(Mostly about movies and tv, rather than language.)
In the Spring 2015 issue of The American Scholar, the piece “Looking for Mister Gustave: Who is the inspiration for the Grand Budapest’s concierge?” by Elena S. Danielson:
The central figure in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, winner of this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy and the recipient of nine Academy Award nominations, is the hotel’s concierge, Monsieur Gustave H. Played with great aplomb by Ralph Fiennes, Gustave is a genuinely appealing, the epitome of Middle European charm and style. He recites syrupy Rilke-esque poetry while seeing to the needs of the hotel’s well-heeled guests — the men as well as the aging women who seek him out for certain discreet and salacious entertainments — who, in return, bestow extravagant gifts upon him.
But then one of these women, Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoff und Taxis [wonderful name!] — the aristocratic Madame D — is found dead under suspicious circumstances. At the reading of her will, Gustave is awarded possession of a rare and valuable painting
The question is then whether Gustave is a con man, a swindler.
Danielson seeks a hotel con man in the writings of Stefan Zweig (whose work was an inspiration for Anderson’s film), but she “did not find any conniving concierges in Zweig’s mesmerizing short stories and novellas”. Then she looks at two more promising candidates, in Vicki Baum’s Grand Hotel and Thomas Mann’s Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man.