Austrian Captain Karl von Raden attends the opera one evening, and meets Tania. After the performance, he takes her home, and the two of them spend the next day on a romantic outing. That evening, Karl must deliver some important plans to Berlin. Just before boarding his train, he learns that Tania is really a Russian spy. She comes to see him aboard the train, and admits that she set things up on purpose so as to meet him, but she also insists that she truly has fallen in love with him. When Karl rebuffs her coldly, she steals the plans, which leads to him being court-martialed and imprisoned. Karl's influential uncle is able to provide him with one last chance to clear his name. Written by
I don't think any silent screen female star came close to exhibiting the pure sensual sexuality Greta Garbo conveyed. I offer her role in "The Mysterious Lady" as proof of that contention.
The plot is simple enough. Tania Federova (the aforementioned G. Garbo) has set up a military officer (Conrad Nagel as Captain Karl von Rader) in Vienna to gather what information she might. They have met conveniently at the opera, and when she shares that she has brought no money, he offers her a ride home. He is already smitten, and she agrees to see him the next day.
I know it is a movie and that there are time constraints within which the writers must work, but theirs is a whirlwind affair. They are in love within hours. As Von Rader is preparing to leave for Berlin, he is told she is a spy. Their meeting on the train doesn't go well, and she steals the documents he is carrying to boot.
What follows is that the Captain must clear his name due to his misfortune and we must see what will become of these two, and I'm not telling what happens. But what I would like to share is how well Garbo comes across.
She was only 23 years old at the time of the film's release. But she had already the look of one much older and certainly the style of an experienced woman of the world. And the cinematography perfectly heightens her allure.
There is a brief shot early in the movie when she turns out the light as she prepares to retire for the evening. She is leaning against a wall and switches off the light; the light that remains perfectly casts her in a striking pose. There are a number of nearly equal elegant shots throughout, and in my view she wore a clingy gown as well as any Hollywood actress ever did.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?