Grand Hotel | Chicago Reader

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115 minutes · 1939

The people come, the people go. Less effective as a movie than as a dazzling parade of star iconography: Greta Garbo as the “I want to be alone” ballerina, John Barrymore as a decaying aristocrat, Joan Crawford as a frisky secretary, and Wallace Beery as a ruthless tycoon. In some ways this 1932 item is the definitive MGM film, in which the direction (Edmund Goulding), screenplay (William A. Drake), and cinematography (William Daniels) all seem deliberately pale, the better to set off the glitter of the stars; they're like jewels mounted in a deliberately neutral display case. With Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, and Tully Marshall.

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