Grand Hotel (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

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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Based on Vicki Baum's novel and produced by Irving Thalberg, this film is about the lavish Grand Hotel in Berlin, a place where "nothing ever happens." That statement proves to be false, however, as the story follows an intertwining cast of characters over the course of one tumultuous day. Greta Garbo is Grusinskaya, a ballerina whose jewels are coveted by Baron von Geigern (John Barrymore), a thief who fancies Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford), a stenographer and the mistress of Preysing (Wallace Beery), businessman boss of Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), a terminally ill bookkeeper who is under the care of alcoholic physician Dr. Otternschlag (Lewis Stone). Grand Hotel won Best Picture at the 1932 Academy Awards. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Greta Garbo
as Grusinskaya
John Barrymore
as Baron von Gaigern
Joan Crawford
as Flaemmchen
Wallace Beery
as Preysing
Lewis Stone
as Dr. Otternschlag
Robert McWade
as Meierheim
Purnell Pratt
as Zinnowitz
Lionel Barrymore
as Otto Kringelein
Morgan Wallace
as Chauffeur
Tully Marshall
as Gerstenkorn
Murray Kinnell
as Schweimann
Edwin Maxwell
as Dr. Waitz
Mary Carlisle
as Honeymooner
John Davidson
as Hotel Manager
Sam McDaniel
as Bartender
Lee Phelps
as Extra in Lobby
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Critic Reviews for Grand Hotel

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (7)

Each and every performer in the screened "Grand Hotel" does a remarkable piece of work. To us, Garbo is the supreme of magnificence.

February 17, 2015 | Full Review…
New York Daily News
Top Critic

As it is, the hotel is well filled.

February 17, 2009 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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.

January 29, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Less effective as a movie than as a dazzling parade of star iconography.

December 12, 2006 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Nashville of its day, Grand Hotel's reputation has outgrown its actual quality

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It is a production thoroughly worthy of all the talk it has created and the several motion-picture luminaries deserve to feel very proud of their performances, particularly Greta Garbo and Lionel Barrymore.

May 20, 2003 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Grand Hotel


There's drama afoot in the exclusive halls of the Grand Hotel as the rich and famous cavort to their wont and pleasure. Filmed pre-code, some of yhe drama boldly crosses over into salacious territory: witness as Joan Crawford fields the age old query as to whether she like to "take dictation", and see Greta Garbo dance around in an all but sheer nightgown, heavens! There's very little subtlety here, old style written as if 3rd grade grammar school printing, but, per Thalberg undoubtedly, still a quality presentation. A must for history buffs.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


The kind of wholesome production made in those days but with a fabulous constellation of stars to make it an unforgettable Hollywood classic - especially Joan Crawford and Lionel Barrymore, who are so great that they even manage to outshine the rest of the cast.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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