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A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio
A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio (1935)
  • Director:
    Ralph Staub
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Joe Traub
  • Cast:
    William Ray,Arthur Aylesworth,Busby Berkeley
  • Time:
  • Year:
This short first shows the audience the entrances of the major Hollywood studios, then visits the Warner Brothers/First National studio. We start at the casting office, then get to see Busby Berkeley and choreographer Bobby Connolly working with chorus girls on production numbers. Then come some candid shots of several contract stars, such as Warren William, Ann Dvorak, and Pat O'Brien. Finally, we see comedian Hugh Herbert filming a scene for an upcoming release.
Complete credited cast:
William Ray William Ray - Narrator (voice)

A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio (1935)

Included in Warner Home Video's 2006 6-disc DVD release "The Busby Berkeley Collection".

Vitaphone production reel #6616.

This short film is included as a bonus on the Warner DVD of 42nd Street (1933).

Here's an interesting curio for movie buffs, a brief "behind the screen" documentary produced at the peak of the Hollywood studio system. Although the short begins with quick shots of each of the major studios (Fox, RKO, Paramount, MGM and Universal) and a few words about each, the bulk of the action takes place on the Warner Brothers lot -- which is only natural, seeing as how this film was distributed by Warners.

At times this short feels like an example of the publicity puffery that filled the fan magazines of the day. The narrator calls Hollywood "the city of magic" and rattles off a few other clichés about aspiring stars and starlets searching for the Aladdin's lamp of success, etc. The home movie-style shots of the stars in relaxed moments also suggests a P.R. exercise: we watch Dolores Del Rio posing for stills, Alice White walking her dog, and James Cagney getting a light for his cigarette from a studio technician while the narrator assures us that Jimmy is a "regular guy." We get a very brief glimpse of choreographer Busby Berkeley at work, and a more extended look at chorus girls rehearsing a dance number that was probably staged for this film.

But when this mini-documentary turns to the technical side of the process it goes into surprising detail, giving the viewer a crash course in state-of-the-art filmmaking as it was practiced on the grand scale in 1935. There is discussion of sound recording technology (still fairly new, of course), the developing and editing of film, and several views of the personnel who handled these tasks, all hard at work. The machinery required for these chores at the time was bulky, elaborate, and fascinating to see.

Ironically, for the purposes of the demonstration these technicians and their devices are put to work on a comic sequence featuring comedian Hugh Herbert that hardly seems worth all the effort. We're told the scene comes from an upcoming feature but it appears to have been staged for this short, and it's not especially funny. So we're left with the impression of all these skilled technicians and their amazing machines expending great effort to bring the world rather lame, hokey entertainment. Something tells me that's not the impression the makers of this little documentary intended to convey.
While "A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio" is easy to skip, for fans of classic Hollywood, it's a must-see.

Although the film was made by Warner Brothers, it begins with a quick overview of the major studios--and shows you some exterior shots of Fox, RKO, Warner Brothers, Paramount, MGM and Universal--all set to the song "You Ought to Be in Pictures". Then, it begins to look within the studio---showing some of the stars of Warner supposedly acting like 'real folks' behind the scenes (I am sure all this was carefully staged). Then the process showing how sound is recorded and then put onto the film strip is shown--and this stuff is pretty fascinating. Additionally, you see clips from some short starring Hugh Herbert.

This is a mildly interesting look behind the scenes and although I doubt if Hugh Herbert applied his own makeup, it all was pretty watchable.
Just watched this short on the 42nd Street DVD. First, we get glimpses of the Fox (before merging with 20th Century Pictures), M-G-M, Paramount, RKO, and Universal studios before landing at Warner Bros.-First National. We then see many stars like James Cagney getting a cigarette from a stagehand, or Pat O'Brien boxing with a former professional. We also see Busby Berkeley and Bobby Connolly choreograph some pretty women through their dances. And then before we see the results of Hugh Herbert's scene, we see how the sound is recorded on film not to mention how the negatives and positives are put together. And then we see Herbert's scene which isn't funny at all and abruptly ends the short. Oh well, the rest has some interest for anyone who likes these rarities.
Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio, A (1935)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Mildly entertaining short from Vitaphone that shows us areal shots of various famous studios including Fox, RKO, Paramount, MGM, Warner and Universal. After these shots from above, we go to the Warner lot where we get to see some behind the scenes stuff including Busby Berkeley directing a scene and Hugh Herbert getting ready to shoot a scene. We also get to see a few stars on the sets just doing everyday things and the stars include James Cagney, Warren William, Pat O'Brien, Ann Dvorak and Dolores del Rio. This is a pretty entertaining little film that's best parts are the shots of the studios high up in the air. Seeing how large these things were and how different they are from one another was pretty interesting. Some of the on the lot footage was pretty good as well and that includes a sequence with O'Brien boxing and Cagney asking a stage hand for a light. There's also a segment talking about how sound is recorded and then put onto film. Fans of early Hollywood will certainly want to check this out for the sights.
We get to see an outside glimpse of various major studios during Hollywood's golden years, including Fox, RKO, Warner Bros., Paramount, MGM and Universal before the film concentrates on the Warner studio.

After a brief background on the cumbersome equipment needed to make movies, including overhead mikes and huge cameras, there's a look at several Warner players going about their business on the Warner lot.

But first, some chorus girls go through their paces rehearsing a number about to be filmed for some unnamed musical under Busby Berkeley's direction.

Then we get a glimpse of several Warner stars in supposedly candid moments on the studio lot. Among these are Pat O'Brien, Jean Muir, James Cagney and Dolores Del Rio. Then there's a bit by Hugh Herbert who goes through a take on one of his upcoming films with material that is decidedly below par.

At the finish of Herbert's act, it's "The End." Uninspired little short subject has really nothing to offer in the way of true entertainment.
. . . at such Ne'Er-Do-Well Hollywood movie lots as MGM and Fox during A TRIP THROUGH A H0LLYWOOD STUDIO (make that half a dozen Tinseltown Film Factories). Though stars such as Jimmy Cagney and Rudy Vallee seem to pop out of the not-yet-moldy PSYCHO shower grout, the most interesting part of this exercise is when things turn technical. When the male narrator begins talking about making positive film from negative strips, as well as transforming sound into light and Vice Versa, all against a backdrop of giant machinery dwarfing the turbines inside the bowels of the Hoover Dam, one can tell that America is primed to win World War Two. Al Einstein's nuclear bomb formula (E = MC squared, which no doubt will be Reclassified as "Tip-Top Secret" by White House Resident-Elect Rump on Jan. 20, 2017) is kid's play compared to all the steps to making a "Talkie" in their early 1930s heydays. Now that America is run by mindless Tweets, it's clear that Chuck Darwin's Theory of Evolution must be Repealed and Replaced. As Rump recently has proved, in the Land of Boob Tube Idiots, the Game Show Host is King.