In Austria, Katrin is lonely after her sister's marriage and she agrees to marry her father's research associate Dr. Walter Fane. Fane takes her to China but constantly ignors her in favour of his medical research. Lonely Katrin has an affair with Jack Townsend of the British Embassy. When it is discovered by Walter he becomes very bitter. Fane travels to fight a cholera epidemic and Katrin goes with him and helps. They grow closer together than ever before but Walter is knifed in a riot incited by the burning of a cholera infested town. Now their new found happiness will depend on Walter's survival. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film has some rather fantastic elements about it, mainly that Greta Garbo would be playing a spinster, and that having several suitors - as her mother claims that she has - she would hastily accept a marriage proposal from someone for whom she has absolutely no passion. In this case it is Herbert Marshall playing both an unloved husband and a devoted medical researcher into the cause and prevention of cholera. The other fantastic element is trying to believe that there is any chemistry between Garbo and "the other man, George Brent. Brent
who was so wonderful with Kay Francis, Bette Davis, and Ruth
Chatterton - is here no more attractive than the husband he is trying to supplant. He has all the chemistry of a cardboard box.
The best part of the film is once Marshall realizes he has been cuckolded and makes an ultimatum to his faithless wife. He has just learned of a raging cholera epidemic in inland China and must go there and try to get it under control. His wife can stay behind if Brent's character agrees to get a divorce, in which case she can also have one. If he does not agree to this, then Garbo must come along with him on his expedition and thus be exposed to the most extreme danger.
This was one of Garbo's first films after the production code came into effect earlier in 1934. There were so many limits put on what could be said and shown and even insinuated that it really put a damper on what was supposed to be a pretty torrid love triangle. Trying to perform in a moral straight jacket is probably what really cost this film its potential edge. I'd recommend this for Garbo completists only.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?