Grand Hotel (U)
Time Out saysThe 'Nashville' of its day, Grand Hotel's reputation has outgrown its actual quality, and it is now interesting only as an example of the portmanteau style: an interwoven group of contrasting stories allowing a bunch of stars to do their most familiar turns. Cigarette cards here include lonely Garbo, mercurial John Barrymore, crusty Lionel, business-like Joan Crawford, bent Beery. Supervising and commenting on the operation are ageing Lewis Stone and twittering émigré Jean Hersholt. Throw in Cedric Gibbons as art director and cameraman William Daniels, and you have the perfect MGM vehicle - dead boring. Made a year later with a similar cast, Dinner at Eight is of more note in that it provides acidic insight into the star system that Grand Hotel represents. (From the play by William A Drake, itself an adaptation of a novel, Menschen im Hotel, by Vicki Baum.