Social climbing Millicent and Oliver Jordan throw a dinner for a bunch of New York society types, each of whom has much to reveal.
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In my last blog I discussed the relevance of 30s depression era films to today's economic climate. These movies are worth revisiting because they relate to bad economic times in a highly comical and entertaining manner. One of the very best of these is "Dinner at Eight" made in 1933 from MGM.
The movie was produced by a young David O Selznick who went on to become one of Hollywood's best producers. Based on a successful play this movie still holds up really well and has always been one of my favorites. But it since it is very much a product of its time as well having been made at the height of the Depression it takes on added luster now.
The movie is a hysterical comedy with some major drama thrown in to boot. It was one of the first movies to feature an all-star cast which was a novel idea at the time and features exquisite performances from John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery , Billie Burke and especially from Jean Harlow and the incomparable Marie Dressler who gives a great comic performance and delivers one of the best end lines in movie history.
This is one movie that gets better every time I watch it. I highly recommend this movie if you want to be a film buff or if you just need some quality entertainment to help you escape those recession blues.
The plot is simple revolving around a dinner party to be given by Billie Burke's character a vain shrill society hostess. All of the dinner invitees lives intersect each other either romantically or business or family and the result is a brilliant interchange of subplots and vivid characters that all comes to a hilarious climax once the dinner party finally unfolds.
Also the art deco sets and the wonderful score all add to what is really a magical film. Watching this movie is like drinking fine champagne that you never get tired of drinking and can have again and again
What makes this movie work so well is the sparkling witty dialogue, boy they really don't make them like this anymore. There are so many priceless moments that are given added luster by the wonderful performances. This a group of real pros at their best. Jean Harlow is hysterical and Lionel Barrymore anchors the film while his brother John Barrymore plays a parody of his own self. Marie Dressler really steals the movie but Billie Burke really holds here especially in one scene where she has a very comical meltdown.
If you are going to watch just one movie from this era then "Dinner at Eight" would be it.