Grand Hotel

1932

Drama / Romance

2
IMDb Rating 7.5

Synopsis


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2.15G
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English
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112 min
P/S 1 / 2
1.36G
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English
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112 min
P/S 4 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 10

It&#39;s interesting that the Best Picture of the year before Hitler came to power in Germany, set in Germany, made no mention of the political situation in the country at the time. There was mention of the Depression Germany and the rest of the world was in and all five of the principal players were affected by it, one way or another. John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Greta Garbo, Wallace Beery, and Joan Crawford all check into the Grand Hotel one day and their lives are never the same. <br/><br/>Greta Garbo is the temperamental Russian ballerina Grusinskaya and her artistic tantrums are getting less and less tolerable in many ways because of the Depression. John Barrymore is the aristocrat now living in genteel poverty. His world ended with World War I, but the Depression reduced him to being a sneak thief. Lionel Barrymore is the terminally ill bookkeeper who now just wants to spend his last days living it up. He&#39;s just going to ignore the Depression. Wallace Beery is the Prussian industrialist who&#39;s used to high living having married the boss&#39;s daughter, but his firm as so many others is about to go under unless he can pull off a merger. Lionel Barrymore is one of hundreds who work for him and know what an extremely little man he is, that Beery is really lacking in any real ability for business. Finally there&#39;s Joan Crawford who&#39;s a working class girl, hired as a stenographer by Beery who has other things on his mind for Crawford.<br/><br/>Whether in Germany or America Joan Crawford is the eternal shop girl. To her credit she does not attempt any kind of a Teutonic accent and her performance rings true. This is in complete contrast to Susan and God where she was consciously trying to imitate Gertrude Lawrence from the stage. This was the Depression in America too and many could identify with her.<br/><br/>No one epitomized class and old world elegance like John Barrymore, he was not better on film than here in Grand Hotel. He hates the life that poverty has reduced him to. Using his old world charm as a facade for being a thief tears him inside. Meeting Greta Garbo gives him a last chance at redeeming his life.<br/><br/>Garbo&#39;s performance is one of her best as well. I&#39;m not sure any other actress could have made you sympathize with the temperamental ballerina. In the hands of anyone less skilled, the audience would have sympathized with the management of her ballet company who want to can her. When John Barrymore enters her life he&#39;s like the audience she entertained over the years rolled up in one person who still cares about her the individual. It&#39;s a last chance for happiness for her as well.<br/><br/>Wallace Beery had a funny thing not happened to him in Grand Hotel which I won&#39;t reveal might have been quite comfortable with the regime to come in Germany. Beery is the only one in the film to attempt any kind of Germanic speech and he does succeed in his portrayal of the hateful industrialist Preysing.<br/><br/>My favorite in Grand Hotel has always been Lionel Barrymore. Lionel may very well have been the most talented in the Barrymore family. Playing the gentle, terminally ill Kringelein is light years different from Mr. Potter in It&#39;s A Wonderful Life or Captain Disko Troup in Captains Courageous. Three very different roles yet Lionel Barrymore imprints his personality on every one. A meek little man, he&#39;s got courage enough now, courage that comes when you have absolutely nothing to lose.<br/><br/>Grand Hotel is now 75 years old. The style of acting you see here is old fashioned indeed, no one could remake Grand Hotel today in the same style. It&#39;s melodramatic, but it works. It&#39;s a fascinating look into the last days of the Weimar Republic as seen from the balcony of a suite at the Grand Hotel in Berlin.

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Reviewed by Ron Oliver 10

A world-weary prima ballerina, desperate for love. A noble cat thief, desperate for money. A dying clerk, out on a last fling. His industrialist boss, passionate &amp; brutal. A pretty young stenographer, willing to do almost anything to get ahead. A hotel bell captain, anxious to hear about his pregnant wife. And a cynical, war-scarred doctor. Destiny awaits them all in one of Europe&#39;s most renowned establishments - Berlin&#39;s GRAND HOTEL.<br/><br/>This is considered to be the first `all star&#39; movie. It was certainly MGM&#39;s most opulent film up to that time. The studio loaded it with an A List of star performers: <br/><br/>Greta Garbo, uttering her trademark phrase, `I want to be alone.&#39; Radiant in love, one can only imagine the despair that awaits her after the film ends.<br/><br/>John Barrymore, suave, sophisticated &amp; ultimately tragic.<br/><br/>Lionel Barrymore, in a performance that will stay in your memory, slowly dying.<br/><br/>Wallace Beery in a heavy role, all bullying bluff &amp; bluster.<br/><br/>Joan Crawford, tough as nails &amp; good as gold.<br/><br/>Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, Rafaela Ottiano &amp; Ferdinand Gottschalk all lend sterling support.<br/><br/>There was concern that putting so much talent into one film, instead of spreading the stars out over 4 or 5 films, would lose the studio money. Not to worry. It was a great success, financially &amp; critically. Watch how the plot weaves the threads of the characters&#39; lives into a finished tapestry. One of the great movies. Tremendously satisfying.

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Reviewed by lugonian 7

GRAND HOTEL (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1932), directed by Edmund Goulding, from the stage production by Vicki Baum, marks one of MGM&#39;s most prestigious projects. Other than being one of those rare films from the 1930s to be frequently revived, if not overplayed, on television over the past decades, it has stood the test of time solely due its impressive all-star cast. Of the five major leading actors, feature billing goes to Greta Garbo, MGM&#39;s most important box-office star to date. Unlike other Garbo films, GRAND HOTEL, is not all Garbo. She shares screen time with other top-named MGM performers, ranging from John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and Lewis Stone. The only other major actress to appear in this production is the youthful and down-to-earth Joan Crawford, who, in fact, is on screen more than the legendary Garbo. While many might consider Crawford the best of the two female stars, Garbo, who&#39;s acting style is somewhat different from the others, should be observed and studied. Her role as Grusinskaya, the Russian ballerina, is performed two ways, that of a lonely, depressed dancer striving for success, then, after encountering the Baron (John Barrymore), becomes full of joy and laughter. Watching this transformation on screen is like seeing the two sides of Garbo.<br/><br/>Edmund Goulding directs this 113 minute drama at a fast-pace, starting its opening with overhead camera shots of numerous switchboard operators connecting the incoming calls, followed by the brief introduction of the central characters conversing on the telephone in the hotel lobby: Senf (Jean Hersholt), the head hotel clerk, awaits the news of his wife who is about to give birth to their child; Otto Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), a bookkeeper, diagnosed with an incurable disease who quits his job to enjoy his remaining days to the fullest; Preysing (Wallace Beery), a no-nonsense industrialist staying at the hotel to negotiate a business deal with important clients; Suzette (Rafaella Ottiano), the maid to the famous Russian dancer, Grusinskaya, who expresses concern about her employer; Baron Felix Von Greigern (John Barrymore), an adventurer traveling with his Dachshund dog, desperately in need of money to pay off a heavy debt, planning his latest robbery by stealing valuable jewels from the famous ballerina; and Otternschlag (Lewis Stone), a scarred doctor who walks about the hotel lobby, observing the goings on, and reciting to himself quietly, &quot;Grand Hotel, people come, people go, and NOTHING ever happens!&quot; <br/><br/>Things start to happen as Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford), a stenographer with ambition, is hired by Preysing as his personal secretary. She soon makes the acquaintance of the handsome Baron and the poorly dressed Kringelein. Later that evening, after the lonely and unhappy Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo) leaves the hotel for the theater, the Baron sneaks into her room from the outside window to rob her. After she returns, the Baron, still there, hides himself, only to take notice that Grusinskaya, unhappy, intends on taking her own life. He suddenly appears, telling her he&#39;s one of her biggest admirers. In spite of telling the Baron that she wants to be alone, the Baron remains and confesses everything. How will the Baron be able to get money he so desperately needs? As for the other guests, will Preysing, a married man with two grown daughters who has made Flaemmchen his mistress after working hours, succeed with his business negotiations? Will Flaemmchen continue to get something out of life by not being particular on how she does it? Will Grusinskaya marry her beloved jewel thief Baron or will she go on with her career? Will Kringelein find the happiness he deserves before he succumbs? What will his hotel bill be after checking out from most expensive hotel in Germany? Will that kill him before his illness does?<br/><br/>While GRAND HOTEL could have told its stories in separate installments, it&#39;s done as one film focusing on separate characters through different time frames. Of the central characters, only Senf, the hotel clerk (Hersholt) is the least important, appearing only in a few scenes unrelated to the plot. Lewis Stone&#39;s role is also secondary, but memorable, especially with his opening and closing lines. Wallace Berry, is cast against type, sporting glasses, a short haircut, mustache and the only American actor speaking with a German accent. Lionel Barrymore, sporting a derby, over-sized clothing, thick mustache and glasses, is almost unrecognizable as Kringelein. In fact, he almost comes off best over all the major actors. Although playing a tragic figure, he does have a classic drunken comedy bit, along with a poignant scene where, after winning a large sum of money playing cards, discovers that his wallet containing all his money, is missing.<br/><br/>Fortunately, GRAND HOTEL does not play like a filmed stage play. The art deco and luxurious sets are a sight to behold. And why not? The Grand Hotel happens to be the most expensive and luxurious hotel in Berlin. GRAND HOTEL obviously registered well upon its release. It won the Academy Award as Best Picture of 1931/32. In later years, GRAND HOTEL has become imitated and spoofed many times. MGM remade GRAND HOTEL as WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF (1945), modernizing the story to contemporary New York City with World War II background, featuring its top marquee names of the day: Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon and Van Johnson. It was later adapted into a Broadway musical in the 1990s. Both screen versions are available on video cassette, DVD and Turner Classic Movies cable television. For a good time with a film classic, check in the GRAND HOTEL and see what the stars are doing for the weekend. (****)

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