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...
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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 becoming an opera star in Paris, the girl returns to her homeland and finds her romance with the nobleman rekindled.Written by
Greta Garbo has always struck me as a wonderful actresses, very rightly regarded as a screen legend. First saw her in 'Camille' over ten years ago and she captivated and moved me then. She was my main reason in seeing 1926's 'Torrent', most interesting for it being her first American film. It is based upon source material written by Vicente Blasco Ibanez (not read it on a side note), one of the most popularly adapted novelists at the time and also has Ricardo Cortez top billed in one of not many times somebody else was billed above Garbo.
'Torrent' is not one of Greta's best films overall, but it is to me among her best early films and already there are clear signs of what made her such a wonderful actress that would become even more refined with each film. Not every film Garbo did was great, 'Torrent' though is one of them, but bad performances from her were next to rare. Her performance here is a long way from bad, quite the opposite in the best of ways, and a vast majority of her performances were captivating.
My only quibble with 'Torrent' is some histrionic acting in the supporting roles, other than that the film is a winner and quite underrated today.
Visually, the film looks beautiful. The settings are sumptuous and don't look static or claustrophobic and the lighting isn't too dim. The star in this regard though in the cinematography, those close ups of Garbo are more often than not stunning and truly enhance her expressive face. The music implemented doesn't have a tacked on feel and isn't at odds with the tone.
It is sympatheritically directed by Monta Bell, who doesn't try to do too much while not seeming disinterested. The script is thought provoking, flows well and doesn't ramble or sound too flowery. The story is a slight one, but is also very charming and poignant. With the tension being subtly edge of the seat and the romantic element easy to get behind, even with Rafael being an unsympathetic character for much of the film.
Cannot say anything negative about Garbo, who is touching and riveting in even the smaller moments where expressions speak louder than words. Some may find her casting improbable, not to me. Cortez shows early on how good he was in playing unsympathetic characters, though the roles he went on to play were even smarmier and much more villainous. Martha Mattox is suitably formidable in the domineering mother role.
Overall, great. 9/10
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