Dinner at Eight is a TV remake of the 1933 MGM film of the same name; both films were adapted from the play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. While the basic plot point of a social-climbing woman (Marsha Mason) throwing a "best people" dinner party has not dated all that much, other elements prevalent in the 1933 version were due for an overhaul 56 years later. The aging, near-impoverished stage actress played con brio by Marie Dressler in the original becomes a jet-setting "literary raconteur" (read: "trash novelist") in the form of Lauren Bacall. And the alcoholic matinee idol portrayed by John Barrymore in 1933 is transformed into a Pacino type (Harry Hamlin) with a drug and attitude problem for the 1989 version. While not exactly improvements, these alterations do not stand out like sore thumbs, as do many past attempts at updating old material. Only Ellen Greene, in Jean Harlow's role as the floozielike wife of a corrupt businessman, falls short of the original. Produced by actress Shelley Duvall, the 1989 Dinner at Eight was first shown on December 11, 1989 over the TNT Cable network.
by Hal Erickson synopsis