Oscar Bait – Grand Hotel

List Item: Watch all Best Picture Winners (to date)
Progress: 80/88Title: Grand Hotel
Director: Edmund Goulding
Year: 1932
Country: USA

It’s February, which means that it is well and truly Oscar season. After Grand Hotel there are eight films to go, plus whatever carries home the title in a few weeks time. So, 2016 should be the year where I am able to cross this off of my list. The first of the ‘in progress’ items to be completely crossed off, kinda cool.

Grand Hotel is one of those films that, when Sporcle does a Oscar winner quiz, people tend to leave out. It’s probably not as unknown as Cavalcadebut it is still considered an Oscar deep cut.

The thing is, it really shouldn’t be. I mean sure, it is not a classic like Gone With The Wind, Casablanca or The Godfather, but it is a good romp. And yes, I think romp is the word that best describes my relationship with this movie.

The setting of this movie is in the Grand Hotel, Berlin. It is a very expensive and decadent hotel, which has high-flying businessmen, members of the aristocracy and world-famous entertainers staying. With that last one I am not making reference to Hollywood royalty Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford who were starring in this film.

I have seen Grand Hotel referenced as being similar to Gosford Park in the way it is able to start out the film with multiple vignettes that all marry up in the end to form a brilliant climax. I would agree with this completely. I was amazed at how well this film knitted all the characters together at the end.

I was equally surprised at how fast-paced the film was. At two hours long they were able to pack a lot in. Whatever you think is going to happen, about fifteen minutes later you are one step further along in the story.

One thing I have to say, however, is just how bad I felt for Greta Garbo’s ballerina at the end. Granted, she is a bit high-maintenance and a primadonna, but oh my god I don’t want to know how she reacted an hour after the film ends. Everyone else? I would be remiss to say that it would be how I would have expected. A nice mixture of happy and sad… but poor ballerina.

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