In Czarist Russia, Anna Karenina falls in love with the dashing military officer Count Vronsky and abandons her husband and child to become Vronsky's mistress. Tragedy ensues when Vronsky ... See full summary »
The daughter of a struggling musician forms a symphony orchestra made up of his unemployed friends and through persistence, charm and a few misunderstandings, is able to get Leopold ... See full summary »
Gösta Berling is a young and attractive minister. Because he is an alcoholic and his preaches are far too daring, he is finally defrocked. He leaves the town in disgrace and arrives at ... See full summary »
Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and ... See full summary »
After a brief informal meeting two months earlier when they were impressed with each other, Countess Marie Walewska formally meets Napoleon Bonaparte at a ball in Warsaw. When Napoleon notes her husband is three times her age, and as he is taken with her charms, he unsuccessfully tries to seduce her. She ignores his frequent letters and flowers until a few grim Polish leaders led by Senator Malachowski urge her to give into his desires as a personal sacrifice in order to save Poland. She goes to him despite the humiliation of her husband, who leaves for Rome to annul their marriage. They are extremely happy for a while; Napoleon divorces childless Empress Josephine and Marie eventually becomes pregnant. She is about to tell Napoleon about her baby when he tells her he decided to marry Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. He explains it will be a political marriage to insure his future son could rule securely with Hapsburg blood in him. It will not affect their relationship, he says, ... Written by
Arthur Hausner <email@example.com>
The lavish ballroom set where Napoleon dances with Marie Walewska is actually identical to that used in Maytime (1937) - the Jeanette McDonald /Nelson Eddy operetta. It has simply been redressed and given a different floor covering and shot from a different angle. See more »
This has to be one of the most intelligent movies exploring the theme of power and its corrupting effects upon love. Napoleon (admirably played by Charles Boyer) is not shown as a complete monster or idealist, but as a man who gradually loses his humanity as he becomes consumed with dreams of universal power. Even at the end, he rejects a woman's love in order to become a legend, exiled alone in St. Helena.
Greta Garbo does a really stirring job as the woman (Countess Marie Walewska) who genuinely loves him just for being a human being, and is distressed to see him corrupted by increasing dreams of worldwide domination, founding a new dynasty, etc. It is remarkable how she manages to avoid romantic clichés and deal in direct and honest fashion. In this respect, the movie seems remarkably modern.
I really recommend this film to anyone interested in human relationships, not just French history. Garbo, as always, is as intelligent and humane as she is sexy, and has many interesting things to say. I still reckon her best performance is in Queen Christina, still this is not far short of it. You can feel the decades melting away just listening to her.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?