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Dinner at Eight (1934)

Marie Dressler , John Barrymore , George Cukor  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore
  • Directors: George Cukor
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006Z2KXO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,748 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dinner at Eight" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Documentary Profile: Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell, hosted by Sharon Stone
  • Comedy Short: Come to Dinner
  • Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

A Park Avenue snob assembles a motley group for a dinner party in honor of a visiting English peer. All of the guests have problems of their own which come out over the dinner conversation.
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy
Rating: NR
Release Date: 1-MAR-2005
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
DINNER AT EIGHT is often referred to as a comedy, and while there are some marvelous comic moments, this film is no more a comedy than THE GODFATHER. I think one reason it is thought to be a comedy is the final lines of the film, where the decidedly unbookish Jean Harlow tells Marie Dressler that she had been reading in a book (a revelation that visibly jolts Dressler) that in the future all jobs would be done by machines. After eye-balling Harlow from toe to head she assures her, "Oh, my dear. That's something you need never worry about." There are other humorous moments, but the truth is that while the tone of the film might often be humorous, the form of the film is tragic. Yes, the destruction of the Jordan shipping company has been prevented by Jean Harlow's character blackmailing her husband, who has been trying to buy a majority of the company shares via a proxy, but it doesn't change the sense of precariousness that pervades the film. In many ways, this is one of the great films dealing with the end of the twenties and the effects of the stock market crash. Although the film revolves around a hostess's efforts to throw a lavish dinner party, virtually every individual invited is suffering from problems of one sort or another. The aging actress, long retired, is strapped for cash. The actor, a former matinee idol, has been revealed as a former pretty face by the advent of the talking film; he now is unable to find work and utterly broke. The shipping magnate, whose wife is organizing the dinner party, is suffering both from financial woes and ill health, and is in danger of losing the company that has bourn the family name for nearly a century. Read more ›
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Dinner At Eight is an outstanding movie with great acting, a fine plot even if a bit complicated, and a wonderful cast! The movie held my attention every step of the way; and it's a much more artistic film with much more social commentary than I expected.

When the action begins, Millicent Jordan (Billie Burke) is obsessively planning a dinner party. Unbeknownst to Millicent, her husband Oliver Jordan (Lionel Barrymore) is suffering from serious, life threatening heart problems--and their steamship freighter enterprise is going broke after a century-long life of being the family business.

As if that weren't enough, there's plenty more people with serious financial and personal problems that showcase human foibles as well the toll the depression took on even the wealthiest of people after the stock market crash. We meet Carlotta Vance (Marie Dressler), an older actress who is broke. Carlotta sells her stock in the Jordan shipping business to stay alive; and she's not the only one selling her stock on that fateful day when so much of the Jordan stock is sold that the family fortune just might be in jeopardy. There is Wayne Talbot (Edmund Lowe) and his wife Lucy (Karen Morley) who tolerates Wayne's never-ending marital infidelities; and we also see that the only people climbing up the ladder are the comparatively crude and unsophisticated couple Dan and Kitty Packard (Wallace Beery and Jean Harlow).

Throughout the movie there are vignettes that display how cruel life can be. There is a rather long scene in which we see the poignant suffering of a man who was huge in silent pictures and who has gone broke and "washed up" now that the "talkies" are in style. John Barrymore brilliantly plays Larry Renault and his story is told with great care and sophistication.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of my favorite films - not just of the 1930s, but of all time. Rarely have I seen elements of both comedy and tragedy blended together so smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. The movie is nearly 70 years old now. Naturally, some parts of it are dated. Still, I suspect it was rather advanced in its views at the time. One character, Carlotta Vance [Marie Dressler], for example, is a faded beauty in her 60s who was once a great star. Instead of voicing regret that she has had many lovers and has always used men to advance herself financially, she exudes the confidence of one who has lived life to the fullest. And watch as she counsels the young Paula Jordon, who has taken and older lover and has decided to dump her dashing young fiancé. No moral platitudes from Carlotta, just some sage advice. In fact, all of the female characters are strikingly independent, despite the fact that men are, by necessity, their main source of income. I like these women!
MGM intentionally assembled the greatest cast it had on hand at the time. These were stars the public loved to see. This is from the days where there really were parts for older actresses. Ms. Dressler, who leads the cast in the credits, was sixty-five. The divine Billie Burke [Millicent Jordon], who I think was one of the funniest actresses who ever lived, was forty-eight. Jean Harlow, who plays the social climbing Kitty Packard, was just twenty-two, and Madge Evans [Paula] was twenty-four. Unlike today, the two older stars were not forced into subordinate roles. All of the actresses' parts have equal weight.
We have both Lionel and John Barrymore. John gives a heart-wrenching performance as Larry Renault, the alcoholic, washed up matinee idol Paula has fallen for. The role is eerily similar to his own life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!
As great as it gets!
Published 11 days ago by Ted Fiorito
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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Published 20 days ago by dances on pedals
5.0 out of 5 stars especially when it comes to classic films like this one
As an avid movie buff, especially when it comes to classic films like this one, this is a definite welcome to my large and growing home library collection. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wa2oosy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
best movie of the decade
Published 1 month ago by Kyriaki Chris, Miss Universe
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
One of my favorite movies of all times! I adore it. Fast paced and witty. A classic
Published 2 months ago by Donna
5.0 out of 5 stars "That's the unfortunate thing about death. It's so terribly final."
This film could just as easily be titled Guess Who Isn't Coming to Dinner, as the couple everyone wants to meet skips off to Florida instead, leaving poor tyrannical Millicent... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Einsatz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story & characters & the beautiful racy Jean Harlow
The movie is old but the quality is wonderful. I call this a comedy with sad tragic story lines laced through. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kathleen Murphy Pepper
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Study of The Rich and Famous During The Depression Years...
There's too much in this movie to tell it all. Someone mentioned in another review that this is not a comedy, I wholeheartedly agree. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Writerly Artist
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Movies Made!
The acting, writing, expressions, costumes all take you back to the 1930's and the importance of aspic!
Marie Dressler and the rest of the cast will have you howling.
Published 9 months ago by Rets
5.0 out of 5 stars One of MGM's Finest Achievements
"Dinner at Eight" (1933) is a sublime MGM comedy-drama that fires on all cylinders. George Cukor's expert direction makes the most of an incisive script by Frances Marion and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Scott T. Rivers
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