After a frustrated Max denounces him for ruining his last career chance and the hotel management asks him to leave, Larry quietly turns on his gas fireplace and commits suicide.
At the ill-fated dinner, Carlotta confides in private with Paula, who is just about to break her engagement with Ernest, about Larry's demise and counsels the young woman to stay with her fiancé.
It is a fast-moving narrative with its humor and tragedy, one that offers a greater variety of characterizations than have been witnessed in any other picture...
A strong line of drama courses through the story notwithstanding the flip dialogue. Veteran players of the stage, who have since been won over to talking pictures, are the principal assets in this film.
Talbot then is rushed to see Oliver, who has come to the doctor's office with severe chest pains.
One week before her next society dinner, Millicent Jordan (Billie Burke) receives word that Lord and Lady Ferncliffe, whom she and her husband Oliver (Lionel Barrymore), a New York shipping magnate, had met in England the previous year, have accepted her invitation.Meanwhile, Oliver faces distressing news about his shipping business, which has been struck hard by the Depression.Carlotta, an aging retired actress and former lover of Oliver, visits Oliver at his office and asks him to buy her stock in the company, but he does not have the money.Then, as the beleaguered guests are about to go in to dinner, Dan, with prodding from Kitty, tells Oliver that he has put a stop to the takeover of the Jordan shipping line.With regard to its reception by critics in 1933, Dinner at Eight received very high marks from many of the film industry's leading reviewers.Dan Packard (Wallace Beery), a mining magnate, stops by long enough for Oliver to ask him to buy some company stock.Dan agrees only to consider the proposition, he then brags to his wife Kitty (Jean Harlow) that he will take the shipping business through deceit.When he returns home, the weakened Oliver tries to explain to Millicent his need for rest, but she is too hysterical to hear because, among other minor disasters, the Ferncliffes have cancelled and are on their way to Florida.Although anxious to tell Millicent about Larry, Paula, too, is turned away by her upset mother and faces the prospect of facing Ernest alone.She wins this round because Dan doesn't know the name of her lover, but her maid Tina, who does, proceeds to blackmail her.Just before he is to leave for the dinner, Larry is visited by Max and Jo Stengel and drunkenly berates Stengel for insulting him with his paltry offer.