Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dinner at Eight

A fading NYC tycoon and his socially conscious wife throw a posh dinner party with the hope of reviving the family shipping business. As the guest list is assembled, we learn the various backgrounds of each individual guest, all intertangled and carrying their own motives and baggage. "Dinner at Eight" is a glowing production from directing great George Cukor from a screenplay by Francis Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz drawn from the beloved stage play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. The film has a tendency to be stagy, but draws strength in characterization and from its excellent cast. In a cast that is uniformly excellent, the ones who stick out the greatest are Marie Dressler as an aging actress, Wallace Beery and Jean Harlow as a brutish titan of industry and his insolent wife, and brothers Lionel and John Barrymore as the host and a suicidal hack actor. "Dinner at Eight" is a excellent example of 1930s New York high society types, replete with a fine cast of characters.