George Cukor’s dense and sensitive direction of actors manages to conceal the tawdriness of the George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber source material; this 1933 effort stands as a bright and witty comedy though it was written as a contrived, moralistic drama. The cross-reference is Edmund Goulding’s Grand Hotel, released a year earlier with a similarly stellar cast and equally hackneyed underpinnings: Goulding’s film is almost unwatchable today, while Cukor’s survives and glitters on the strength of its director’s superb assessment of his players’ abilities. With Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe, and Madge Evans.