This movie was adapted from the work of George Kaufman and Edna Ferber by Frances Marion and Herman Mankiewicz, casting some of the best names in Hollywood. Brilliantly directed by George Cukor, the story is a character study of four individuals during depression era (1933), affected by love, greed, possible poverty, and infidelity. John Barrymore offers one of his finest performances as a down and out actor, Larry Renault, caught up with drinking, and in desperation commits suicide as he has no other way to go in a world that doesn't accept losers. Lionel Barrymore offers another great performance as Oliver Jordan, a shipping magnate and the CEO of a company, which is in financial ruins, and it is close to collapse unless a financier helps to save the company. Burdened with his heart problems, and his scatterbrained high-society wife, Millicent Jordan (Billie Burke) preoccupied with hosting a dinner party for rich and famous, and his only daughter in love with much older Larry Renault, is confronted with the realities of the Great Depression. Dan Packard (Wallace Beery) plays a devious and crooked financier who plots to gain from Oliver Jordan's company, and his unfaithful wife, Kitty Packard (Jean Harlow) who threatens him to do a good deed by spilling beans about his dirty scheme to Oliver Jordan, when Dan likes to file for divorce because of her infidelity. Marie Dressler as an aging star, Carlotta Vance is very entertaining; in spite of her own insecurities, she offers her wisdom to Paula Jordan (Madge Evans), when she gives her the news that her lover, Larry Renault committed suicide, and to Kitty Packard in the film's final scene.
If you are a fan of Jean Harlow, don't expect much from this movie. With regards to the fans of John Barrymore, it is ironic that his final years in real life was somewhat similar to the character of Larry Renault as his addiction to alcohol and possibly Alzheimer's disease had significant impact on his movie career.