot was filmed at the historic Hotel del Coronado making Hollywood history. On the Edge of the Pacific, the legendary hotel offers, since 1888, a magical experience for those who want to explore the West Coast.

The film historian Laurence Maslon has brilliantly noted: With the addition of ‘the famously photogenic Del Coronado, it’s easy to see why this movie has stood the test of time.’

Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot)

Monsieur Hulot is a character created and played by French comic Jacques Tati for a series of films in the 1950s and 1960s. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday is a film, released in 1953, that tells the story of Mr. Hulot’s holiday by the sea, in France.

Hulot, as played by Tati, is a tall man smocking his pipe, ‘a creature of silhouettes’, as Stanley Kauffmann observed: ‘There is never a close up for him, and his facial expressions count for little.’ He is the man that one could only see when something goes wrong, as it does often. Everyone around him seems to be busy with their own worlds and their own little holiday plans.

Mr. Hulot seems to lack the ability to start a conversation. This is why ‘Mr Hulot’s Holiday’ is a French film, with hardly any words in it. It plays as a silent film, reminding us the genius work of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, with a sweet-sounding, repetitive melody and half-heard voices. Like Buster Keaton, Tati could also be described ‘as a silent clown’. His approach as Mr. Hulot is brilliant, simply because with his angular posture and apologetic flounce, Hulot seems innocent and totally unaware of the chaos that follows in his wake.

The film combines elements of satire with the grace of the silent great clowns, creating a feeling of nostalgia for past happiness. There are some real laughs in Jacque Tati’s film, but the most important is that Mr. Hulot’s Holiday gives us something rare, an affection for human nature, so odd, so unique, so valuable and so utterly pure.

Watching the film, we cannot help but think about the simplest form of human pleasures: The desire to get away for a few days and maybe relive the nostalgic, lovely feeling of the movie. The beautifully sweet hotel that Mr. Hulot spent his vacations is the Best Western Hotel de la Plage, situated in the seaside city of Saint Marc sur Mer, in France. This hotel is ideal for the ones who want to relax, to breathe in the sea air, to leave all troubles behind, as it happily mixes ‘images of the present and dreams of the past.’

Do you know where two of the most haunting movies ever made were shot? Join us next time to find out!

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