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Dinner at Eight (1933)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama  -  12 January 1934 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 5,167 users  
Reviews: 85 user | 45 critic

Affluent Millicent and Oliver Jordan throw a dinner for a handful of wealthy and/or well-born acquaintances, each of whom has much to reveal.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Dinner at Eight (1933)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lee Tracy ...
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Karen Morley ...
Louise Closser Hale ...
Phillips Holmes ...
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Storyline

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 Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 January 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dinner at Eight  »

Box Office

Budget:

$435,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dowager character played by Marie Dressler is reportedly based on actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, for whom George Bernard Shaw wrote the role of Eliza Doolittle in the play "Pygmalion", the basis for the musical My Fair Lady (1964). Mrs. Campbell was legendary for her inappropriate remarks, and she failed dismally in an attempt at a Hollywood film career. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, Millicent tells Oliver, "I see your precious Carlotta Vance arrived yesterday on the Europa." Later, that same day during Carlotta's visit to Oliver's office, she says'"I've been in New York four days and I'm lost." See more »

Quotes

Larry Renault: [Kane, his agent, is breaking the news to him that he's washed up] You're trying to throw a scare into me.
Max Kane: Oh, no. l'm just telling you the truth... You know, you never were an actor. You did have looks, but they're gone now. You don't have to take my word for it. Just look in any mirror. They don't lie.
Max Kane: [Forces Renault to look at himself in a nearby mirror] Take a good look. Look at those pouches under your eyes. Look at those creases. You sag like an old woman! Get a load of yourself! Wait till...
See more »


Soundtracks

I Loved You Then As I Love You Now
(1927) (uncredited)
(From Our Dancing Daughters (1928))
Music by William Axt and David Mendoza
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Five course dinner
3 December 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This film followed MGM's great success of the previous year, "Grand Hotel", as it afforded the studio a showcase for some of its talented stars. "Dinner at Eight" is one of the classic plays of that era, having been written for the stage by George Kaufman and Edna Ferber. The screen adaptation of the play is by Herman Mankiewicz, Frances Marion and Donald Ogden Stewart, some of the best writers the movies ever had. The film, under the impeccable direction of George Cukor makes "Dinner at Eight" one of the classics of the American cinema.

"Dinner at Eight" is a comedy, at heart, but there are elements of drama in it, as well. On the one hand, it offers easy laughter for the viewer, but it also has a dark aspect in its dealing with alcoholism and adultery. The film, like its predecessor, offers several story lines that keeps us interested in the different relationships the film presents for us.

"Dinner at Eight" boasts one of the best casts ever assembled for a movie. Marie Dressler, who is seen as Carlota Vance, was one of the best actresses working in the movies at the time. Lionel and John Barrymore had been seen together in "Grand Hotel" and both play pivotal parts in this film as well. The effervescent Billie Burke is one of the best things in the movie. Ms. Burke was one bright star whose contribution to the success of the films she appeared in was a guarantee for the people behind any project.

Wallace Beery plays the boorish and influential industrialist Dan Packard, a man to be reckoned with. Jean Harlow portrays his wife, the low life Kitty, who was two-timing Dan. In a way, Dan and Kitty seem to have been the prototypes for Garson Kanin's "Born Yesterday" because both characters bear a certain similarity in both films.

The supporting members of the cast are impressive. Edmund Lowe, Lee Tracy, Madge Evans, Louise Closser Hale, May Robson, Jean Hersholt, Karen Morley, and the rest, aside from giving good performances, leave their own mark in the film.

A great cinematographer was behind the camera for this movie: William Daniels. His amazing work is one of the best in any of the pictures he photographed. Mr. Daniels knew how to direct his camera to get the most out of these talented actors one sees in "Dinner at Eight" Of course, this is a film that bears the David O. Selznick signature, for it was he who decided to transform the play into a motion picture and he succeeded in doing it. Most of the creditor must go to director George Cukor, who was truly inspired in making "Dinner at Eight" a movie that has endured the passage of time.


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