(Originally published: January 7, 2010)
The Grand Hotel is a quaint, light, entertaining picture, albeit a little boring if you are into fast-paced plots with lots of conflict. In the words of the Doctor character: “The Grand Hotel. Always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.” This analysis was mostly true.
However, this movie came out during the Great Depression when people were in need of pure entertainment. They had enough real life to deal with. The Grand Hotel was enjoyable simply for its high society and extravegance; things that would have been a wonderful escape from the Depression.
For the first three-fourths of the film, the plot consists only of a variety of characters interacting with each other at The Grand Hotel: a ballerina with severe stage fright, a dying old man who wants to live his last days to the fullest, a lady stenographer, a gentleman thief, and a harsh businessman. In the last quarter of the film, the plot takes on some conflict in the form of a murder. The murder affects all these characters, but the excitment is short-lived since the audience knows who commits the murder and the murderer is arrested right away.
Major themes: life and living, the importance and unimportance of money, caring for one another