A young girl and her father are kicked out of their house by a cruel noblewoman, and the girl's heart is broken when her sweetheart, the noblewoman's son, won't go to Paris with them. After... 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 »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
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 »
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
Interesting Role For Garbo, Plus Some Good Set Pieces
This silent drama provides an interesting role for Greta Garbo, who was still rather young at the time. It also has some good set pieces created by directors Fred Niblo and/or Mauritz Stiller, which liven up the story considerably. The supporting cast also features a couple of good performances, and all of the strengths help to make up for a rather downbeat story.
As "The Temptress", Garbo is certainly believable as a woman who attracts the attention of every man around. What makes it more interesting than most such scenarios is that both the script and Garbo's performance leave some ambiguity about what the character is really like inside, and in any case she has a lot more depth than the male characters. The best supporting performances come from Lionel Barrymore and Marc McDermott, as two of the many men who desire her.
Several sequences are filmed very nicely. Fontenoy's dinner party is an effective display of the hollow lifestyle it depicts, and there is some real danger and menace in the fight scene between Robledo and Manos Duras. The pace overall is uneven, and it does have some slow stretches that add unnecessarily to the running time, but the good parts make up for this. At least one DVD version includes a variant ending that changes the tone considerably, so there must have been some uncertainty about how it should close.
Garbo's talent and screen presence are both easy to see, and in later features her characters would give her better opportunities to show them. She does a very good job here, and makes her character much more interesting than it would have been with a lesser performer in the role. Overall, it's a movie worth seeing for silent film fans, with some real highlights that make up for the occasional shortcomings.
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