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'Dinner at Eight' added to Library of Congress list

“Dinner at Eight” (1933) was among 25 movies selected Wednesday for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for 2023. 

Jean Harlow was the breakout performance of the all-star ensemble cast that included Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Billie Burke, Lee Tracy and Edmund Lowe. George Cukor directed the MGM dramedy about a high class dinner party in which secrets are revealed. 

The box office hit is full of crackerjack exchanges such as this one:

Kitty (Jean Harlow) : I was reading a book the other day.
Carlotta (Marie Dressler) : [Nearly trips]  Reading a book?
Kitty : Yes. It's all about civilization or something. A nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy says that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?
Carlotta : [Looking her over]  Oh, my dear, that's something you need never worry about.

It’s no surprise that the screenplay has all-star talent behind it, too: Frances Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote the script, basing it on a play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. 

According to the Library of Congress: “Twenty-five films are selected each year for their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance and must be at least 10 years old. The selections bring the number of films in the registry to 875.”

Most of this year’s 25 movies were from the past few decades, but along with “Dinner at Eight,” a few more classic movies populate the list. The oldest on this year’s list is 1921’s documentary “A Movie Trip Through Filmland.” Others from before the 1970s are “Helen Keller: In Her Story” (1954), “Lady and the Tramp” (1955) and “Edge of the City” (1957).

Last year’s picks include the Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant movie “Charade” (1963).


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