Grand Hotel: “I want to be alone” Quote Off Extravaganza!

The Grand Hotel
C’est grande!

The Grand Hotel (1932) shouldn’t be confused with the Grand Budapest Hotel, primarily as the two are separated by 80 years. It’s about a disparate batch of folk staying in a hotel who have to deal with their problems during the course of the narrative. Starring Greta Garbo and John Barrymore, it’s recognised as a cinema classic. Hurray!

It’s most famous quote comes from Garbo, who insists “I want to be alone”. Well, fine, you can be left alone then, dear, but just before we do let us take a moment to think what would have happened if she’d accidentally said something else.

I want to be alone

She wants to be alone. So leave her alone then, you morons! Honestly, that sexist bloody bloke stands around wittering on like a jackass whilst she’s in need of some solitude. There’s no defending that sort of behaviour.

I wanna be alone

Garbo - I want to be alone

One minor adjustment here for modern cinema-goers. That’ll keep the kids happy.

I want to be a bone

Greta Garbo

Any reasoning behind this one, Garbo? You could want to be many things, but a bone? It doesn’t do anything… some lie about in the ground, others are encased in muscle and flesh. Bit weird this desire, love.

I want to be Joan (of Arc)

Garbo - I want to be alone

That’s a pretty lofty reach to aim for, Garbo, much more like it. Well done.

I want to be a crone

Greta Garbo

Erm… maybe raise your standards a bit love, yeah? That’s not the best thing you can aim for in life. Perhaps adopt a meat-free diet and exercise more to further yourself.

I want to be a gnome

Garbo - I want to be alone

Why? Why would you want to be a gnome? It doesn’t make any sense. Do you want to just stand about in a garden all day? You can do that without being a gnome, dear.

I taunt to be alone

Greta Garbo

Well, yeah, if you’re taking the piss out of people all the time then they’re not going to hang around you. Decent plan.

I pole vault to be alone

Garbo - I want to be alone

Yeah, well you’ll be able to do that. Not many people will be able to get up there with you once you’ve got some decent pole vaulting skills behind you. We must admit, a Greta Garbo pole vaulting film would definitely be worth watching.

I want to be a stone

Greta Garbo

*Deep sigh* We’re getting a bit sick of these stupid fantasies, Garbo. Aim higher! Think – use your imagination, you’re a bloody actress!

I want to be stoned

Garbo - I want to be alone

We didn’t mean like that! This isn’t the career of lifestyle path you want to take – do not given into temptation, Garbo!

I want to be dethroned

Greta Garbo

As the Queen of England? You’re American, Garbo, you’re not allowed to rule over your subjects in this way. Stick to being the Queen of Hollywood.

I want to be a clone

Garbo - I want to be alone

Of what… yourself? What exactly would that achieve, you’d just end up being yourself, but the second version. Specious reasoning here, Garbo. Very odd.

I want to be a phone

Greta Garbo

Yes, well the way many Millennials are going at it you’re amongst millions of others, madam.

I want to be Al Capone

Garbo - I want to be alone

Okay, well the special effects department will have to turn you from a beautiful woman into a dribbling psychopath male, but that should be possible even by 1930s standards. Just stick a wig on her and draw on a fake beard. Sorted.

I want to be known

Greta Garbo

You’re in a classic movie, dear, you’re sorted for that. Stop pining over things you already have! It’s counterproductive.

And finally…

I want to be

Garbo - I want to be alone

An existential crisis if ever there was one. All we can recommend, Greta Garbo, is you get yourself a bucket of ice cream and, once you’ve eaten that, you’ll realise you do, indeed, be.


  1. I got a bit excited with the “I want to be a stone”. I thought she was referring to being a Rolling Stone…. you know in the band with Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie. She’s about the right age now, so would fit right in, and could play the tambourine.
    Then I realized stone was not capitalized. My bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Emma Stone would be the best fit for the Rolling Stones, non? According to La La Land, she can dance and sing, so that’s all the Rolling Stones could ever need.


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