Grand Hotel (BD) [Blu-ray]
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Grand Hotel (BD)
Director: Edmund Goulding Actores: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Jean Hersholt, Robert McWade, Tully Marshall, Purnell Pratt Guionistas: William A. Drake (basado en la novela de Vicki Baum) Productor: Irving Thalberg Año de producción: 1932]]>
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Based on a novel and play by Vicki Baum, GRAND HOTEL was directed by Edmund Goulding and stars Greta Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford and Wallace Beery all in roles of equal importance, and each shines in what counts among their best performances. The luminous Garbo is perfect as a tired of life ballerina, her stylized acting captures just the right note of eccentricity. This is the film in which she utters her signature line, "I want (not "vant") to be alone". Crawford is radiant, chic and sensitive as a stenographer assigned to work for boorish business magnate Beery, who, despite his villainous character, manages to generate our sympathy. Beery is the only one to affect a German accent which serves to underscore his menace and alienates him from the other characters. John Barrymore displays his celebrated profile and gives a touching and ultimately tragic portrayal as a thief forced into his trade out of dire need, and Lionel Barrymore is a likeable old fellow who believes he's dying and decides to live it up during his stay at the Grand Hotel.
The hotel itself figures as one of the main characters, and its elaborate art-deco design is showcased to great advantage, consisting of a circular construction and checkered floor tiles, topped off by the main lobby desk and telephone switchboard. Everything was given top-notch treatment, resulting in a film that epitomizes the Hollywood studio system at its very finest. Quality and dignity represented the order of the day in that classical period of filmmaking, and GRAND HOTEL met every expectation both critically and commercially, going on to win Best Picture of 1932. To this day it's still regarded as one of the greatest films of its decade, and has been selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
The newest Blu-ray release of GRAND HOTEL from Warners is quite grand to be sure, with a clarity and density that outdoes the previous DVD. The grain configuration is tantamount to 35mm film, and details in clothing and background elements are readily apparent. This pristine presentation of an 81 year old film makes one appreciate even more the exceptional skill of the cinematographers of that time. Of course, they also had movie stars with the kinds of fabulous faces that the camera could adore. The audio on this release is clear and crisp, with voices registering at a pleasing pitch without any distortion. All in all, it makes viewing this vintage classic a very enjoyable experience.
The extras are all taken from the DVD: "Checking Out" - a making-of documentary, the Grauman's Chinese Theater premiere newsreel, "Just a Word of Warning" Theater Announcement, the Vitaphone spoof "Nothing Ever Happens", and trailers for GRAND HOTEL and WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF - a 1945 semi remake. The only new feature is a well researched commentary by Jeffrey Vance and Mark Vieira which adds insight and is particularly helplful to viewers who are challenged by older movies.
The casting of this movie shows absolute genius. Garbo is beautiful and engimatic as Grusenskaya the dancer, John Barrymore is the suave but impovrished baron masquerading as a jewel thief, Joan Crawford as Flamchen never looked more beautiful (although she appears in yet another of her stenographer roles), and Wallace Beery comes off well as the ruthless businessman. All of the personalities blend together to make this a memorable film.
The quote "Grand Hotel...people come, people go, nothing ever happens" is the opening and closing line of the movie, but don't let that fool you! A lot happens and this movie is well worth the time it takes you to see it.
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