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- September 2013
I'm thinking of those old-fashioned, glittery movies stuffed with stars.
Like, let's say...
Like, let's say...
I bought a really cheap copy (for like three dollars) of Grand Hotel many, many moons ago at Big Lots. At the time, my only motivation for buying it was because it was old, and therefore I just had to have it. The only people whose names I recognized back then were the two top-billed ladies: Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. I remember watching it, and my initial thought was that it was lengthy and rather talkative, and I was disappointed that the stories (or vignettes, really) didn't connect more than they do. We also have to remember that this original viewing was when I was much younger, and I hadn't grown in my maturity to love classic films like I do now.I hadn't seen GRAND HOTEL in years, but found myself watching it -- well, skimming through a bit since my collection is entirely digital -- last night. My two general observations. The musical score was irksome; it was there, vaguely but incessantly, competing with the dialogue in nearly every scene; generally the reason I skirt away from movies from the first half of the 30s. Also Crawford was the only one of the actors who had fully adapted to sound-era acting by 1932; the others, including Garbo and especially J. Barrymore -- all looked like they were still making a Silent.
I'm not sure how many all-star movies there really are, without dipping into the 'revue' type. MGM had a few, though: LIBELED LADY and of course THE WOMEN.
I favor LIBELED LADY (1936), one of my favorite comedies of the era. "Only" four stars, but some of the best and at their peak.
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It's funny that you make a post about Dinner at Eight, when I was literally just thinking how I needed to say exactly what it is I love about this film. It is easily one of my favorite Pre-Code movies, and for a lot of different reasons. It is had a gallery of top stars, namely Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke, Lee Tracy, and Edmund Lowe, all at varying peaks of their respective careers. Although the film has some delicious comedic moments, I can also defend the film has some exquisite melodramatic pieces. So even is the movie's comedy-drama balance that it's almost unfair that modern filmdom looks back on this production as merely a comedy.
The Women is a delicious showcase for some of MGM's biggest leading ladies, and those that they felt showed some promise. In saying that, this is practically tailored as a Norma Shearer vehicle, the studio's unofficial First Lady, whose popularity was on the wane. She gets top billing, naturally, and her character is the one that everything revolves around. That doesn't mean that this picture isn't star-stuffed, though. You can look at the poster and tell it's going to be one fiery delight full of some glamorous women.The Women (1939)
I haven't seen it, but I know it's got an ensemble cast: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Lucile Watson, Mary Boland, Florence Nash and Virginia Grey.