A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.
Millicent Jordan is pre-occupied with the plans she is making for a high-class dinner party. Her husband Oliver is in failing health, and he is also worried because someone is trying to buy up the stock in his shipping business - even his old friend Carlotta wants to sell her stock. Hoping to get help from businessman Dan Packard, he persuades Millicent, against her wishes, to invite Packard and his wife to the dinner. As Oliver's problems get worse, Millicent is increasingly quick-tempered because the plans for the party are not going smoothly. As the time for the dinner approaches, it appears that the hosts and the guests will all have plenty on their minds.Written by
Marie Dressler was impressed with Jean Harlow. She realled in her autobiography, "It was whispered behind more than one hand that Jean Harlow, Metro's much-advertised platinum menace, was picked for parts that called for more allure than art. And in Dinner at Eight, she had to throw a bomb in the works by proving that she is a first-rate actress! Her performance as the wife of the hard-boiled, self-made politician played by Wallace Beery belongs in that limited category of things which may with reason be called rare. The plain truth is, she all but ran off with the show!" See more »
I love this movie, especially the wonderfully over-the-top comic scenes in which Jean Harlow and Wallace Beery square off, but I never have understood how the timing for the dinner evening was supposed to work. Everyone was to gather for dinner at 8, and the hostess (Billie Burke) said she had planned for the group to go to a Broadway play ("Say It With Music") and to a nightclub after that. How? Curtain time then was, at the latest, 8:30, and I don't see this high-toned crowd wolfing down a carefully prepared meal and dashing across town to a theater. And no one in that assemblage, except for Harlow, seemed likely to go in for late-night clubbing. (I'll concede that the hostess canceled the nightclub reservation after learning the truth about her husband's health, but there's still the matter of bolting down dinner and zooming off to the theater.) See more »
And then I had a restful, nice luncheon... with four lawyers. On the 88th floor of the What's-its building. You know, the Sky Club. A cloud floated right into my soup plate.
Yes, it's terrible. But, we get used to it.
See more »
"Darling, I've got Lord and Lady Ferncliffe [...] You remember the Ferncliffes from London, do you darling?"
"Yes, yes.. and how dull they were, eating mutton."
I just love it! This lavish all-star MGM-production still is great entertainment. Some of it's notions are somewhat dated perhaps, but with this team behind - and in the film - nothing can go wrong.
A portrait of various strata of New York society, the clash between the newly riches and the old elite, the Old and New World, the battle of the sexes (between Wallace Beery and Harlow), Gotham in a nutshell. Nothing is "really" happening, the same as its "twin brother" GRAND HOTEL and essentially it's a filmed play (based on the play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber), but with this cast there are no complaints. You don't hear anyone complaining about David Mamet's GLENGARY GLENN ROSS's filmed play, do you? Jean Harlow, "the Blonde Bombshell", as the deliciously vulgar wife of Wallace Beery, the new man in town, trying to connect with the New York elite and Washington politicians. John Barrymore is fantastic as a once famous actor from the silent era, who cannot accept the fact that his career is over.
To me the film is just a perfect time capsule of so many typical topics of the era: the depression, the transition from silents to talkies, the continuous transformation of the upper crust of New York society, the traveling by ocean steamer to Europe... It's actually a very rich film, no matter how fluffy it might look (in the case of Jean Harlow's wardrobe quite literally). And when given a treatment like this, the top-notch cast, good writing, gorgeous sets under the supervision of David O. Selznick and George Cukor, it's a feast for the eye.
Camera Obscura --- 9/10
25 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this