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Aljaz Ciber, Slovenia
Some nice moments and great for Garbo fans, but too long and sprawling
One of the big things this has going for it is 18-year-old Greta Garbo; this was the film that got her noticed and brought to Hollywood the following year ... so if you're a big Garbo fan, this is probably must-see.
The title character is interesting, though the performance from Lars Hanson is too simple, and doesn't adequately convey the passion of a defrocked preacher who has several women fall for him (Mona Mårtenson, Jenny Hasselquist, and Garbo). Better is the performance we get from Gerda Lundequist, who plays a middle-aged married woman with a thinly veiled secret from her past, an old lover who bequeathed her wealth when he passed away.
There is a theme of the consequences to bad decisions in love that runs through these characters, some of which seem crazy (Hasselquist's father locking her out in winter over a single kiss), and others of which are age-old problems (Garbo's marriage to another man despite not loving him, and Lundequist's situation of having a lover and a husband). The women of the film seem to bear the brunt in unfair ways, and there may a feminist message in showing this (or it could be I'm just projecting that, I don't know).
There are some epic scenes which are impressive on the screen, including one with a horse-drawn sleigh running across the ice at night while pursued by wolves, and another with an impressive fire when a mansion is burned down, even though neither seem to make all that much sense.
And unfortunately that's at the heart of the issue I had with the film - it rambles on in exaggerated ways, lacking cohesive vision, and is at times ridiculously melodramatic. It's also far too long at over 3 hours, making it quite a slog to get through.
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