"Grand Hotel" Is Released
Grand Hotel is a 1932 MGM Pre-Code Art Deco film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The plot device of the film—bringing together several unrelated characters into one setting—was popular and effective enough that it was re-used in other films and became known as "the Grand Hotel" formula. The "all-star" scenario was perhaps most successfully replicated the following year in MGM's own Dinner at Eight.
The film opens and closes with Lewis Stone's totally unaware statement : "Grand Hotel. People come and go. Nothing ever happens". The comment turns out to be ironic during the few days in which the plot unfolds, because everything seems to be happening at the hotel, from romance to robbery to an accidental death.
Based on Vicki Baum's novel and produced by Irving Thalberg, this film is about the lavish Grand Hotel in Berlin, a place where "nothing ever happens." That statement proves to be false, however, as the story follows an intertwining cast of characters over the course of one tumultuous day. Greta Garbo is Grusinskaya, a ballerina whose jewels are coveted by Baron von Geigern (John Barrymore), a thief who fancies Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford), a stenographer and the mistress of Preysing (Wallace Beery), businessman boss of Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore), a terminally ill bookkeeper who is under the care of alcoholic physician Dr. Otternschlag (Lewis Stone). Grand Hotel won Best Picture at the 1932 Academy Awards. ~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide