Grand Hotel (I) (1932)
10/10
Check Into This Establishment
9 February 2000
A world-weary prima ballerina, desperate for love. A noble cat thief, desperate for money. A dying clerk, out on a last fling. His industrialist boss, passionate & brutal. A pretty young stenographer, willing to do almost anything to get ahead. A hotel bell captain, anxious to hear about his pregnant wife. And a cynical, war-scarred doctor. Destiny awaits them all in one of Europe's most renowned establishments - Berlin's GRAND HOTEL.

This is considered to be the first `all star' movie. It was certainly MGM's most opulent film up to that time. The studio loaded it with an A List of star performers:

Greta Garbo, uttering her trademark phrase, `I want to be alone.' Radiant in love, one can only imagine the despair that awaits her after the film ends.

John Barrymore, suave, sophisticated & ultimately tragic.

Lionel Barrymore, in a performance that will stay in your memory, slowly dying.

Wallace Beery in a heavy role, all bullying bluff & bluster.

Joan Crawford, tough as nails & good as gold.

Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, Rafaela Ottiano & Ferdinand Gottschalk all lend sterling support.

There was concern that putting so much talent into one film, instead of spreading the stars out over 4 or 5 films, would lose the studio money. Not to worry. It was a great success, financially & critically. Watch how the plot weaves the threads of the characters' lives into a finished tapestry. One of the great movies. Tremendously satisfying.
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