Sunday, April 26, 2015

DINNER AT EIGHT (1933)

I heard that MGM's DINNER AT EIGHT was made because of the success of the previous years all-star GRAND HOTEL.  I have no idea if that is true or not, but it sounds reasonable.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad DAE was made and managed to find its way to my sexy eyeballs.

Once again both Lionel and John Barrymore appear in a film together (although sadly this time they don't have any scenes together).  The main story is about the wife (Billie Burke) of shipping magnate, Lionel Barrymore, wanting to throw an impressive dinner party.  The film opens with her excitedly making preparations and calling people to invite them.  After that the film moves on to visit some of the invited guests as they live their lives.  Many of the scenes are quite long and the film is very interesting in how it the story is told in little bits and pieces all assembling together to tell a larger story.  I don't know if anybody else was impressed by that, but I thought it was very interesting.  The larger story is actually about Lionel's failing business and a corrupt businessman's (Wallace Beery) attempt to steal the company out from under Lionel.  Beery's wife, Jean Harlow, has other plans. 

Story aside, the main attraction is the star power.  DINNER AT EIGHT's cast is absolutely mind-blowing: Jean Harlow (her argument scene with Wallace Beery alone is worth the price of admission), Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Billie "Glinda the Good Witch" Burke, Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe, John Barrymore (he was hypnotically amazing), Marie Dressler, Madge Evans and a number of great supporting actors like Grant Mitchell, John Davidson and Edwin Maxwell (I love his voice).

DINNER AT EIGHT isn't for everybody and it does kinda start a little slow, but if you like classic movies I think that you will really enjoy it.  The story builds and builds and I was actually sad when it ended.  It could have gone on, at the pace it was going, for another hour and I would have been just fine.  Recommended.