|Cinematography:||William H. Daniels|
The plot device of the film—bringing together several unrelated characters into one setting—was popular and effective enough that it was re-used in other films and became known as "the Grand Hotel" formula. The "all-star" scenario was perhaps most successfully replicated the following year in MGM's own Dinner at Eight.
The film opens and closes with Lewis Stone's totally unaware statement : "Grand Hotel. People come and go. Nothing ever happens". The comment turns out to be ironic during the few days in which the plot unfolds, because everything seems to be happening at the hotel, from romance to robbery to an accidental death.The film came from the original Austrian novel, Menschen im Hotel (English: People in a Hotel), by Vicki Baum as adapted by William A. Drake and Béla Balázs. The setting of Grand Hotel was in Berlin however. It was produced by Irving Thalberg and Paul Bern at MGM (both uncredited on the film), and directed by Edmund Goulding. The top star, Greta Garbo melodramatically delivered her famous line "I want to be alone," in this film. The cast included a series of top names: Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone and Jean Hersholt.
It is the only film to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture without obtaining nominations in any other categories. The award was presented to Irving Thalberg, with no mention of Paul Bern. In addition, Garbo's line "I want to be alone" was voted #30 in the list of AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes.