Grand Hotel Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2013
Various guests, including an aging dancer, a dying accountant, a business magnate, a beautiful stenographer, and a thief, stay at a posh German hotel.
It takes a long time - perhaps twenty minutes - for this film to get started, and during that exposition I thought that director Edmund Goulding would attempt to pass off the hotel as the main character. However, once the film realizes that John Barrymore and Greta Garbo are in it, it picks up steam on the strength of the performances by these two exceptional talents. The rest of the characters and the setting find their place, and the film gives off an amiable charm. Later it turns sad, but not oppressively so.
Like Nashville and other Robert Altman oeuvre, the film portrays little dramas that might amount only to a recognition of the variance of life and the mercurial nature of fate, but the later director (Altman) developed these themes more clearly and effectively.
Overall, once the film is on its way, it can be charming, but it's too long a wait.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
If I'm not mistaken, this is like the grandaddy of all star-studded ensemble films that features intersecting characters and storylines. The story takes place in the present day (early 1930s) at the Grand Hotel in Berlin. It's a lavish place, and, despite someone saying that is a place where "nothing ever happens" that proves to be far from the truth.

when the story begins ,some of the people caught up in events going on include a destitue Baron (John Barrymore) who spends his time gambling and occasionally thieving jewels, a meek accountant (Lionel Barrymore) who, after learning he is dying decides to spend his remaining days living a life of luxury, his former employer (Wallace Beery) an industrialist at the hotel trying to close an important deal, a stenographer (Joan Crawford) who aspires ot be an actress, and a Russian Ballerina (Greta Garbo) on the verge of a complete meltdown.

Here's some notable bits of info about the movie: it is so far the only film to win the Oscar for Best Picture that wasn't nominated for any other award. Also, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford (the two biggest stars at the time)never share any screen time together as it was believed having them do so would disasterously reult in each one trying to outshine the other.

If you wanna see what a classic Old Hollywood picture (and Old Hollywood royalty) look like, then give this a watch. It's a pretty good little yarn and a fine example of Class A filmmaking from that era.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2011
"Grand Hotel" is an iconic relic. It's an important film because it was the first of it's kind in terms of multiple, interconnected, existential story lines and the first film to gather together a large, star studded ensemble. Since the structure of the film was completely new, the various threads can be derivative and seem more like a series of vignettes than a cohesive whole. But the cast is enchanting and the blending of genres is risky and invigorating. "Grand Hotel" is by no means a perfect film and it's entertainment value can be all over the place, but it's still an intriguing and important motion picture to this day.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2010
If you love old movie stars, you'll want to see this movie. It's got a good number of them, and a good story.
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2007
1932 "grand hotel" shall be one of the most essential popular classic movies of 1930s ever with its starry cast of john barrymore, greta garbo and joan crawford. it's also where garbo utters her legendary "i want to be alone!" along with an admiring barrymore as her consoling escort. it's probably a landmarked feature which epitomizes the star personas of barrymore, crawford and garbo thru parodical romanticization of their screen images under a multi-scaled story of synchronicity. "it's grand hotel, people come, people go, nothing ever happens" the commentary line shall be the metaphor of life, imbued with a sense of literary lyricisim that might be considered cliched nowaday but a ground-breaking triumph in the early period of sound flicks of 1930s.

it's not an easy task to put the story into a concrete term thru words due to its simultaneous plot developements, even they're still in a conventional sort of linear stretch. basically it whirls around the six inhibitants of grand hotel in berlin: the snobbish capitalist, a desperate dying factory worker, a cynical doctor whose face has been marked by the wretched war, a prima donna ballerina who loses her artistic drive, a geogeous but petite stenographer who's willing to sell herself for better money, and of course a gentleman-alike hotel thief in a ergent need of big cashes. the thief (john barrymore) flirts with the beautiful stenographer(crawford) in an unexpected encounter, enchanted by her lively vivacious demeanors. but later when he bumps into the room of the prima donna(garbo) to steal her pearly necklace, he's completely spellbound by her enthreal poise like a fairy goddess into flesh, he's hers. so the thief annuls his mission but determined to seek a way to gather the sum to pay the debt and his travelling expenses with this striking ballerina. somehow fate hasn't favored him, he's beaten to death by the conning capitalist who has harbored a grudge against him. so the woman he loves is leaving the hotel in a carriage without him, and the woman he's once enchanted is heartbroken by it, eloping with the dying elder man for paris in oblivion of his death. the capitalist is served by law, and the doctor mournfully signs "people come, people go, nothing ever happens"

greta garbo is an odd presence to cuckor's "grand hotel" as she shifts her ancient tragic queen persona into this very modern piece of work: she weeps, she frowns, she utters the sorrowful emptiness of life as if everything is a prop of dreams but still she cannot be gratified by the limited caricature of fantasies, longingly grasping something larger than life like most of her screen characters are. what's the thing which could be larger than life? L. O. V. E. that's the archetype of garbo romantic anxiety in her movies with clarence brown like mata hari and anna karenia. when she dives into buttom, miracle happens, her romantic anxiety turns a thief into a gallant knight who suddenly summons the metto to rescue her. audience buys into that becuz it is greta garbo, only things faraway and larger than life fit her. only she could inspires the utmost noble spirit of men. BUT she might histrionically overdo it when she says "i want to be alone!" (is that a joke the scriptor plays on her?)

previously the entrance of joan crawford forms quite a opposite contrast to garbo in her verbal love scene with john barrymore. crawford the stenographer, the earthy surviver with the angst to live, to prosper in the leanest condition of great depression, even she has to eat one meal a day. she smiles gayly, she sneers playfully to the gentlemanly stranger who seems to take a spontaneous interest in her. she flames like a ball of fire to tantalize men, fun and laughes in dance after dance. her sex appeal is a stock at her disaposal for wealth and self-improvement. wouldn't those qualities also be her trademark in crawford's mgm movies like "chained" and "possessed"...she's the dame who grins even when she has nothing from the man she appreciates but a brief flirtation while garbo oozes sadness even when she has everything and a miraculous love interest. strangely greta garbo has no scene together with joan crawford just like the whispers of fancy cannot meet to perish by the grim reality. either these two women have a cat fight over the same man they covet or one's bitter over another as the sour loser. greta garbo also has no scene with wallace beery, lionel barrymore and lewis stone. garbo's section with john barrymore alone seems to be part dissected from the rest unpleasant part of life as a one small garbo episode within a big movie. john barrymore acts the stance of the audience to travel thru dreams to reality, then backward again. that's the evidence of the director's talent to melt different sub-gendres into one grand watchable movie as it does have some unharmonious compositions.

yearning over greta gabo is like craving for the shiny stars above the sky, when you have her, the star falls upon your palm to glitter, to fascinate you into an insatiable state of ecstacy. appreciating joan crawford is like smelling the scents of a wild red rose over the bushes with thorns and un-tidy grasses, you gaze it and observe its rapturous blossom on its own, then you're aroused to pluck it to put into your pocket even it takes efforts. these two are different sorts of cinematic romanticism which has graced me over for years even it's doomed by its existentialist oblivion as life moves on, nothing ever happens.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2008
Grand Hotel, from MGM in 1932 is a who's who of Hollywood. Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, and Lionel Barrymore all shine in this classic. All people collide in the setting of the very sheek Grand Hotel...romance and heart ache are in bloom during the few days in this swanky hotel. You have to see this film if you are a fan of classics.
Super Reviewer
½ June 5, 2006
1930's Classic. Stellar cast Greata Garbo, "I want to be alone", Stellar Cast: John Barrymore, Joan Crwaford "Mommie Dearest" One of the greatest early Hollywood films with inter woven stories that great a grand narrative.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2006
I remember liking it when I saw it a while ago.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2006
One of the greatest "classic" films of all time. This movie has an AMAZING ensemble cast, but the movie belongs to Greta Garbo. She steals it (as she tends to do in most of her films.) It has a dazzling script and is pure Golden-Age Hollywood glory stamped onto celluloid.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2013
Garbo and Barrymore bring life to Grand Hotel whose permanent residents have the most interesting interactions amongst themselves. A well deserved Best Picture Oscar for '32.
Over the Rising Sun
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2010
Highlighted by a talented cast, Grand Hotel carries out it's concept and intertwined plot superbly and manages to capture all of the magic and charm of early Hollywood cinema.

Should this have won Best Picture: Before watching this I was a little put off due to the fact that Grand Hotel was the only Best Picture winner not to be nominated for any other awards; and rightfully so. It would have been nice for a Best Story nomination, but everything else (the direction, the visuals, the acting) is nothing special. Nevertheless, when the film was over, I was fully satisfied, hence my saying that this was a Best Picture well won. 91/100
Super Reviewer
December 14, 2008
1932's 'Grand Hotel' introduces almost an identical scenario that 1933's 'Dinner At Eight' follows as a large ensemble deals with a variety of personal fears, harsh realities, and small triumphs. Both films even share the Barrymores, Lionel & John, and Wallace Beery! 'Hotel' features a dazzling Joan Crawford and the immortal Greta Garbo delivering her most famous line, "I want to be alone!" However 'Dinner' counterpunches with the saucy Jean Harlow and boasts a wittier script, and even though it's the imitator I rank it a half-star higher. Still, 'Grand Hotel' is a grand multi-character study with fine performances and revealing dialogue. I enjoyed John Barrymore's suave baron down on his luck and Garbo's depressed dancer the most, and after a startling tragedy strikes I could hardly bear anticipating how one of them would react to the news.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2009
Classic masterpiece.
Lord Naseby
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2009
I really liked this one more than I thought I would. outstanding performances by the entire cast. I really liked the story as well. I would have to say that I disagree with this film getting only a Best Picture Nomination (this film is the only film to have been nominated for just Best Picture and winning). I would have given it a Best Director nomination and I would have nominated Lionel Barrymore for Best Actor and John Barrymore as well. the cast did a great job. Final Verdict: It's powerhouse performances and great plot made it an enjoyable experience for me. it was right on.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2007
Overrated but it's nice.
November 8, 2013
It has kind of a slow start, but the characters are all interesting. Every actor did a great job, but the best performance hands-down goes to Lionel Barrymore.
½ November 12, 2012
Watched this for the first time last night and truly surprised by how good the writing was in this one. The characters were fun and tragic and sometimes over-the-top, but always so interesting to watch. It's a film that illustrates that the love of money is the root of all evil.
January 16, 2012
not the most interesting film, in my opinion, though it certainly has its strong points. the brothers Barrymore gave very strong performances, particularly Lionel. Joan Crawford was quite charming, although I found Garbo a little on the hammy and melodramatic side. the overall character interaction also plays very nicely given the level of acting talent. my biggest problem is that no story element really stands out or grabs my attention. the romance is pretty bland, the criminal element is pretty bland....about the most interesting plot detail is the Wallace Beery/Lionel Barrymore conflict, but that isn't enough to make an entire movie. an enjoyable enough cinematic experience, but it's not a favorite.
December 11, 2011
Grand Hotel (1932) -- [6.0] -- With Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Hersholt, Wallace Beery, and the Barrymores (John and Lionel), this Best Picture Oscar winner is regarded the grandfather of star-studded showcases. Despite the star power, the performances are mostly over-the-top and border-line annoying. Garbo (uttering her famous line, "I want to be alone") is too aloof and Lionel Barrymore goes way too far with his whiney drunkard character. Crawford's character is more down to earth, and Wallace Beery does a good job as the antagonist of the group.
May 26, 2010
They really lay the heavy drama down on you in this one, but it was still pretty good. How people could really think that Greta Garbo was hotter than Joan Crawford in this movie I'll never know...
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