Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

4.5 8
Director: Edmund Goulding

Cast: Edmund Goulding, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford

     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
During the Great Depression, MGM had many of Hollywood's top talents under contract, and the studio's slogan was "More stars than there are in the heavens." Producer Irving Thalberg certainly gave moviegoers something heavenly in Grand Hotel, a Continentally flavored drama boasting a magnificent cast and glamorous settings. Vicki Baum's bestselling novel -- remade, reworked, and plagiarized many times in later years -- provided the basis for this 1932 story set in a posh Berlin hotel where, as one character observes, "nothing ever happens." Greta Garbo, at that time the screen's most alluring and enigmatic female star, portrays a lonely, mercurial ballerina who is drawn to debonair jewel thief John Barrymore. Joan Crawford delivers what is arguably her first great performance, portraying an ambitious stenographer working for hard-hearted businessman Wallace Beery. Rounding out the quintet of stars is Barrymore's older brother Lionel, sublimely moving as the mild-mannered hotel clerk who goes on a spree when he finds out that he's dying. Others passing through the hotel include Lewis Stone and Jean Hersholt, who were stars in their own right but nowhere near as prominent as the five principals. The seamless integration of several subplots can be attributed to Edmund Goulding's smooth direction, just as credit for the production's general opulence goes to Thalberg, whose judgment was as sound as his taste was extraordinary. He championed lavish expenditures on films as a means of making them larger than life, and thus more appealing to Depression-weary audiences looking for a couple hours' escape. Thalberg succeeded admirably with Grand Hotel, which not only proved critically and commercially successful but also won that year's Best Picture Oscar. In format and style it's often been imitated but rarely equaled, and even today Grand Hotel remains a powerful viewing experience.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Grand Hotel is the prototype for the all-star ensemble film and an excellent example of the rich and glamorous escapist entertainment, often from MGM, that took on enhanced prominence during the Depression. Produced by Irving Thalberg using top-end ingredients and state-of-the-art technology, it is yet another example of MGM's dominance during the 1930s for this type of film. The plot exists merely as a device to get star faces on the screen, particularly that of Greta Garbo. Though only moderately respected by the critics, Grand Hotel has proven itself of enduring influence, both for Garbo's performance and for creating star-heavy blockbusters that peaked in the 1950s with Around the World in 80 Days.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/06/2005
UPC:
0012569675162
Original Release:
1932
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
Time:
1:52:00
Sales rank:
5,546

Special Features

Closed Caption; New documentary Checking Out: Grand Hotel; Premiere newsreel; Vintage musical short Nothing Ever Happens; Just a Word of Warning theatre announcement; Trailers of this and the 1945 remake Week-End at the Waldorf; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français & Español

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Greta Garbo Grusinskaya
John Barrymore Baron Felix von Geigern
Joan Crawford Flaemmchen
Wallace Beery General Director Preysing
Lionel Barrymore Otto Kringelein
Jean Hersholt Senf
Robert McWade Meierheim
Purnell Pratt Zinnowitz
Ferdinand Gottschalk Pimenov
Rafaela Ottiano Suzette
Morgan Wallace Chauffeur
Tully Marshall Gerstenkorn
Frank Conroy Rohna
Murray Kinnell Schweimann
Mary Carlisle Honeymooner
John Davidson Hotel Manager
Herbert Evans Clerks
Lee Phelps Extra in Lobby
Rolfe Sedan Actor
Edwin Maxwell Dr. Waitz
Sam McDaniel Bartender
Lewis Stone Dr. Otternschlag

Technical Credits
Edmund Goulding Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
William A. Drake Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Jean Hersholt Original Story
Blanche Sewell Editor
Irving G. Thalberg Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Grand Hotel
1. Credits [1:38]
2. Phone Activity [3:22]
3. Nothing to Conceal [2:33]
4. An Expensive Room [4:04]
5. Flirting With Flaemmchen [5:04]
6. Kringelein's Invitation [2:49]
7. Grusinskaya Emerges [6:23]
8. Nasty Man [2:33]
9. Manchester's Out [3:18]
10. Thief in the Night [2:56]
11. Dancer's Despair [4:28]
12. Someone Who Could Love You [3:33]
13. Drunken Return [2:46]
14. Heated Negotiations [3:40]
15. Thief and Lover [4:21]
16. Positively Radiant [4:07]
17. Deal Off... and On [5:58]
18. The Real Thing [3:24]
19. His Own Master [6:10]
20. Gambles Ahead [5:25]
21. All the Luck [4:11]
22. The Greater Need [3:06]
23. In for the Night [3:46]
24. Nothing Hanging Over [2:31]
25. Caught in the Act [3:06]
26. Murder in 166 [3:13]
27. No Answer [2:42]
28. Departures [2:49]
29. Good-Time Companions [3:43]
30. The Baron has Gone [2:04]
31. A Child has Come [1:55]
32. Nothing Ever Happens [:44]

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Grand Hotel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Grand Hotel' is an all star extravaganza ¿ the first of its kind ¿ that follows the intimate goings on of guests staying at Berlin's posh resort. There is the high strung, temperamental ballerina (Greta Garbo), the sassy vamp-like stenographer (Joan Crawford), the boorish industrialist (Wallace Beery), the fatally stricken laborer (Lionel Barrymore) and the devilishly handsome baron (John Barrymore). These seemingly separate lives crisscross - some happily so, others with tragic circumstances - all thoroughly absorbing and brilliantly performed and realized. At the time of its release 'Grand Hotel' was the first movie to feature more than one star above the title credits. After years of looking as though the camera negative had been fed through a meat grinder, this DVD is a considerable improvement. Having said that, a lot of work remains to get this one looking up to par. Solid blacks are about the best thing on this DVD. Contrast levels appear too low in many of the scenes. There are a considerable number of age related artifacts and quite a bit of film grain present. Edge effects, aliasing and shimmering of fine details make for a very harsh looking visual presentation half way through. The audio has been extensively cleaned up but continues to exhibit considerable hiss. If this is a special edition it's one of the poorest I've seen. Some featurettes are included that round out the history too briefly of this classic film. 'Grand Hotel' is undeniably engrossing entertainment. The transfer is NOT up to snuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I watched this movie expecting to see women dependent upon thier boyfriends and egocentric men. Not so with Grand Hotel. Lionel Barrymore's character is a riot to watch as he is so out of place and yet having the time of his life. Joan Crawford is radient and saucy like many favorite characters are today. Watching this movie is like taking a vacation yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford and Wallace Beery give excellent performances in this story about a group of guests at a Berlin hotel who are all oblivious to each other until their lives begin to slowly intertwine. Supposedly nothing ever happens at this hotel...yeah right! Garbo's character is on the verge of suicide, John Barrymore plays a baron who is in desperate need of money, Joan Crawford is a woman deciding if she should be a secretary or high class prostitute, Lionel Barrymore is a dying man living it up for the first time in his life and Wallace Beery is the cold, unscrupulous business magnate with designs on Joan Crawford's character, Flaemmchen. This is one of the best films to come from the 1930's as well as from MGM. In this classic film all of the actors shine in a way that makes one long for the good old days of Hollywood when art not box office revenue was the focus. All of their performances are right on the mark with Garbo and Crawford both radiant, the Barrymore brothers are in top dramatic form and Wallace Beery at his best as unscrupulous Mr. Preysing. This is a classic film that should not be missed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film stars, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford and Wallace Beery as guests at a swanky hotel in Berlin where nothing ever happens. By watching this film you can see that is quite the opposite. This is a terrific film with a great cast and strong performances. It makes the viewer feel like they know each of the guests as if they were friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jake429 More than 1 year ago
This film was absolutely fantastic. The mere star power almost bowled me over: Greta Garbo, the great John Barrymore, Jean Hersholt, Lewis Stone, Wallace Beery, Joan Crawford, and more!! The drama and intrigue surrounding the Grand Hotel is made up of individual lives of those who live and work inside the hotel. Those individuals weave in and out of each others lives in such a seamless way that the film ranks tops in my list for astounding script writing. John Barrymore and Greta Garbo create such an excellent chemistry in their love together on the screen that you will find it hard not to buy this movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago