HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Grand Hotel Checking In And Checking Out
Year: 1932
Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, Robert McWade, Purnell Pratt, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Rafaela Ottiano, Morgan Wallace, Tully Marshall, Frank Conroy, Murray Kinnell, Edwin Maxwell
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: It's another day at Berlin's Grand Hotel, and among the guests is the famed ballerina Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo), who despite having a host of fans is convinced her career is over and it is necessary for her staff to persuade her every night that she should go on and dance. Also present is someone who will become very precious to her, the Baron (John Barrymore), who is broke and desperately needs money to pay off gambling debts, and Mr Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), who has mere months to live and is determined to spend all his money on high living...

And they are not the only stars in Grand Hotel, for this Oscar-winner for Best Picture was one of the first all-star extravaganzas, if you can call something with such a dejected plot an extravaganza. Based on the play by Vicki Baum, it additionally featured along for the ride Wallace Beery as a brusque and conniving industrialist and Joan Crawford as his newly hired stenographer who wishes to make it in showbusiness. Although these five never share the screen together, their wattage carries the film through what is a somewhat mournful sequence of events.

What this movie is best known for now, and how this has endured, is the line of Garbo's "I want to be alone!", spoken in character by her suffering ballerina but seen as very apt for the reclusive personality she became and therefore adding yet more lustre to her legend. In truth, she's better at suggesting the abyss of sorrow that Grusinskaya carries with her than later on when she is meant to be full of the joys of romance, and she can be pretty stagey compared to the more naturalistic style that took over later on, but that iconic charisma is still there even all these decades after the fact. You can see why she commanded such fascination.

The real find of this to modern eyes is, perhaps surprisingly with a scene stealer lilke John Barrymore in the cast, Joan Crawford, whose Flaemmchen is an immensely appealing character and the most purely likeable role that she ever secured. Everyone in the film, all the main players at any rate, are full of longing, and Flaemmchen almost equals the dancer (who she never meets) for this, even if she carries it lightly until the final tragedy. In fact, the Baron is the one man who they all look up to, and he has the chance to spread a little happiness in spite of not being able to make himself content, one of many ironies here.

If there's a villain, then it's Beery's Preysing, a bullish boor (or a boorish bull) of a man who has got himself in over his head with the business deal he is attending the hotel to work out, and the way he treats Lionel Barrymore's ailing accountant, one of cinema's most memorable losers, serves to make the company boss all the more despicable. The romantic element comes when the Baron sneaks into the ballerina's room to steal her jewellery and is trapped there, only to overhear her when she thinks she's, yes, alone wishing to commit suicide. He talks her out of it and in a true only-in-the-movies twist, they fall in love over the course of the night, and even when he reveals what he was doing there she forgives him, making the conclusion more poignant. Where gathering a cast of stars in the future would mean an action-packed disaster movie, here it optimistically intended to speak of the human condition in more profound terms, and if it didn't really succeed, it held the attention nevertheless.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4531 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: