Grand Hotel - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Grand Hotel Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2017
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.
½ February 28, 2017
It's a nostalgic piece at its finest.
February 8, 2017
Could have been a perfect film, but Kringelein was extremely pitiful and obnoxious, to the point I couldn't feel any empathy for the character. Garbo was good, but not great, too much overacting. How Garbo was considered above Joan Crawford (who was perfect on this movie) I can't understand, maybe it was just the celebrity status.
February 5, 2017
Finally watched this movie!
½ December 21, 2016
Over the course of a few days, several people from different backgrounds go to stay at a hotel, where their stories and paths intertwine with each other's. Among these guests include a con artist (John Barrymore), a business man (Wallace Beery), a stenographer (Joan Crawford), and a dancer (Greta Garbo).

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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2016
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.
August 6, 2016
"People come. People go. Nothing every happens."
May 23, 2016
Before watching, I expected an overacted mess of a film. Boy, was I wrong! For a film that was nominated only for best picture, I was not expecting a lot. But with a strong performance by Lionel Barrymore and everyone else, this is a must-see movie!
April 23, 2016
"People come, people go. Nothing ever happens."
April 18, 2015
Obviously influential and surprisingly dramatic, Grand Hotel leaves an impression on you. Almost any movie featuring an ensemble cast owes this 1932 Best Picture Winner a debt of gratitude. Although I do wonder why this film won Best Picture that year when it doesn't have the emotional punch of The Champ, nor does it have the iconic characters like in Scarface. It may seem a little dated now, but Grand Hotel is still worth a watch.
April 13, 2015
Starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore. The most modern of the early Oscar-winning best pictures, this endlessly imitated story traces forty-eight hours in the lives of the guests at the Grand Hotel in Berlin, where, so says the permanent resident Lewis Stone, "nothing ever happens." It's as melodramatic as it could be, but it's also endlessly entertaining -- Garbo uttering the famous statement "I want to be alone," Beery at his menacing best, and some endearing interaction between the brothers Barrymore. Directed by Edmund Goulding.
½ March 31, 2015
Not super impressed with this one. It had its moments but ultimately I can't honestly say that I enjoyed the film.

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.


Bye love you
½ March 13, 2015
The three or four stories don't really connect with each other until the very end, nor are they very thematically linked, but "Grand Hotel" is, regardless, an enjoyable collection of tales told through some strong performances (though this, like "Al Quiet on The Western Front", commits the sin of being set in Germany and being about Germans despite being played mainly by American actors who do American accents, though a few try pretty good German accents). Lionel Barrymore is the standout in a role that is even better than his Oscar-winning performance in "Free Soul"; here he plays a dying man who goes to the mythic Grand Hotel to spend his dying days, and all of his money. His brother John Barrymore plays a Baron who is reduced to stealing hotel guests' pocketbooks so he can pay off a debt, but who falls in love with a ballerina (Greta Garbo, who utters the apparently famous line "I want to be alone" a few times, unspectacularly). There's also Joan Crawford as a stenographer and wannabe actress, and Wallace Beery as the man who hires her. In many respects, though the films aren't really related, this can be compared to The Grand Budapest Hotel - the cinematography, while not as refined and stylized as the technically superior Wes Anderson film, is nevertheless controlled, and there are some creative overhead shots which detail the busyness of the grand hotel. The opening montage, in which each of the five main characters is seen making a phone call, is probably the film's best scene from a visual perspective, but there are lots of entertaining moments due to the strong performances, even if those performances aren't wholly consistent throughout the film.
January 29, 2015
It has a star studded cast, but there is nothing in this movie that is really entertaining or engaging, save for some great scenes between the Hollywood legends.
½ January 3, 2015
Definitely dug deep into the MGM vault w/ this all-star cast w/ the likes of Greta Garbo, Lionel AND John Barrymore, Wallace Beery & Joan Crawford, beautifully acted by all. I confess I wasn't paying attn to every detail in the film, but you don't have to. You'll know what happens. Greta Garbo was HOT! Seriously. John Barrymore was 'Clark Gable-like' handsome...Joan Crawford was cheery (I know, I don't think anyone ever said that about Crawford), but she was. I liked her character the best. Several stories were taking place at the 'Grand Hotel' -- Garbo's a temperamental principal dancer who falls for John Barrymore's "Baron." Joan Crawford's "stenographer" character befriends an accountant down on his luck (Lionel Barrymore) & Wallace Beery's character, a magnate going for his last hoorah...the last line of the film is great: "Grand Hotel, where nothing ever really happens."
½ November 15, 2014
A very interesting movie that I'm glad I took the time to finally watch. Garbo is simply mesmerizing and seems to be on her own planet. Weird that so many of the stars turned down the roles at first and had to be coaxed/persuaded to take part--they're absolutely perfect. It's excellent at capturing a moment in time, with people at vastly different life circumstances, at a top hotel in Germany's greatest city, between the two great wars. Enthusiastically recommended.
½ November 13, 2014
A true classic with a brand new formula -The all star cast... Timeless and Influential--'People Come,People Go'...and a legend is made... An Absolute Gem From Another Era!!
November 11, 2014
The first half is a bit slow and tedious at times and there is some overacting present, but Grand Hotel largely succeeds due to absolutely terrific cast, mostly great characters, some nice issues raised, intriguing setting and subplots, memorable quotes and lines and very charming and warm humor that is there throughout the whole running time.
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