powered by AFI
A February 1933 Film Daily news item stated that Joseph M. Schenck bought the screen rights to George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's play and was planning to produce it as a United Artists release in June 1933. Dinner at Eight was the first film that producer David Selznick made at M-G-M. Having worked successfully with George Cukor at his previous studio, RKO, Selznick arranged for the director, who was still under contract at RKO, to be exchanged for Lionel Barrymore. Film Daily notes that actor Lee Tracy was filming another M-G-M picture, The Nuisance, at the same time he was making this film.
Reviewers commented on the raciness of the concluding line in the film, in which "Carlotta Vance," the character portrayed by Marie Dressler, responds to "Kitty's" passing remark that machinery is taking the place of every profession by saying, "Oh my dear, that's something you never need to worry about." The character of Carlotta was inspired by the popular stage and silent film actress Maxine Elliott, according to Elliott's March 13, 1940 New York Times obituary. In 1934, Dinner at Eight was voted one of the year's ten best by Film Daily's annual poll of critics.