Grand Hotel (1932)

Grand Hotel (1932)

Grand Hotel (1932). 112 minutes. Directed by Edmund Goulding. Starring Greta Garbo (as Grusinskaya), John Barrymore (as Baron Felix von Geigern), Joan Crawford (as Flaemmchen), Wallace Beery (as General Director Preysing), Lionel Barrymore (as Otto Kringelein), Lewis Stone (as Dr. Otternschlag), and Jean Hersholt (as Senf).

Grand Hotel is a 1932 American-made film set a few years earlier in Berlin at a time when Germany was inching towards Nazification. The movie depicts pre-Hitler Berlin as a dazzling center of cosmopolitan sophistication and adventure, sweeping us away with the interpersonal intrigue and romance of continental life. In the near future, the urbanity in which Grand Hotel revels (as well as the vulnerability associated with urban hotel life that it conveys) would become lost in the dysphoria that was sweeping through Europe—and yet in 1932 when the film was made, it was still possible to envision a Germany that was enveloped in the dreams and schemes of strangers passing each other softly … Read the rest

Greed (1925)

Greed (1925) final scene

Greed (1925).  Directed by Erich von Stroheim.  140 minutes (MGM) / 239 minutes (restored version, 1999).  Starring Gibson Gowland (as John McTeague), Zasu Pitts (as Trina Sieppe), and Jean Hersholt (as Marcus Schouler).

Greed is based on the 1899 American novel McTeague by Frank Norris.  It takes place at the turn of the nineteenth century in California and was one of the first Hollywood films to be shot entirely on location.  As the story opens, McTeague, a miner, leaves his California mountain town to train as a dentist.  When he opens a practice in San Francisco, he meets Marcus Schouler and Schouler’s cousin Trina, with whom McTeague falls in love.  Trina wins $5000 in a lottery and marries McTeague, but soon she begins to obsess over her winnings and becomes miserly towards her husband.  Because Schouler feels cheated both out of Trina, whom he loved, and her fortune, he reports on McTeague to the dental board, which determines that he … Read the rest