Grand Hotel (1932)
Critic Consensus: Perhaps less a true film than a series of star-studded vignettes, Grand Hotel still remains an entertaining look back at a bygone Hollywood era.
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as Baron von Gaigern
as Dr. Otternschlag
as Otto Kringelein
as Dr. Waitz
as Hotel Manager
as Extra in Lobby
Critic Reviews for Grand Hotel
Each and every performer in the screened "Grand Hotel" does a remarkable piece of work. To us, Garbo is the supreme of magnificence.
A commercial picture of high box office potential, first by assembling the most impressive aggregation so far of strictly Bradstreet screen names, and then by filming the play practically unaltered in form.
Less effective as a movie than as a dazzling parade of star iconography.
The Nashville of its day, Grand Hotel's reputation has outgrown its actual quality
Audience Reviews for Grand Hotel
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.
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.
"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.
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