It’s actually a little embarrassing that I didn’t make the connection between Wes Anderson’s upcoming Grand Budapest Hotel and the 1932 Best Picture Winner Grand Hotel before. It’s all right there in the names – not to mention the large ensemble casts. Now that Screen Daily has provided a synopsis for Anderon’s flick, the similarities really shine:
“The Grand Budapest Hotel tells of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars and his friendship with a young employee who becomes his trusted protégé. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century.”
In Grand Hotel (which takes place in Berlin), the temporary residents’ goings on are underscored by a permanent resident’s idea that “people come and go. Nothing ever happens.” It’s also jewels that get stolen. And hearts. No doubt Anderson will try to steal some of them as well. Although it sounds like his film will also focus on a time beyond WWII, which will absolutely add some dimensions. The Playlist notes the director’s stated influences for the film (Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch), and while Grand Hotel isn’t mentioned, it’s pretty easy to spot the conceptual and tonal parallels going on here. At the very least, he could have chosen far worse films to emulate.
Screen Daily also reports that Fox Searchlight will be distributing the film. No surprise there. Fortunately, we might be seeing this sometime later this year. But for now, Grand Hotel is well within rental reach.