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Directed by Edmund Goulding

United States 1932 112 mins.

Featuring a veritable who’s-who of MGM royalty during the studio’s heyday, including an ascendant Greta Garbo, Barrymores John and Lionel, Wallace Beery, and a sultry, seductive Joan Crawford in an early featured role, Grand Hotel is a clear precursor for the kitchen-sink, domestically-focused dramas of Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson, and was a mid-career triumph for wunderkind MGM producer Irving Thalberg. Grand Hotel follows several narrative strands that routinely intermingle, including the machinations of a rich baron (Beery) as he tries to close a deal, the last days of a despondent accountant (Lionel Barrymore), and the exploits of a jewel thief (John Barrymore). Garbo and Crawford, however, are the most tragic and affecting figures as, respectively, the fallen-from-grace Russian ballerina Grusinskaya and the aspiring actress Flaemmchen. Filled with unforgettable lines from a labyrinthine screenplay adapted from the 1929 novel by Vicki Baum, Grand Hotel is a melancholic yet “dazzling parade of star iconography.”—Dave Kehr, The Chicago Reader. 35mm print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

Genres: Drama

Appears in: Bette & Joan

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.