Dinner at Eight
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Dinner at Eight

5.0 1
Director: George Cukor

Cast: George Cukor, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery

     
 
Based on the Broadway hit by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, Dinner at Eight is a near-flawless comedy/drama with an all-star cast at the peak of their talents. Social butterfly Mrs. Oliver Jordan (Billie Burke) arranges a dinner party that will benefit the busines of her husband (Lionel Barrymore). Among the invited are a crooked executive (Wallace Beery),

Overview

Based on the Broadway hit by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, Dinner at Eight is a near-flawless comedy/drama with an all-star cast at the peak of their talents. Social butterfly Mrs. Oliver Jordan (Billie Burke) arranges a dinner party that will benefit the busines of her husband (Lionel Barrymore). Among the invited are a crooked executive (Wallace Beery), who is in the process of ruining Jordan; his wife (Jean Harlow), who is carrying on an affair with a doctor (Edmund Lowe); a fading matinee idol (John Barrymore), who has squandered his fortune on liquor and is romantically involved with the Jordan daughter (Madge Evans); and a venerable stage actress (Marie Dressler), who since losing all her money has become a "professional guest." Nothing goes as planned, due to various suicides, double-crosses, compromises, fatal illness, and servant problems. But dinner is served precisely at eight. The script by Herman Mankiewicz, Frances Marion, and Donald Ogden Stewart is a virtual enclyopedia of witty lines and scenes, right down to the unforgettable closing gag.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
During Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age, MGM’s oft-used slogan to describe its impressive roster of actors was “More Stars than There Are in the Heavens.” And that wasn’t just hyperbole; the Culver City studio really did have most of the top box-office attractions of the era. A passel of them got together under the direction of George Cukor for this glittering 1933 adaptation of an award-winning play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. It exposes the faults and foibles of a variegated group that is supposed to assemble at a New York mansion for a dinner party. John Barrymore, the former matinee idol at the beginning of his long, sad decline, is eerily well cast as a fading movie star whose future holds little promise. His brother Lionel plays a beleaguered businessman on the verge of ruin, while Billie Burke (“the Good Witch” in Wizard of Oz,) registers solidly as a fluttering society matron. Among the other Depression-era luminaries with juicy supporting roles are such extremely talented but (sadly) forgotten actors as Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe, Jean Hersholt, and Karen Morley. But for our money the top honors go to Wallace Beery, playing the millionaire vulgarian hosting the soiree, and luscious Jean Harlow, giving her best comedic performance as the sassy gold-digger who’s hooked him. Harlow -- who never looked better -- is the butt of the movie’s final joke, a devastating one-liner delivered flawlessly by Marie Dressler, another forgotten comedic talent. Cukor’s seemingly effortless fusion of comedy and drama makes Dinner at Eight an unforgettable example of Golden Age filmmaking at its finest.
All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Dinner at Eight is, above all else, about changes: changes in society where graceful old money is about to be supplanted by the new and crass; changes in the motion picture business where talkies turn silent stars into alcoholic has-beens; and changes in industry, where, according to Jean Harlow's brassy Kitty Packard, "machines are taking the place of every profession." After which observation, of course, Marie Dressler, as the grand Mrs. Patrick Campbell-like stage diva, delivers one of the screen's most memorable closing lines, "That my dear," she intones, giving the bleach blonde the once-over, "is something you never need to worry about!" It is a delicious moment in a film positively giddy with such bon mots and brimming with performances as fresh today as they were in 1933. Were Dressler, Harlow, Billie Burke, or the Barrymore brothers ever better? Although director George Cukor and producer David O. Selznick deserved much of the credit, they were, of course, heavily indebted to a sparkling screenplay penned by Frances Marion, Herman J. Mankiewicz, and Donald Ogden Stewart. It is to the credit of all these talented professionals that Dinner at Eight manages to amuse and delight even the jaded audiences of today, in contrast, perhaps, to its equally famous predecessor, the rather overstuffed and decidedly dated Grand Hotel (1932). Although no embarrassment, the 1989 television remake starring Marsha Mason, Lauren Bacall, and Harry Hamlin seemed merely unnecessary.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/01/2005
UPC:
0012569507821
Original Release:
1933
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:51:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Documentary profile Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell, hosted by Sharon Stone; Comedy short Come to Dinner; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français & Español

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marie Dressler Carlotta Vance
John Barrymore Larry Renault
Wallace Beery Dan Packard
Jean Harlow Kitty Packard
Lionel Barrymore Oliver Jordan
Billie Burke Mrs. Oliver Jordan
Lee Tracy Max Kane
Edmund Lowe Dr. Wayne Talbot
Madge Evans Paula Jordan
Jean Hersholt Joe Stengel
Karen Morley Mrs. Wayne Talbot
Louise Closser Hale Hattie Loomis
Phillips Holmes Ernest DeGraff
May Robson Mrs. Wendel, The Cook
Grant Mitchell Ed Loomis
Phoebe Foster Miss Alden
Elizabeth Patterson Miss Copeland
Hilda Vaughn Tina, Mrs. Packard's Maid
Harry Beresford Fosdick
Edwin Maxwell Mr. Fitch, the Hotel Manager
John Davidson Mr. Hatfield, the Assistant Manager
Edward Woods Eddie
George Baxter Gustave the Butler
Herman Bing The Waiter
Anna Duncan Dora the Maid
May Beatty Actor
Herbert Bunston Actor

Technical Credits
George Cukor Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
William Axt Score Composer
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Hobe Erwin Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Fred Hope Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Ben Lewis Editor
Herman Mankiewicz Screenwriter
Frances Marion Screenwriter
David O. Selznick Producer
Donald Ogden Stewart Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [2:00]
2. The Jordans [4:54]
3. Carlotta's Woes [4:26]
4. Bygone Days [4:28]
5. Down to Business [4:30]
6. Kitty Packard [4:51]
7. Go Lay an Egg [3:59]
8. Doctor Darling [2:19]
9. Extra Man [2:43]
10. Larry Renault [5:13]
11. The Loves of Larry [4:00]
12. Pushover Part [7:06]
13. Short of Cash [3:13]
14. Dr. and Mrs. Talbot [:06]
15. Jordan's Condition [5:46]
16. Servant Trouble [3:23]
17. Fateful Transactions [1:42]
18. Half Out of Her Mind [5:29]
19. Gasbag vs. Alley Cat [2:31]
20. Bitter Truth [7:53]
21. Down and Out [6:50]
22. Final Curtain [2:56]
23. Guests Arrive [3:30]
24. Terribly Final News [5:12]
25. We'll Economize [3:47]
26. Not Every Profession [5:04]
1. Introduction and Credits [3:22]
2. Pushed Into Movies [3:12]
3. Hell's Angels [5:23]
4. The Beast of the City [2:05]
5. Red-Headed Woman [4:33]
6. Paul Bern Scandal [4:50]
7. Reckless [3:05]
8. Red Dust [2:06]
9. Dinner at Eight, Bombshell [4:19]
10. Changing Image [4:45]
11. Libeled Lady [2:08]
12. Saratoga... and Tragedy [4:10]
13. Forever Young [2:00]
14. End Credits [:56]

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Dinner at Eight 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago