6.6/10
926
23 user 12 critic

The Painted Veil (1934)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 23 November 1934 (USA)
A wife neglected by her husband, a medical researcher in China, falls in love with a dashing diplomatic attaché.

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mata Hari (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I.

Director: George Fitzmaurice
Stars: Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore
Susan Lenox (1931)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Fleeing her cruel uncle and an arranged marriage Susan Lenox falls in love with a kind stranger but circumstances force her to become a woman of easy virtue.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Jean Hersholt
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

While at a ski lodge, Larry Blake sees instructor Karin Borg and decides to sign up for private lessons. The next thing he knows, she is Mrs. Blake. When he announces that he is going back ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett
Anna Karenina (1935)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The married Anna Karenina falls in love with Count Vronsky despite her husband's refusal to grant a divorce, and both must contend with the social repercussions.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew
Camille (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Parisian courtesan must choose between the young man who loves her and the callous baron who wants her, even as her own health begins to fail.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore
Conquest (1937)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Polish countess becomes Napoleon Bonaparte's mistress at the urging of Polish leaders, who feel she could influence him to make Poland independent.

Directors: Clarence Brown, Gustav Machatý
Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Boyer, Reginald Owen
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Queen Christina of Sweden is a popular monarch who is loyal to her country. However, when she falls in love with a Spanish envoy, she must choose between the throne and the man she loves.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith
Wild Orchids (1929)
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A prince in Java tries to seduce his visitor's wife, but he's discovered.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone, Nils Asther
Anna Christie I (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion
The Kiss (1929)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An unhappily married woman is caught up in scandal and murder when her affection toward a young man is misinterpreted.

Director: Jacques Feyder
Stars: Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, Anders Randolf
Romance (1930)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Young Harry is in love and wants to marry an actress, much to the displeasure of his family. Harry thinks that Bishop Armstrong knows nothing about love so Armstrong tells him the story of ... See full summary »

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone, Gavin Gordon
Inspiration (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Yvonne is a beautiful model who loves frequenting the Parisian bohemian life, because he loves hobnobbing with artists.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Robert Montgomery, Lewis Stone
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Herr Koerber
Bodil Rosing ...
Frau Koerber
...
Cecilia Parker ...
Olga
Soo Yong ...
Amah
Forrester Harvey ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Adair ...
Polo Player (scenes deleted)
Mariska Aldrich ...
German Teacher (scenes deleted)
Maidena Armstrong ...
German (scenes deleted)
...
Bridegroom (scenes deleted)
...
Frau Koerber (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

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 <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Do not pass love by...It may never come again!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boyali peçe  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$947,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Most contemporary reviewers list Beulah Bondi in the role of Frau Koerber, but Bodil Rosing is credited onscreen and is in the movie. She probably replaced Bondi in the retakes. Similarly, Billy Bevan was replaced by Hans von Morhart. See more »

Quotes

Jack Townsend: [to Katrin] Why can't we be unhappy together?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Good Earth (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played as background music in the wedding scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Garbo-gorgeous; Marshall-shines; Altruism & Love

This movie is imperfect, but I love it anyway.

Its imperfections:

The soundstage China of 1933's "Bitter Tea of General Yen" leaves the soundstage China of 1934's "Painted Veil" in the dust. "Yen's" China draws you in and intoxicates you. "Painted Veil's" China is fun, but it's a bit silly and superficial. A San Francisco Chinatown Chinese New Year's parade would be more profound.

George Brent is at his worst here. I've never seen him do anything quite like what he does here -- a fly-by-night and exploitative romancer who toys with women's hearts.

Brent wasn't great looking, but he was very good at playing the grounded, reliable foil to electric characters like Bette Davis' Judith Traherne in "Dark Victory."

Here, as Townsend, while speaking serious words, Brent adopts a silly smile, and -- literally -- renounces everything he says in the very next sentence. Maybe a much better looking, or more conventionally handsome, actor could have made this character charming in a snake-like, dangerous way (Erroll Flynn?) but Brent didn't really have the equipment to make Townsend as charming to the audience as he might have been to a neglected wife in China.

Garbo plays a near spinster who watches her younger sister marry, and, on the rebound, marries a man she doesn't love out of desperation.

How on earth could anyone make sense of *Garbo* as a desperate spinster? The movie doesn't even try to make sense of that. It just asks us to believe it. The viewer has to try to make up reasons for her spinster status. (Her parents kept her locked in a closet the first thirty or so years of her life? She had a horrible facial deformaty that suddenly fell off?)

BUT!

I still love this movie.

I love it for the moment when Herbert Marshall says, with the kind of real passion you expect of a contemporary production of a Eugene O'Neill play, that he despises himself for loving Garbo, after she has cuckolded him.

It's great to see Marshall, who so often played helpless men ill used by women ("The Letter," "Duel in the Sun," "The Little Foxes"), here finally able to effectively express his bitterness at being so ill used, and take some action in response, even if that action is intended to be fatal.

I love it for the complications that arise in the final portion. Hearts are changed. Suffering and human sacrifice changes them. Love is born of the kind of big events that sometimes do change people, and life stories, in real life.

This ending, though not in compliance with Maughm's novel, didn't strike me as a "Hollywood" "happy" ending at all. It struck me as a profound ending. It reminded me of a more recent film, Bertolucci's "Besieged," that also talks about the role of altruism in love and eroticism.

For those features, I deeply value this movie, in spite of its superficial imperfections.


28 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Garbo is awful morganseer
The ending tehpohlin
it will be on TCM on June 1st marysolmtz
symbolism kpaletz-1
airing this month in tcm marysolmtz
The Seventh Sin Milret1951
Discuss The Painted Veil (1934) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?