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Gregory La Cava
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One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
The only possible advantage to being like a god is to possess everything you desire.
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I agree with the reviewer who compares this to GRAND HOTEL....but not nearly as good.
GRAND HOTEL was a marvelous film by MGM and featured the studio's best actors, writers and director...so it's not surprising based on its success that the studio then repeated this great formula with DINNER AT EIGHT. Here with LUXURY LINER, Paramount is trying to piggyback off MGM's success with a similar sort of sophisticated soap opera...but with only fair results. Why were the two MGM films great and this one not even near great? Read on...
Unlike the MGM films, Paramount did NOT pull out all the stops to make this film. It doesn't star their best talent and the film is anchored by the competent George Brent but no one else of consequence. Additionally, the film's writing is completely adequate at best...with too many soapy moments instead of subtlety. The result is only watchable.
The film begins with a German-American cruise ship about to leave for America. Dr. Bernard (Brent) begs a friend to find him a place aboard the ship, as his wife has just left him and is supposed to be aboard. Considering she just left him a terse not and disappeared, you can understand his position. The Captain makes Bernard the ship's doctor and he must attend to 1001 different problems as they arise. In the meantime, you see the stories of several other not especially interesting folks--such as the scheming cute lady who wants to work her way from 3rd class to 1st, the aging industrialist who is just out of prison, the cheating wife, her new boyfriend and much more.
None of the stuff that happens as the film wraps up comes close to being subtle of clever--especially with Dr. Bernard's story. Much of it didn't make any sense...especially when Bernard was ready to claim responsibility for a murder he didn't commit!!! The only story that was a tiny bit interesting was the 3rd class lady who was told "...you may have the rhinestones for nothing...but you'll have to work for the diamonds!" by a lecher! But her story, too, was anything but subtle. So what you have is a salacious but indifferently written time-passer...and nothing more. Very soapy, very moralistic and a bit of a disappointment.
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