Cast & Crew
After losing $3,000 on the horses, New York gambler Steve Wiley is threatened with death by Bookie Benny. Steve tells Benny that he has devised a scam which will allow him to repay his entire debt, as he has fixed an automobile giveaway at a local motion picture theater by printing duplicate tickets of the entire lottery. Unfortunately for Steve, the legitimate winner of the red convertible, a film fanatic named Malcolm Smith, is in attendance the night of the drawing. Unable to distinguish the real ticket from its duplicate, the theater manager declares them both winners and insists that they share the car. Learning that Malcolm is obsessed with Anita Ekberg, Steve claims that the Swedish film actress is his neighbor in Hollywood and offers to drive the young man cross-country to meet her. He actually plans to ditch Malcolm and abscond with the car, but each time his plot is thwarted by Mr. Bascom, Malcolm's Great Dane. Realizing that he has little chance of deserting both Malcolm and his dog, Steve telephones Benny from the road and tells him that he will pay his debt after he arrives in Hollywood and sells the car. Having been severely beaten by his boss for failing to secure either Steve or his money, Benny warns the failed gambler that he now has two people looking to kill him. Soon, the convertible runs out of gas after Malcolm fails to fill the tank, and while the two men rest after pushing the car up a hill, it begins to descend with Mr. Bascom at the wheel. The car finally comes to rest on a railroad track, and with the Great Dane's help, Steve and Malcolm manage to push it out of the way of an oncoming train. Later, at Malcolm's urging, they stop for a stranded old woman, who then pulls out a revolver and steals their car. Knowing the convertible will soon run out of gas, they hop aboard a passing car driven by a beautiful young redhead named Terry Roberts and give chase. Unfortunately, Terry's worn-out jalopy quickly falls apart under the strain, and despite Malcolm's efforts to fix it, the vehicle is beyond repair. After recovering the convertible, Terry joins Steve and Malcolm on their trip to the West Coast, as she has a job awaiting her as a chorus girl in Las Vegas. Upon arriving in Chicago, Malcolm happily tells Terry about his lucky streaks and his plans to meet Anita Ekberg, while Steve worries about leaving the city before his gangster friends find him. The quartet then travels through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico before stopping in Arizona, where they visit the Grand Canyon. After Steve sends him to a local farm on the pretext of getting milk so that Steve can try to romance Terry, Malcolm finds himself trapped in a tree by an angry bull. Malcolm attempts some bullfighting moves, but is saved from serious injury by Steve. In Las Vegas, Malcom spies Anita Ekberg, who is there on a short vacation, and Mr. Bascom follows his master's lead by falling for the actress' poodle, but the love-struck fan ruins the moment by knocking Anita into the hotel pool. Nearly broke, Malcolm suddenly gets one of his lucky feelings and turns twenty-five cents into over $9,000 playing craps. Unlucky for Steve, Malcom's winnings become a national news story, attracting the attention of Benny and his boss, who orders Sammy Ross, one of his Los Angeles cronies, to go to Las Vegas and take care of Steve. Steve, who has just become engaged to Terry, fights off the gangster, and the group heads off to Hollywood. After learning that Malcolm has spent their gambling winnings on a diamond necklace for Anita, Steve insists that they sell the car, but the two are so desperate for money that they receive only $1,500, less than half the car's true value. Feeling another lucky streak coming, Malcolm puts down a deposit to buy back the car, only to learn that the price is now $5,000. After sending Terry away, the broken Steve confesses all to Malcolm, including his crooked theater ticket, but the young man forgives him. The two then head to Hollywood Park in hopes of winning enough money to pay Steve's gambling debts, as well as buy back their convertible. Instead, they lose all $1,500 and end up sleeping in the Hollywood Bowl. After reading that Anita is starting a new picture for Paramount Pictures, Steve and Malcolm sneak onto the studio lot in hopes of retrieving the necklace. There, Steve discovers Terry singing in a recording studio, and the two lovers are reunited. After being chased throughout the lot by studio security, Malcolm not only gets back the diamond necklace and the convertible, but Anita as well, as the actress wants Mr. Bascom to co-star in her new film, The Lady and the Great Dane .
Richard P. Alexander
John P. Fulton
Joseph H. Hazen
Paul Francis Webster
Hollywood or Bust
Hollywood or Bust
The original screenplay by Erna Lazarus concerned the adventures of a down-on-her-luck ex-chorus girl and a con man as they made their way to California. It was conceived as a vehicle for Shirley Booth and Humphrey Bogart. By the time Frank Tashlin got through re-tooling it for 'Dean Martin' and 'Jerry Lewis' , it bore little resemblance to the original script. Nevertheless, Lazarus retains the sole writing credit.
The working title of this film was Route 66. Hollywood or Bust includes a prologue in which Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis play tribute to the world's motion picture audience, with Lewis impersonating American, British, Asian, French and Russian filmgoers. A July 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item reports that Richard Morris had been signed to write the screenplay for Route 66, but he was not listed as a contributing writer in the Screen Achievements Bulletin. It was not been determined what, if any, contribution he made to the released film. Hollywood Reporter also reported in August 1955 that director Frank Tashlin was set to begin principal photography on October 15, 1955, but the picture did not begin shooting until April 1956.
According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA approved one song, "That Fortunate Feeling," a duet about gambling by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, which was not performed in the viewed print. Jerry Lewis did, however, sing a hot dog commercial jingle in Hollywood or Bust that was based on the popular children's classic, "Rock-a-bye Baby." No lyricist was credited for that composition in the MPAA/PCA file.
According to modern sources, writer Erna Lazarus had originally written a film story entitled Route 66 about a slick gambler and a forty-ish actress who jointly win a car in a lottery, with Shirley Booth and Humphrey Bogart in mind. Tashlin, however, convinced producer Hal Wallis that the story would be a perfect vehicle for Martin and Lewis. Second unit photography, at various locations throughout the United States, was done from 6 May-May 25, 1956, according to modern sources. Modern sources also state that Hollywood or Bust had the additional working titles of Beginner's Luck and Going Hollywood. In August 1999, Hollywood or Bust was among fifty films selected by Premiere magazine for inclusion on their list of underappreciated Hollywood classics.
This was the final film to feature the popular comedy team of Martin and Lewis. According to modern sources, the situation was so volatile between them during the making of Hollywood or Bust that they had stopped talking to each other, except in character during filming, and that the long-time partners had actually broken up their act prior to the release of the film. In his autobiography, Lewis claimed that the situation was so bad between himself and Martin that he began to fight with Tashlin in order to relieve the tension. In turn, Tashlin actually ordered Lewis off the set at one point, after which the comedian apologized to the director for his behavior. According to a May 21, 1956 interoffice memo from Tashlin to Wallis, reprinted in a modern source, the situation between Tashlin and Wallis was little better. In the memo, Tashlin informed Wallis that he was sure Hollywood or Bust would cut together, despite the producer's negative opinion of the rushes, and if Wallis was unsatisfied with his directing, he should terminate the director's contract.
Following the breakup of their act, Martin and Lewis began highly successful solo careers. Martin continued to be a popular film actor, television personality and recording star for many years. Lewis became a successful actor and director, as well as spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Assocation and host of their annual Labor Day telethon. In 1976, Martin and Lewis made their only public performance together following their breakup when Martin made a surprise appearance on the telethon.
Released in United States August 15, 1986
Released in United States Winter December 1956
Shown at "Truffaut Plus", a Film Society of Lincoln Center Retrospective August 15, 1986.
The last film made by the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Released in United States August 15, 1986 (Shown at "Truffaut Plus", a Film Society of Lincoln Center Retrospective August 15, 1986.)
Released in United States Winter December 1956