Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1936. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Zoe Akins, Frances Marion, James Hilton, from the play and novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. Cinematography by William H. Daniels, Karl Freund. Produced by Bernard H. Hyman, Irving Thalberg. Music by Herbert Stothart. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons. Costume Design by Adrian. Film Editing by Margaret Booth. Academy Awards 1937.
Greta Garbo is excellent in this age-old, oft-told tale of a reckless courtesan who falls in love with an earnest and devastatingly rich man (Robert Taylor). Naturally, his father asks her for his son’s sake to back off and let the guy marry a virgin, so she goes and gets consumption in order to not be in the way any longer. Garbo’s intense performance keeps you from seeing it as schlock, even today, and every frame is filled with beautifully dreamy black-and-white photography.