A Few Words About A few words about...™ Grand Hotel -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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January 8th is going to be big day for those collecting the entire run of Academy Award winning Best Pictures on Blu-ray, with the release by Warner Bros of two older classics and one more recent winner. And for those keeping track of such things, Warner has been excelling at getting their films to the Blu-ray format, with only two more to go -- Broadway Melody (1929), which is available in standard def and Around the World in 80 Days a pickup from the Taylor estate, for which decent materials are problematic. With their acquisition of the Goldwyn productions, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), which has element problems of its own, should be forthcoming. Once Best Years arrives, that will leave 24 titles unreleased, but with On the Waterfront coming in February from Criterion, that list will fall to 23. The earliest of the new Warner releases is Grand Hotel, a consummate all-star affair which won the Award as Best Picture of 1931/32. Grand Hotel has been a problem title for quite while. The original negative was lost in the GEH fire, and no clean fine grains or dupes was available to make things easy for the archival staff. I'm told that the new HD master is derived from five different elements, and having seen most of it, I've come away very pleased. The overall look and texture of the film is fine, with the only obvious sign of generational loss being a lack of shadow detail in some sequences. That said, I'm thrilled with what we have. Directed by Edmund Goulding (The Dawn Patrol, The Razor's Edge), with cinematography by William Daniels ( Flesh and the Devil, Wild Orchids, Anna Christie, Dinner at Eight, Queen Christina, Camille, Ninotchka, Another Thin Man, For Me and My Gal, Brute Force, Harvey, Strategic Air Command, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How the West Was Won). And then the cast: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt. A beautiful Blu-ray, brought back to life by a great deal of time, expense and sweat. Image - 3.5 Audio - 4 Very Highly Recommended. RAH
 

lukejosephchung

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Have this, "Mrs. Minniver" and "Driving Miss Daisy" on order from Amazon due next Tuesday, Robert...your highly favorable review of this is highly encouraging to me of what's to come from Warner's this year for their 90th Anniversary celebration...thanks!!!
 

For the record, I don't think Shannon Tweed is in either this or Mrs. Miniver, and her name has been attached to both for weeks now. Not sure how someone made that mistake, unless of course, these are the versions of the films that were shown late at night on Cinemax in the late 1990s...
 

Robin9

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Sean Greenwood said:
For the record, I don't think Shannon Tweed is in either this or Mrs. Minniver, and her name has been attached to both for weeks now. Not sure how someone made that mistake, unless of course, these are the versions of the films that were shown late at night on Cinemax in the late 1990s...
For some inexplicable reason, Amazon currently believe that Shannon Tweed was in just about every film ever made!
 

Mike Frezon

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So...Shannon Tweed's NOT in Grand Hotel?
Off to cancel my pre-order (except it has probably already shipped).

My wife absolutely fell in love with this movie when we screened it several years ago. That viewing put her on a "they don't make good movies like this any more" jag which has not quite subsided.
 

Nick*Z

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Dear Robert: In your review you mentioned Around the World in 80 Days and Broadway Melody, but you forgot about The Great Ziegfeld - one of my personal favorites that Warner also holds the current rights to and is still MIA on Blu. Thanks for your review, though.
 

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