Genre: Drama
This Academy Award winner for Best Picture is a sweeping soap opera about the guests at the Grand Hotel. Several plots intertwine, but mostly it's about Stars! Stars! Stars! Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, and both Barrymore brothers head up the cast. Garbo is luminous as Grusinskaya, the neurotic and famous-but-slipping dancer and, yes, she "vonts to be alone." John Barrymore is a cat burglar with blue blood and a heart of gold, and Lionel Barrymore happily caroms off him as Mr. Kringelein, a dying man who wants to live out the time he has left with the rich. Joan Crawford is perhaps the biggest surprise of the movie: as Flaemmchen, a young career girl trying to decide between secretary and tart, she is uncharacteristically funny, vivacious, and downright bubbly. Along the way we discover that money, fame, and titles don't guarantee happiness, and being a jewel thief doesn't necessarily make you a bad person. The nicest touch is the hint that other, minor plots swirl around the edges of the film, suggesting that we've only seen a small chapter of the hotel's story. Grand Hotel is a great deal of fun and an excellent chance to see some famous faces in their prime. --Ali Davis

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