Grand Hotel Reviews
So, this movie is one of the first films to feature an all-star cast (for its time) and is one of the first Best Picture Oscar winners. I have been meaning to watch all the Best Picture Oscar winners for some time, so, I was looking forward to seeing this movie.
Let me start off with the positives. The cast is overall very good: I think everyone had at least one scene to shine in their roles that make them easy to remember when watching the film. The actor that surprised me the most was Lionel Barrymore as the dying man. I liked him as Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life", because I think he really fit the role of a grouchy man. Here, he is considerably more vulnerable because he showed more fear and anxiety in trying to live his last few days at the hotel the way he wanted to live it. I also liked John Barrymore, since his character had different sides to him as he interacted with different people, and I think he had great chemistry with all the other main characters he talked with. The dialogue may sometimes sound melodramatic (it is the 1930s, after all), but I think the actors had good delivery to make the movie more entertaining for a while.
With this being a very old movie, there is bound to be pacing issues, and boy, "Grand Hotel" has them. This movie is less than two hours, but it feels longer. I was very engaged for the first hour where we see all these characters and stories mix together. But after the half-way point, I felt that the movie dragged quite a bit. I am not entirely sure what it is, but maybe the melodrama that some of the characters display felt like it was taking too long for the story to make progress.
"Grand Hotel" is a fine film that I would say is worth watching. Particularly for film fans who are interested in older cinema, this is a good place to visit to observe what all-star casts were like back in those days. As a Best Picture winner, I think it is alright: not great, but the performances and mix of the stories (mostly) are what stand out the most.
I guess the importance of this film is that it was the first film to have many main characters with their stories intersecting (seemingly Garry Marshall's recent obsession, with a holiday twist). I absolutely adore that type of filmmaking, so long as the connections make sense and aren't predictable. It worked for this film and I liked that a lot. Another major accomplishment of this film was how it was so star-studded, with a bunch of big actors working together. These two characteristics that made the film a classic were somewhat lost on me because I'm used to them in modern cinema, and better executed at that.
Good subtle character development in the beginning. Less subtle later, but still good. The dialog was very good. Good writing. The performances were great. Still, the story moved too slowly for me and I do need to be at least a little bit invested in the characters to actually care what they do or what happens to them, and I was not invested. I didn't find anyone particularly likable, with maybe a couple exceptions, but overall, I was turned off by how manipulative everything was. The motive behind nearly every action was personal gain at another's expense, and that's gross. Not a fun watch for me, to be honest. I was bored and I was just waiting for it to be over about halfway through. I don't want to watch it again and I don't want to own it ever.
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