GRAND HOTEL
1932, Warner Bros., 113 min, USA, Dir: Edmund Goulding

Director Edmund Goulding orchestrates a dazzling parade of iconographic stars and intersecting subplots. Ballerina Greta Garbo, aristocrat John Barrymore, secretary Joan Crawford and cutthroat mogul Wallace Beery are just a few of the legends who make their way through this classic ensemble drama, a film whose influence can be seen in later films by Robert Altman and P.T. Anderson, among many others. Cedric Gibbons’ stunning Art Deco art direction gives the players an opulent setting for their personal melodramas.


THE WOMEN
1939, Warner Bros., 133 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

George Cukor (A STAR IS BORN, MY FAIR LADY) directs Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine in a cast of 135 woman (with nothing on their minds, but men) wearing costumes designed by Adrian! Catch your breath yet? There is a six minute Technicolor fashion sequence too! Forget the plot which is essentially ‘who’s stepping out on who’ and focus on the fact that this movie takes things out of the boudoir and onto the screen in a picture that lets you see these women “with their hair down and their claws out,” and we quote. “I’ve had two years to grow my claws Mother… JUNGLE RED!” The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald worked on the script at some point, but is uncredited. Three female writers, Clare Boothe Luce, Anita Loos & Jane Muffin got the screenplay done!


POSSESSED
1931, Warner Bros., 76 min, USA, Dir: Clarence Brown

Factory worker Joan Crawford becomes the mistress of a high-powered attorney running for political office (Clark Gable) in this pre-Code classic of sex, Depression-era politics and star chemistry. Crawford's role set the tone for her many movies to come in which she would play working girls on the rise. In this, their third film together, Crawford and Gable clicked onscreen with audiences and each other, engaging in a passionate affair that was widely gossiped about on the MGM lot.


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