Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Top Billed Actors: Great Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford
IMDb Rating: 7.7
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 1 Oscar:
Nominated for 0 more
Plot: A bunch of A-list celebrities stay a few nights in a hotel and draw up some drama.
Because of the top names in the film, acting is not at a loss here. Crawford takes the cake though. In a movie in which Garbo insisted she be top billed, it is oddly satisfying seeing Crawford perform much better than her, albeit with a more undesirable character. The other supporting characters hold up well too. I particularly enjoyed Lewis Stone and certain scenes of Lionel Barrymore. The story is another aspect that is grand. The whole movie takes place in the hotel and the pace stays even as the plot shifts from character to character. Seeing how it all relates in the end is something to behold. We get a love triangle, theft in the night, gambling, drinking, dancing, laughter, and illness. The viewer latches on to certain characters and learns to hate others. It all comes together quite nicely.
Although the plot is engrossing and there is some good acting, certain plot points and actors grow tiring. Beery is the only one in the film with a German accent (the film takes place in Berlin) and it is often unconvincing. Greta Garbo's accent is also quite bothersome. Also, the love aspect of the movie is rather perplexing. If a man sneaks into a room to steal a pearl necklace and gets caught by the woman, should she call the police? The answer is no, she should fall in love with him. The character with a terminal illness is also played up too much as well. At first, his story is touching. An older man knows he will be dying shortly so he withdraws all of his money to enjoy some luxuries he could never afford. Lionel Barrymore's execution of the character is a roller coaster of emotion. I flip flop on feeling sorry for him in every scene based on how annoying he is. Unfortunately, he is more annoying than not.
Overall, a grand story with a grand pace and a grand cast of actors is not enough to make this film, which feels dated in many instances, into the classic other Best Picture winners have become.
My Score: 7/10