Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1930. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Frances Marion, based on the play by Eugene O’Neill. Cinematography by William H. Daniels. Produced by Paul Bern, Clarence Brown, Irving Thalberg. Music by William Axt. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons. Costume Design by Adrian. Film Editing by Hugh Wynn. Academy Awards 1929/1930.
Garbo talks! The great actress’s first talkie is a bit of a stinker nowadays, laden with its dated morality and stodgy dialogue, but its cinematic historical significance should mean some will very much want to watch it. Garbo plays a woman of “dubious reputation” who returns to her father’s house years after he sent her away to live a better life in Minnesota. She hopes that he won’t know her big secret of the last few years (she lived in a house of “ill repute”) but inevitably it finds its way to him. Marie Dressler is excellent in a supporting role as the town drunk. Good for Garbo’s fans, boring for everyone else, like many films of the day, this one was shot twice, in German and in English, although unlike von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel this one used two separate casts except for Garbo in the lead.