Grand Hotel (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

Grand Hotel (1932)

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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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Movie Info

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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Cast

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…
Variety
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

½

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

½

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

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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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