Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Grand Hotel (1932)

Set in a plush Berlin hotel, a variety of guests and employees cross paths: a neurotic ballerina (Greta Garbo), an impoverished Baron (John Barrymore), a stenographer (Joan Crawford), a dying man (Lionel Barrymore), a business tycoon (Wallace Beery), a doctor (Lewis Stone) and a porter (Jean Hersholt). Based on the 1929 novel by Vicki Baum by way of a 1930 stage version by William A. Drake, who adapted his play for the screen. This is perhaps the first of the "all star cast" movies and like most of those types of movies benefits by the actors in the film. It's a decent enough film and one can see why it was so popular. Its cast practically defines star power and screen presence. It's not one of her better performances but Garbo shows why she was one of the biggest stars of the 1930s, she drips charisma like a melting candle. John Barrymore resists the ham here and he's never been more likable or charming and the film contains my favorite Lionel Barrymore performance. Crawford is sexy, charming and her natural acting here is the antithesis of her Iron Maiden years at Warners.  Cedric Gibbon's hotel set is a knock out and Edmund Goulding's secure direction keeps things moving along. Winner of the 1932 best picture Oscar. With Rafaela Ottiano.

No comments:

Post a Comment