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Georg Wilhelm Pabst
In a masked ball in Paris, Manuel Robledo, a young Argentinian architect, meets Elena, the Marquess of Torre Blanca. Later, the young woman is rightly accused causing the misfortune and loss of wealth of Fontenoy, a man who fell for her charms. To escape social criticism, the Marquis of Torre Blanca transfers his residence to Argentina. There, Elena meets again Manuel, when he is building a river's dam. Manos Duras, a thug, harasses Elena, and when Manuel intervenes, he defies him to a whip duel. The duel is long and vicious, both men suffering many cuts on their faces and naked chests, but in the end, the thug is vanquished and humiliated. Manos Duras sets up an ambush to murder Manuel, but the Marquis of Torre Blanca is killed instead. Now, there only two men in love for Elena, the eternal temptress^ÅWritten by
Ibanez never wrought a more powerful and alluring story than this tale of a girl who gambled with men, love, life itself! Dramatic! Colorful! Romantic! A great production, directed by the man who made "Ben Hur", with a great cast plus Greta Garbo, the flaming new film beauty. (Newspaper ad cut). See more »
Pretty good, but way too familiar territory for Greta Garbo fans
This is a very good silent film, though I had just watched two other Greta Garbo films that were incredibly similar to this one--as she plays the vamp in all three! I can't blame Ms. Garbo for this, as MGM definitely type-cast her despite her objections. In fact, she was so irritated by this theme that she went on strike to try to force the studio to give her different roles. But, considering that the public loved the films and they were all very successful, MGM wasn't about to mess with a tried-and-true formula.
This film is at least a little different in that much of the time men were destroyed when they fell for Garbo in this film, but she was never directly responsible for their downfall. She was more like the old "Typhoid Mary" character--someone who just seems to have bad things follow her where ever she goes! The problem with this is that no matter how sultry and alluring Ms. Garbo might have been, no one is THAT seductive that man after man after man destroy themselves in order to try to get her! However, the story does have a few new elements and the overall production values are exceptional. So, if you view this film WITHOUT considering how derivative it is, then it's an awfully good film.
By the way, the TCM DVD includes an alternative ending that was apparently used when the film was shown in rural settings. Instead of the marvelous original but sad ending (that, in my opinion is perfect), there is an upbeat and sappy one that just doesn't ring true.
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