Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel, 1932
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Nominated for 1 Oscar, Won 1 Oscar

Grand Hotel is the story of several different characters. We start off with Otto Kringelein, who arrives at the luxurious Grand Hotel in Berlin. He is terminally ill and is bent on living his last days with style. He meets Baron Felix von Geigern, who befriends him. The Baron, we learn, is broke, and is making his "living" off card games, and occasionally as a jewel thief. His latest mission is to steal the pearls from Grusinskaya, a Russian ballerina staying in the hotel while in town. But instead, the two fall in love. Meanwhile, the Baron is also sort of seeing Flaemnchen, a sternographer who is doing some dictating for Kringelein's old boss. Everything intertwines together, and, as said at the end of the film "People come and people go. Nothing ever happens". 

Grand Hotel felt like a film that both had nothing happen, but also had much happen. Most of what happened felt very pointless, and I kept wondering why it needed to be told at all. But getting around that, the film was quite charming and fun. One of the first films to get a bunch of stars together in one film and to just be about "intersecting lives"  in an interesting location, films of which are made every so often. 

It was a fun little film, though not overly interesting. The love stories felt contrived. They lasted a day or two at most (or just a night in the Baron and the dancer's case), and felt disingenuous when they came to an end with heartbreak. 

The acting was fun, though nothing special. This film was nominated for Best Picture, and only that. In a way, it's not surprising, after watching the film. Nothing was particularly special about it, but the film was kind of cute and fun. 

Joan Crawford came off very forced at first, though I think this is more the nature of acting in the 30s. She was a silent film star first, and I believe talkies were still just becoming widespread at this point. Also, did John Barrymore remind anyone of Stanley Tucci a little bit? I thought they looked very similar while all dressed up. 

The film was really nothing on either side. Neither very good nor was it bad. Like most films with a cast of stars, it served the purpose of getting them together and showcasing, but didn't have much depth. 

Acting- 7/10      
Directing- 7/10      
Screenplay- 6/10      
Music – 7/10     
"The look"- 8/10      
Entertaining- 7.5/10     
Emotional Connection- 6.5/10      
Rewatchability- 7/10      
Did I like It?- 7.25/10      
"Total Package"**- 7/10      

 Total: 70.25/100 

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