IMDb > Dinner at Eight (1933)
Dinner at Eight
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Dinner at Eight (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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Dinner at Eight -- Trailer for this big screen version of the stage triumph

Overview

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7.8/10   5,348 votes »
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Up 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Frances Marion (screen play) and
Herman J. Mankiewicz (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Dinner at Eight on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 January 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
A starry showcase (and all but grand exit) for consummate scene-stealer Dressler See more (87 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
George Cukor 
 
Writing credits
Frances Marion (screen play) and
Herman J. Mankiewicz (screen play)

George S. Kaufman (from the Sam H. Harris stage play by) and
Edna Ferber (from the Sam H. Harris stage play by)

Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue)

Produced by
David O. Selznick .... producer
 
Original Music by
William Axt (musical score by) (as Dr. William Axt)
 
Cinematography by
William H. Daniels (photographed by) (as William Daniels)
 
Film Editing by
Ben Lewis (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Hobe Erwin 
Fredric Hope  (as Fred Hope)
 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joseph M. Newman .... assistant director (uncredited)
Cullen Tate .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Charles E. Wallace .... sound mixer (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Frank Tanner .... still photographer (uncredited)
Harvey White .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Chester W. Schaeffer .... assistant film editor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Sam Harris .... producer: stage play (as Sam H. Harris)
Howard Dietz .... general press agent (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
111 min (Turner library print)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Canada:G (video rating) | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1934) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #2284-R: 15 May 1936 for re-release) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Max Kane's line, "How's the great profile." is an inside joke. Barrymore was known on stage as "The great profile." Hattie also remarks, "He has the most heavenly profile."See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: As Dan is talking to her, Carlotta holds her suddenly unlit cigarette in her left hand. As she crosses to the door to exit, the cigarette shifts to her right hand and is lit again.See more »
Quotes:
Millicent Jordan:You're joking! Ask that common little woman to the house with that noisy, vulgar man? He smells Oklahoma!See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Hollywood: The Selznick Years (1969) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
I Loved You Then As I Love You NowSee more »

FAQ

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68 out of 75 people found the following review useful.
A starry showcase (and all but grand exit) for consummate scene-stealer Dressler, 17 August 2004
Author: bmacv from Western New York

Among the great actresses who have helped to illuminate the silver screen, Marie Dressler may be Chateau d'Yquem – a grand premier cru, in a class all her own. As aging star of the theatuh Carlotta Vance, a living relic of the 'Delmonico' era in New York, she walks away with an immortal movie, as entertaining a contraption as the studio system ever confected. And she does it effortlessly, despite some very tough competition – the most lustrous talent MGM could summon in the worst year of the Depression, and maybe the best it was ever able to gather together in the many constellations it assembled.

Dressler heads a large ensemble cast, with several distinct but interlocking stories, all leading up to (but never quite making) a posh dinner party at the mansion of Billie Burke, wife of shipping magnate Lionel Barrymore. Desperately trying to snag (the unseen) Lord and Lady Ferncliffe – moldering aristocrats she once met at Cap d'Antibes – Burke bullies and badgers everybody she can think of to seat a swank table. Worrying about nothing so much as how 'dressy' the aspic will be – it's the British Lion molded out of a quivering gelatin – she's oblivious to the human dramas whirling around the people on her guest list.

For starters, her husband is not only seriously ill but close to bankruptcy, to boot. Down in his nautical offices on The Battery, he's paid a visit by an old (and older than he) flame, Dressler; a bit down on her luck herself ('I'm flatter than a pancake – I haven't a sou'), she wants to sell her stock in his company. Another visitor, one of the sharks circling around to feast on his bleeding empire. is Wallace Beery, a loud-mouthed boor whom Barrymore nonetheless cajoles Burke into inviting, against her snobbish sensibilities. Beery, a politically connected wheeler-dealer, has problems of his own, namely his wife Jean Harlow. She lounges luxuriously in bed most of the day, changing in and out of fur-trimmed bed jackets and sampling chocolates while waiting for her doctor-lover (Edmund Lowe) to pay another house call under the pretext of tending to her imaginary ailments.

Burke's and Barrymore's young daughter, meanwhile, conceals a clandestine affair with 'free, white and 45" marquee idol John Barrymore, a washed-up drunk whose grandiose airs can't even fool the bellboys he sends out for bottles of hooch (a storyline in the screenplay, co-written by the also alcoholic Herman J. Mankiewicz – from the George S. Kaufmann/Edna Ferber stage hit – that can't have been comfortable for the similarly afflicted Barrymore, who's even referred to in the movie by his emblematic sobriquet 'The Great Profile').

Those are the major strands of the story, but there's even more talent on board: Louise Closser Hale as Burke's pithy cousin; May Robson as the cook in charge of the ill-starred aspic; Lee Tracy, as John Barrymore's exasperated agent; and, deliciously, Hilda Vaughn as Harlow's mercenary maid.

The goings-on range from the farcical to the tragic, and for the most part, the cast does proud in coping with the often drastic shifts of tone (true, some episodes carry more weight than others, some players less inspired than their colleagues; it's an episodic movie, at times dated, from the infancy of talkies when scenes were not a snappily edited few seconds but prolonged and often stagy).

Still, in this starry cast, Dressler shines brightest. A Canadian gal who started in the circus, she worked in vaudeville, theater, and, in the last few decades of her life, in Hollywood. Despite her girth and the delapidations gravity had worked on her face, she's never less than transfixing. She tosses off the requisite comedy as effortlessly as that oldest of pros that she had become, yet can draw the camera to her deeply kohled eyes when she imparts some very bad news and turn it into a few seconds of threnody. (Only Barbara Stanwyck commands so boundless a range, which we have the luxury of observing over several decades of her career; what survives of Dressler dates only from her few last years.) Dressler would make but one more movie before her death, but it's chivalrous to think of Dinner At Eight as her grand exit.

As Dinner At Eight winds down, the aspic never makes it to table, nor do some of the expected guests. But life plods on, if capriciously and unfairly. Burke, at the end of her tether, utters a plangent cry that sums up man's impotence against the cruelty of fate: 'Crabmeat...CRABMEAT!'

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