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Berlin's plushest, most expensive hotel is the setting where in the words of Dr. Otternschlag "People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.". The doctor is usually drunk so he missed the fact that Baron von Geigern is broke and trying to steal eccentric dancer Grusinskaya's pearls. He ends up stealing her heart instead. Powerful German businessman Preysing brow beats Kringelein, one of his company's lowly bookkeepers but it is the terminally ill Kringelein who holds all the cards in the end. Meanwhile, the Baron also steals the heart of Preysing's mistress, Flaemmchen, but she doesn't end up with either one of them in the end... Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Greta Garbo was true to her sometimes aloof and temperamental reputation. Most notably, she detested having any outsiders watching her at work while she was filming and had no qualms about having people removed from the set, no matter who they were. "...it would have been the same if it had been Jesus Christ," said Lionel Barrymore. "She didn't do it to be snotty. She was frightened. She was like a cat that went under the bed when a stranger came into the room." Edmund Goulding agreed. "In the studios she is nervous. "Rather like a racehorse at the post--actually trembling, hating onlookers. At the first click of the camera, she starts literally pouring forth Garbo into the lens." See more »
As Grusinskaya is on the phone (while the Baron is watching), she holds the receiver with different hands between shots. See more »
Baron Felix von Geigern:
[looking down from the sixth-floor balcony over the front desk]
You know, I've often wondered what'd happen to that old porter if somebody jumped on him from here.
I'm sure I don't know. Why don't you try it and find out?
See more »
I've seen "Grand Hotel" at least fifteen times -- more than any other '30s film with the possible exception of two other classics: "King Kong" and Astaire and Rogers' "The Gay Divorcee."
Quite a few others reviewers here have commented negatively on this "creaky" old film. They are correct -- it is -- and yet, who cares? It's utterly wonderful!
The whole cast is superb -- charming, desperate, vulnerable John Barrymore; cynical, sad, appealing Joan Crawford; pathetic, whining, irrepressible Lionel Barrymore; coarse, selfish, all-too-humanly cruel Wallace Beery; and of course, the great Greta Garbo. The supporting cast, led by Lewis Stone and Jean Hersholt, are equally good.
Those who criticize Garbo as over-the-top in her portrayal of the prima ballerina are right. She IS over-the-top, AND she is absolutely glorious, whether wallowing in self-pitying, suicidal despair or radiant as the spring with a new love which astonishes and transports her. What a unique, unforgettable screen presence! What a Goddess!
"Grand Hotel" holds this viewer, anyway, entranced from beginning to end. In addition to the superlative acting, the art deco design is stunning and the music always appropriate.
Creaky? You bet. Do they make movies like this anymore? Nope. Do I wish they did? I sure do.
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