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grand hotel…

October 16, 2005

i always knew that there are sooooooo goddamn movies i needed to watch… especially with my recent discovery of old hollywood, i just don’t think i’ll ever be able to watch everything i want to watch before i leave this planet…
one of the movies that i’ve been meaning to watch was “grand hotel” featuring so many amazing actors from pre-code era… like greta garbo, john barrymore, lionel barrymore, wallace beery and joan crawford… directed by edmund goulding… i had rented it a few times earlier but never got to watch it… then last sunday i finally got to it and it was just amazing… first of all this is such a great mixture of drama, comedy, charaters, human story and style… told by all these amazing actors… i had only watched greta garbo in “ninotchka” and was blown away by her ingenuity and intensity… and in this movie she’s so charismatic as an insecure prima donna ballerina who’s going through a slump then finds love that transforms her into a real woman… when i was watching the scene garbo and john barrymore talk through a night, i felt the pure joy in her… then john barrymore as the baron who’s cornered by his debt, is just sensational… this is his very first movie role after being one of the most successful stage actor but he made the perfect transition… he plays it so subtle in showing his emotions yet makes you fully aware of what must be going on in his mind… then joan crawford… jesus… the first movie of hers i saw was only from a couple of weeks ago titles “sudden fear” with jack palance and gloria grahame which as pretty damn good too… but in this movie she shines as a young yet street wise woman falls in love with the baron who’s already in love with the ballerina… no wonder they had to shoot extra footages of garbo to secure that joan crawford wasn’t going to steal the movie…
the the rest of the characters are just marvelous as well…. wallace beery as a stubborn, one track minded industrialist who wanted to remain “honest” but couldn’t hold on to it to save his face and money… and lionel barrymore as a guy who’s trying to hold on to the very last minute of his life, trying to figure out what it all means… and cherishes friendship and hard work…
it’s truly amazing that these characters were all so multi dimensional… and how the movie depited the life of then… how all the classes are represented and how they clashed… how new value(money, success) brought by the industrial revolution and old value(honesty, moral) changed things… like that promotor saying “no more this ballet that doens’t draw people. i’m going to book something like that american jazz! (not exact trascription).”
maybe that “new” value is still the one that blinds people from seeing the real value in human life…

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