For my current writing project, I am watching, ranking, and reviewing every film to win The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar for Best Picture. Below, is my review of the 1933 winner, "Grand Hotel."
Do you remember the 2006 Best Picture winner, “Crash?” The film focused on a litany of characters, who on the surface, seemed to have nothing to do with each other. As the film progresses, we discover they have more in common than we could have ever imagined. In some very simple ways, “Grand Hotel” reminded me of “Crash.” Not for the violent way in which these characters come together. Instead, I found similarities between the two films based on experiences shared before the final credits roll.
With every passing year of this challenge, the video and audio quality improves. While it is nearly impossible to watch one these films with anything but 21st-century eyes, it is fascinating to watch the science of filmmaking improve year over year. Like the other movies I have watched in this challenge, this movie is scored throughout, from beginning to end. In many ways, the scale of this kind of work is daunting and not something you see too much of in modern cinema.
Beyond the improvements in cinema, there wasn’t much for me to love about this film. The characters are poorly developed and the plot ill-conceived. With each scene, I try to remind myself I am watching something from a different era. I had to constantly remind myself of time and place. I was forced to do this because this film doesn’t stand the test of time. Sure, it shares common themes such as love, guilt, and being masters of your own universes with modern day cinema. It even features an interesting plot twist. Still, it hasn’t aged well. Good art should do that. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “The Iliad” have grown more important because they convey powerful and relatable themes. This film fails to do that. It shouldn’t be forgotten, though. It should stand as a marker of where we’ve been and where we are to go.
Best Picture Ranking (So Far)
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Broadway Melody
Be good to each other,
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