Grand Hotel

Grand HotelBBBB.5

(out of 5)


Perfectly enjoyable melodrama that puts a huge assortment of MGM stars in the Grand Hotel for a night and watches them interact and (sometimes) come apart.   tops the pyramid as the Swedish skating star who just ‘vants to be alone’ (though she never really says that), and  is excellent as the secretary who’s a lot prettier under that stenographer’s hat than it at first seems (yeah right, big surprise). Other cast members, including ,  and an assortment of the Barrymores all have stories of their own and they’re all so much fun to peruse. Looks great after sixty years thanks to flashy art deco production design and snazzy costumes by Adrian. The formula was repeated a year later to moderately less success with George Cukor’s Dinner at Eight.


USA, 1932

Directed by Edmund Goulding

Screenplay by , based on the play America by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , ,


Academy Award
Outstanding Production (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)


BIL’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 1932

Believe it or not, somewhere beneath that frightening statue of a 1940s movie icon, Joan Crawford was undoubtedly a human being. Watch any of the many delightful musicals that she made in the 30s (before she was labelled “box-office poison” and made her comeback) and you’ll find the evidence. Most enjoyable is her non-musical but fetching turn as the secretary in Grand Hotel, in which she is shockingly relatable in her delight and desperation. Oscar didn’t have a supporting category for actors yet, and the film went completely unrecognised in all categories except the one that it triumphed in (oddly, Best Picture), but if things were different you can bet she would have at least scored a nomination.

Honour Roll: Mae West, Night After Night


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