Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Movie Monday!! Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel (1932) starred a string of popular actors from the period including both Lionel and John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo.

The film is set in the Grand Hotel, of course, and follows the stays of several different unrelated characters. One is Baron Felix van Geigern (John B.), a charming gambler/ jewel thief who is in debt and must find a way to raise the money he needs. He runs into Otto Kringelein (Lionel B.), a modest accountant who has learned that he is dying and wants to live his last days in luxury. They become friends but the Baron is too proud to accept the man's money even when it has been offered to him.

The Baron attempts to steal a string of pearls from the room of the Russian ballerina (Garbo) but falls in love with her on their first meeting and feels compelled to return them. She forgives him and they plan to go away together but first, he must fulfill his debts.

Joan Crawford is a stenographer (I forget her character's name) hired by Gen. Preysing (Wallace Beery), who is trying to make an important business deal that will make or break his company.  He makes advances to her and they agree to go to London together with him paying her handsomely..

This movie was a little dull at first but it came together in an interesting way at the end. It seemed to have a message about the high value we place on money and what an impact too much or too little can have on our decisions. I also found it interesting that although Kringelein was dying, he was so much more happy and free than all these other characters who seemed to be on the way down in life.

Joan Crawford was beautiful, Garbo's accent was adorable, and there were two Barrymore's in one film! It is worth watching for the star power but the movie itself was not especially engaging. Thumbs hovering in the middle.

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