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Millicent Jordan is pre-occupied with the plans she is making for a high-class dinner party. Her husband Oliver is in failing health, and he is also worried because someone is trying to buy up the stock in his shipping business - even his old friend Carlotta wants to sell her stock. Hoping to get help from businessman Dan Packard, he persuades Millicent, against her wishes, to invite Packard and his wife to the dinner. As Oliver's problems get worse, Millicent is increasingly quick-tempered because the plans for the party are not going smoothly. As the time for the dinner approaches, it appears that the hosts and the guests will all have plenty on their minds. Written by
A flamboyant old actress with memories of lovers long dead. An alcoholic actor desperate for one more chance on the stage. An Oklahoma tycoon and his below-the-tracks, tough as nails wife. A philandering doctor and his faithful wife. They're all invited to meet tonight at the mansion home of a dying industrialist and his flighty, society-obsessed wife for DINNER AT EIGHT.
Following the great success of GRAND HOTEL in 1932, MGM & producer David O. Selznick embarked on producing an even greater all-star triumph. They succeeded. DINNER AT EIGHT takes a first class list of performers at the top of their form (Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Billie Burke) and seamlessly, if a bit implausibly, weaves a plot full of comedy & tragedy which allows each star to strut their stuff.
Dressler was Hollywood's top star at this time and she is wonderful, fingering her jewelry - each piece a remembrance of an ancient romance. She has only one scene with gorgeous Harlow and that comes at the very end of the film, but it's a classic.
The rest of the cast is a wonderful grab bag of talent: peppery Lee Tracy, elderly Louise Closser Hale, gentle Jean Hersholt, as well as Phillips Holmes, Edmund Lowe, Karen Morley, Madge Evans, Grant Mitchell, Elizabeth Patterson, May Robson, Herman Bing.
Take a moment to consider Edward Woods, playing Eddie the bell boy. The year before at Warner Brothers he had traded roles with James Cagney in a little picture called PUBLIC ENEMY. Cagney became an instant, huge celebrity. Woods continued to play bell boy roles...
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