Berlin's plushest, most expensive hotel is the setting where in the words of Dr. Otternschlag "People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.". The doctor is usually drunk so he missed the fact that Baron von Geigern is broke and trying to steal eccentric dancer Grusinskaya's pearls. He ends up stealing her heart instead. Powerful German businessman Preysing brow beats Kringelein, one of his company's lowly bookkeepers but it is the terminally ill Kringelein who holds all the cards in the end. Meanwhile, the Baron also steals the heart of Preysing's mistress, Flaemmchen, but she doesn't end up with either one of them in the end...Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Though film lore has suggested that Joan Crawford was irked by Greta Garbo's top billing, this was never an issue, as in 1932 Garbo was by far the more established personality and Grand Hotel (1932) was considered a step up for Crawford, who was just beginning her ascent to prominence. See more »
As Grusinskaya is on the phone (while the Baron is watching), she holds the receiver with different hands between shots. See more »
The impressive array of stars is what makes "Grand Hotel" worth watching. It's also a pretty good feat of writing to create enough room for Garbo, Crawford, the Barrymores, and Beery all to operate. Each of them gets good characters and plenty of screen time in which to perform. The plot is not really that great, but it is written so as to bring all of these characters together in one place.
Which of the stars gives the best performance probably depends on which character you like the best. They all have their own story lines, and while much of the plot is rather implausible, the acting is such that you don't notice it that much most of the time. The ways that the characters react and change according to circumstances lets you see some fine performers show what they can do.
While it may be old-fashioned now in a number of respects, it's still a good film, and a rare chance to see this many film greats all at once.
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