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Dinner At Eight Blu-ray Review

The cast shines in “Dinner At Eight.”

Directed by George Cukor, “Dinner At Eight” is an ensemble comedy-drama that is based on the stage play of the same name. The story revolves around the titular dinner that is being planned in honor of the British Lord and Lady Ferncliffe who are set to visit the Jordan family (Oliver, his wife Millicent and their daughter Paula) in New York. Before the dinner, the story digs into the characters and their drama. The aforementioned Jordan family has no shortage of problems with Millicent’s dinner plans unraveling, Paula being set to marry Ernest but having feelings for a distressed actor (Larry) and Oliver’s business falling apart alongside his health. The other key players here are Millicent’s cousin Hattie and her movie loving husband Ed, an aging broke actress (Carlotta), and business man Dan Packard and his wife Kitty (who has eyes for Dr. Talbot who is already married to Lucy). Did you get all of that?

1933’s “Dinner At Eight” is one of those Golden Age of Hollywood films that thrived on star power and star power this movie certainly has with the likes of John Barrymore, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, Billie Burke, Lee Tracy and Edmund Lowe. Truth be told, it’s the cast that makes this movie an enduring classic. Without their talent, ‘Dinner’ could have easily devolved into a stagy and wordy soap opera. Everyone brings something different to this movie. Harlow livens it up with humor and style. Both Barrymore actors bring pathos to their roles. Billie Burke is a hysterical wife trying to plan a party but failing to see the real issues right in front of her. Wallace Beery is a capitalistic grouch. You get the picture.

What the cast also delivers is an engrossing drama that mixes in screwball comedy for good measure. It sounds like a strange combination but it works here as the story is all about the messy nature of life and how it goes on through obstacles and all. It’s also equally a story about socialites, secrets, the Depression era. Basically, there’s a lot going on here and screenwriters Frances Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz balance it all well.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W classic gets a stunning transfer from the ever reliable Warner Archive.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The audio is a little snowy but solid nonetheless.

Extras include a “Dinner At Eight” theatrical trailer, a comedic parody short film titled “Come To Dinner” and a documentary on Jean Harlow titled “Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell.”

January 11, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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