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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Another item I was so pleased in is that the quality of the video production allowed/secured by Amazon.com was pristine, and provided the reviewer a most enjoyable visual as well as an audible trip down Silver Screen lane.
Wonderful cast, wonderful acting, wonderful script, wonderful direction, wonderful experience in appreciation of vintage cinematography. I can only imagine how audiences must have been astonished as they sat in the grand old palace theaters witnessing this now historical gem.
I do not know, as some of you do already, if this classic had been digitally colorized in restoration over time, as I was so pleased to find it in it's original glorious black, white and various shades of gray/grey.
An enjoyable education in Cinematic History, to all those whom have waited, but hesitated to purchase the ticket, now that the audience lines have diminished to bearable lengths, with the exception of your in-house snack-bar.
P.S. For those imbibing certain libations, reserve only top shelf spirits for the, The Louisiana Flip's. Avoiding at all costs, anything sharper than the business end of a Mother of Pearl caviar spoon and/or a well-placed sofa to break the occasional fall.
I hope all of you will enjoy for the 1st time, (or the 81st) this classic Academy Award Winner for, Best Motion Picture of 1932.
As the Academy certainly got it right on that memorable night, just a few quick grains of hourglass sand ago, in time.
It's an interesting story with well rounded characters, beautiful art direction. I will admit I initially ordered this because I love Greta Garbo (especially in silents) and saw John Barrymore in Midnight (1939) awhile back and enjoyed his performance. Some have defined 1930s film by this one film, I don't think I'd go so far as to echo that but that's only because I can think of other films that capture the style, architecture and Great Depression in other ways that also define the 1930s. But of course this is subjective!
Also worth noting is one of the special features is a newsreel of the premiere. On some of my other classic DVDs the newsreels are very short and have no sound but I was surprised this one has sound! The actors/actresses speak into the microphone for the live radio broadcast that fans would have been listening to. I wish the footage would have been longer because I loved it so much, but if you love Old Hollywood and especially 1930s movie stars you will really like what footage is available of the premiere.