17 user 10 critic

A Woman of Affairs (1928)

Not Rated | | Drama | 15 December 1928 (USA)
When two childhood sweethearts are kept from marrying, misery ensues.


Clarence Brown


Michael Arlen (from a story by), Marian Ainslee (titles) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Diana Merrick
John Gilbert ... Neville Holderness
Lewis Stone ... Dr. Hugh Trevelyan
Johnny Mack Brown ... David Furness (as John Mack Brown)
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Jeffry Merrick
Hobart Bosworth ... Sir Morton Holderness
Dorothy Sebastian ... Constance


Even when Diana, Neville and David played together as children, Diana knew that she loved Nevs. But Morton, Nevs' father, did not like any Merrick. Since Nevs did not have any money, Morton sent him off to Egypt to work and also talked him out of marrying Diana before he left. Diana waited two years and then married David, who Jeffry thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread. While in Paris, David jumps to his death when the cops come after him and Diana lies about the reason for the sake of Jeffry. Of course Jeffry, who has been a drunk all his life, cuts all ties with Diana. While Nevs still loves Diana, she does not return to England for seven years - just 3 days before Nevs' wedding to Constance. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love-mad escapades...noble passions! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Michael Arlen's 1924 novel was turned into a play of the same title, "The Green Hat". It opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St., on September 25, 1925 and ran for 231 performances. See more »


When Diana-as-a-little-girl rides her bike into the tree, you can clearly see the cut where the little girl (with short legs and her foot off the pedal) becomes the stunt-double (with long legs and her foot on the pedal). See more »


Neville: Constance is outside. Will you go and talk to her? It was only honorable to bring her along.
Hugh: [Sarcastically] Oh, yes - honor. We mustn't forget that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer also released this picture as a totally silent movie. See more »


Featured in Garbo (2005) See more »


Garbo Valsen
Music by Henry Southerland
Lyrics by Arne Riesinger
See more »

User Reviews

Garbo is wonderful
18 October 2019 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

This film is a great Garbo vehicle, and has such a perfect example of her mystique. She somehow manages to be a woman who enjoys sexual pleasure and the company of men, but at the same time, is saintly, with a love that is pure for only one man, and sacrifices herself in more than one way ... and she is transcendent on both sides of this coin. The film is packed with moments where a range of her wonderful expressions are on display, some vivid, some subtle. If you're a Garbo fan or want to become one, this would certainly not be a bad place to start.

Unfortunately, the film suffers a bit from a heavy dose of melodrama, most of which seems pretty contrived. The plot often doesn't make a lot of sense, in part because the original story was watered down pretty significantly for the censors. An example of this is the questioning of Garbo after her husband has committed suicide. It's obvious why this happened; he was about to be arrested for embezzlement and the police saw him jump, so the viewer (ok me anyway) is watching the aftermath thinking huh? In the original, however, it was because he has syphilis, something that was obviously a personal secret, and hence the questioning (and also later shunning) of Garbo. There are other examples that took too much of the edge off the story and made it less sensical.

Garbo dominates the film, but it's a fine cast behind her. John Gilbert is given less to do here which is too bad, but the chemistry the pair had is quite evident in a couple of open lip kisses. Dorothy Sebastian is radiant as a virtuous woman, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is suitably desperate as an alcoholic.

The film touches on marrying someone who is decent and loving them for that quality, but being passionate and truly in love with someone else, which is a timeless theme. The scene where Garbo is waiting in her honeymoon bed and gets a tepid kiss on the forehead, then in frustration resorts to turning on and off the overhead light after being left alone says it all. At one point her real love, played, by Gilbert, asks "Why did I ever let you go?" to which she responds "Yes, why?", and I don't think the film gives a good answer to this question, especially as it plays out. The pace as it does so is a little on the slow side too, and the dramatic ending is over-the-top. It's a near miss for getting a higher rating, but it's certainly watchable for Garbo.

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Release Date:

15 December 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Woman of Affairs See more »


Box Office


$383,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(Turner library print) | (copyright time) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono (musical score and sound effects)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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