The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Poster


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Unlike most films, every time a newspaper article appears it has a detailed and complete depiction of the events in the headline.
In an interview, Saoirse Ronan admitted that making the hotel's signature confection, the Courtisane au Chocolat, wasn't easy. "Forget the action scenes in Hanna (2011)," she said, "these little pastries were the hardest thing I've had to do in a movie."
Tilda Swinton spent hours in the makeup chair to play 84-year-old dowager Madame D. "We're not usually working with a vast, Bruckheimer-type budget on my films, so often we're trying a work-around," said Wes Anderson. "But for the old-age makeup I just said, 'Let's get the most expensive people we can.'"
The name of the fictional Republic of Zubrowka comes from the Polish vodka Zubrówka. It's the brand of rye vodka, seasoned with bison grass and renowned in Europe.
According to Wes Anderson, the whole cast stayed in the same hotel--Hotel Börse in Görlitz--during the film's principal photography. He insisted on all make-up and costume fittings happen in the hotel lobby to speed up filming. The owner of Hotel Börse appears in the film as an extra working on the front desk of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and after filming finished for the day the crew would often return to find him at the front desk of their own hotel.
According to "Variety", Fox Searchlight Pictures sent its specification for the film's "proper projection" to theaters before its release. Although this film was shot in three different aspect ratios (1.37, 1.85 and 2.35:1) to inform viewers where they are in the time line, which alternates between 1985, 1968 and the 1930s, instructions state in large, bold red font that the film is meant to be projected in 1.85:1 aspect ratio (the standard). Aside from the projector setting, the directions include information on framing the picture, image brightness, audio configuration and fader setting.
In an interview with NPR, Wes Anderson said about finding filming locations, "We found this department store in this town called Görlitz, which is in Saxony. Half of Görlitz is in Germany, the other half is in Poland. It's on the border. And it's about 20 minutes from [the] Czech Republic. So, in a way, it's really right where our story would be, if there was such a place as the one in our story. And this department store that we found, we made into our hotel, the big entrance hall of our hotel, and then we found everything else for the movie within a certain kind of radius of that department store."
The cast includes four Oscar winners--Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Fisher Stevens and F. Murray Abraham--and 11 actors who were nominated for an Oscar (not necessarily in the acting category): Bill Murray, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban, Tom Wilkinson, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan and Ralph Fiennes.
Johnny Depp was Wes Anderson's initial choice for the role of M. Gustave.
Wes Anderson's seventh collaboration with Bill Murray.
The appearance and style of F. Murray Abraham's Mr. Moustafa is based on prolific American writer and professor Harold Jaffe. Wes Anderson is an admirer of his work.
The erotic painting that replaces "Boy with Apple" for a while is in the style of the early 20th-century Austrian painter Egon Schiele. However, it is not an actual Schiele painting; Wes Anderson actually commissioned the painting from Boston-based painter and illustrator Rich Pellegrino. Pellegrino first came to Anderson's attention because Pellegrino is a regular contributor to "Bad Dads," an annual exhibit in San Francisco of artwork inspired by the movies of Anderson. The official title of Pellegrino's Schiele-like painting that appears in this film is "Two Lesbians Masturbating."
As of January 2015 this is the highest-grossing film of Wes Anderson's career, grossing $175 million worldwide. It was also the highest-grossing independent film of 2014 and the highest-grossing limited-release film of 2014. In its first week it grossed over $811,000 in just four theatrical screenings, averaging $202,000 per screen.
The soundtrack features a rare instrument--the balalaika, a triangular-shaped Russian folk instrument that was carefully chosen by Wes Anderson. Its triangular body and three strings come in various sizes, much like the violin, from prima to contrabass. Several dozen players from France and Russia gathered in Paris to record the soundtrack in Anderson's presence. The instrument is heard throughout the movie but is most prominent in the second part of the official trailer (down the ski slopes) with the balalaika's most popular theme, "The Moon Shines" (svetit mesyats).
The first Wes Anderson movie to win an Oscar.
Bill Murray's character's name can be read in Hungarian as "Mi van?" which means: "What's going on?".
In addition to this film, Edward Norton starred in Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014). Both films led the 2015 Oscar nominations with nine each.
Jeff Goldblum plays Vilmos Kovacs, a tribute to cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond and László Kovács.
Ludwig's (Harvey Keitel's prisoner character) tattoos are a direct copy of the character of Pere Jules in the 1934 film L'Atalante (1934). The MAV tattooed on his left arm is the abbreviation of the French saying "morts aux vaches", which translates roughly to "death to the pigs/police".
In an interview with Stefan Zweig's biographer, Wes Anderson singles out two of Zweig's books, "Beware of Pity" and "The Post Office Girl" as ones from which this film Jas elements "that were sort of stolen . . . ". He also states, "Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself--our 'Author' character, played by 'Tom Wilkinson', and the theoretically fictionalized version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modeled significantly on Zweig as well."
Angela Lansbury was originally cast as Madame D. She had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with the stage production of "Driving Miss Daisy".
The film contains several references to Agatha Christie's mysteries, including naming a character Agatha. Specifically referenced is "4:50 from Paddington," a Miss Marple Mystery. In that book, the word "tontine" is used as a clue; a body is found in a sarcophagus; and there is a family lawyer who deals with the will of an elderly person who has died and the family wants the money divided up.
The birthmark in the character Agatha's cheek is in the shape of Mexico, as was stated during the film.
Every male character has facial hair of some sort
The fictional painter Johannes van Hoytl the Younger (1613-1669) is based on a combination of Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) and Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553).
The Art Museum that Kovacs hides in is in fact the Zwinger in Dresden, Germany. The Zwinger was built as an orangery, garden and festival area, but is used as an art museum nowadays.
Alexandre Desplat's Oscar for Original Musical Score marks the first time a comedy has won the award since Shakespeare in Love (1998), though in that year the Academy had two categories for score (Dramatic Score and Comedy Score) and the first comedy score to win without two categories ever since One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937).
The traditional "Fox Fanfare" is not heard in the film's opening titles.
When Jopling is examining Agatha's picture on his deck, the insignia of the Zig-Zag division next to the photo is of similar design of the one belonging to the Nazi SS.
Zero is named for Zero Mostel.
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Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton and Harvey Keitel have all appeared together in the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Red Dragon (2002).
Gustave's prisoner number is 112, the emergency response number for most of Europe.
JG Jopling has a concealed Browning Model 1910 pistol strapped to his jacket, and a Colt M1911 pistol laying on his desk, but never uses either in the movie.
Jean Dujardin and Vincent Cassel were considered for the part of Serge X.
Skotak from Moonrise Kingdom (2012) is also seen in this film playing Otto the new lobby boy.
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The tattoo M.A.V. on Harvey Keitel's character's left upper arm is similar to the abbreviation of the Magyar Államvasutak (Hungarian State Railways) - MÁV in Hungarian.
Jeff Goldblum plays Deputy Kovacs. Goldblum played comedian Ernie Kovacs in Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984).
Reunites Bill Murry and Saoirse Ronan, who previously co-starred in City of Ember (2008).
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The film has three actors who have appeared in James Bond films. Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall (2012), Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace (2008)) and Léa Seydoux (Spectre (2015)).
Second film with Tom Wilkinson involving the stealing of a painting; the other one is RocknRolla (2008). Both films are also comedies.
M. Gustave does not appear until nearly 10 minutes into the film.
Connection with The English Patient (1996): Ralph Fiennes's character in "The English Patient" grew up in Budapest.
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The film re unites five cast members from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004); Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Waris Ahluwalia.
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Jean Dujardin:  a German gunman in the hotel shootout scene.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

M. Gustave and Zero replace the painting "Boy with Apple" with a painting in the style of Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918).
In the wedding scene, the snowy rock formation in the background is the Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz) in the region of Saxony, Germany.
Zero leaves Agatha a note revealing the hiding place of "Boy With Apple," and he advises her that it is "in code." The note really consists of straightforward directions to the hiding place, with some letters flipped backwards so that an E looks like a 3, an S looks like a Z, etc. The note is shown in close-up only for a few seconds, but is plainly decipherable.
There were rumors that George Clooney makes a cameo during the shootout scene in the hotel but this is incorrect.
The picture "Boy with Apple" can be seen printed in various locations throughout the hotel such as on the back of the menu when Zero is ordering dinner and champagne and begins to tell his story.
At the end of the movie when Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and the Young Writer (Jude Law) are done talking, they walk to the front desk to get their keys. At this moment you can see the painting "The Boy With Apple" hanging between all the keys. This means Lobby Boy never sold it.
When Jopling (Willem Dafoe cuts off four fingers from Kovacs' hand, it calls to mind the scene in The English Patient (1996) where Dafoe's character has his thumbs cut off.
Body Count: 12.
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