(ru) wrote: "Grand Hotel. Always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens." If you look at the films of today, many have all-star casts in them. Films such as The Avengers, the Harry Potter franchise, and Lord of the Rings feature big-name actors in big roles. None of these huge casting decisions would have been possible had it not been for Grand Hotel, featuring a big cast for the 1930's, such as Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrynore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery. But is it a great film like it promises to be? No, but it was OK at best. Grand Hotel is about the lives of different people staying at the Grand Hotel, the most expensive hotel in Berlin. There's Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo), a Russian ballet dancer who feels depressed in her work. There's Baron von Geigern (John Barrymore), a thief who has a fascination for Grusinskaya's pearls. There's Preysing (Wallace Beery), a businessman who struggles to merge into another business. There's Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford), mistress of Preysing who has a fancy for the Baron. And finally, there's Kringeling (Lionel Barrymore), a dying bookkeeper who just wants to have a good time at the hotel. The film also features Lewis Stone as Dr. Otternschlang, an alcoholic physician who cares for Lionel Barrymore's character. Due to it being the first film with an all-star cast and several stories mixing into one, a revolutionary idea at the time, Grand Hotel ended up winning Best Picture of 1932, beating out Arrowsmith, Bad Girl, The Champ, Five Star Final, One Hour With You, Shanghai Express, and The Smiling Lieutenant. Other than The Smiling Lieutenant, I haven't seen any other of the nominees, but they were probably better than Grand Hotel. Grand Hotel is not a bad film. The casting is excellent. Greta Garbo is outstanding as the ballerina. The emotional complexity of her character and her natural beauty just shines. What's shocking here is prior to my viewing of this, I had never watched a Garbo film before. Boy was I wowed. I need to watch more Garbo films now cause I'm still stunned by how beautiful she was. John Barrymore delights as the Baron, and his chemistry with Garbo is splendid. The other actress who wowed in her role was Joan Crawford. For a woman at the time, especially in a time when women were viewed as the weaker species, she was pretty tough, and I like that in a woman. I was not too impressed with Wallace Beery, however, and I viewed him as a miscast. He was simply too old to hang around with Joan Crawford. But Lionel Barrymore, on the other hand, steals the picture, in my book. I felt the most sympathy for his character, especially for a man who's about to die, and Barrymore sure has heart. What's funny is, that year's later, Barrymore would go on the play the villainous Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life, and I never realized he played sympathetic roles before. How ironic. Lewis Stone was also memorable as the physician. Earlier I said that Grand Hotel was the first film to features multiple stories in one film. It's the multiple stories that things begin to fall apart in Grand Hotel. The story with Garbo and John Barrymore, excellent. The story with Lionel Barrymore, fantastic. The story with Wallace Beery and Joan Crawford, boring. The scenes with business deals dragged on and on and on and it hurt the narrative flow of the picture. Scenes with Beery and Crawford lacked emotional focus and I didn't feel and emotions in the chemistry. Crawford was fantastic in her role, cause I loved the independent spirit in her character. I just didn't feel any connection with Beery's character, mostly cause he wanted Crawford to be his "woman". Thankfully, the film didn't head in Gigi territory. The Beery story lacked emotional connection, nearly killing the emotional impact of the other stories, but Grand Hotel is old-fashioned entertainment, with a nearly perfect all-star cast that shine, especially Garbo, Crawford, and the two Barrymore's, wonderful cinematic shots of the hotel itself, and loads of Hollywood glamor. I'm not sure if the film really needed to win Best Picture or not, but there's are worse Best Picture winners out there. "I want to be alone."