31 user 16 critic

The Painted Veil (1934)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 23 November 1934 (USA)
A wife neglected by her husband, a medical researcher in China, falls in love with a dashing diplomatic attaché.


John Meehan (screen play), Salka Viertel (screen play) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Katrin
Herbert Marshall ... Walter Fane
George Brent ... Jack Townsend
Warner Oland ... General Yu
Jean Hersholt ... Herr Koerber
Bodil Rosing ... Frau Koerber
Katharine Alexander ... Mrs. Townsend
Cecilia Parker ... Olga
Soo Yong ... Amah
Forrester Harvey ... Waddington
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Adair Robert Adair ... Polo Player (scenes deleted)
Mariska Aldrich Mariska Aldrich ... German Teacher (scenes deleted)
Maidena Armstrong Maidena Armstrong ... German (scenes deleted)
Billy Bevan ... Bridegroom (scenes deleted)
Beulah Bondi ... Frau Koerber (scenes deleted)


In Austria, Katrin is lonely after her sister's marriage and she agrees to marry her father's research associate Dr. Walter Fane. Fane takes her to China but constantly ignors her in favour of his medical research. Lonely Katrin has an affair with Jack Townsend of the British Embassy. When it is discovered by Walter he becomes very bitter. Fane travels to fight a cholera epidemic and Katrin goes with him and helps. They grow closer together than ever before but Walter is knifed in a riot incited by the burning of a cholera infested town. Now their new found happiness will depend on Walter's survival. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hail to the one and only Garbo, who alone can lift heart-stabbing romance like this to its greatest heights. GARBO MAGIC--This glamorous portrayal of a woman who needed her birth right of love...and dared to take it! (Print Ad- Albany Times-Union, ((Albany, NY)) 22 November 1934) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Background shots in China, supervised by George W. Hill, were also used in The Good Earth (1937). See more »


Garbo carefully hides the racy dress in her sisters honeymoon suitcase, but when they all go downstairs, no one takes the case. Garbo is the last to leave and the suitcase is still on the bed. See more »


Olga: [hugs Katrin tightly] Come with us to the crossroads.
Katrin Koerber Fane: No, darling, let's say goodbye here where we've always been together.
[kisses Olga on the lips, four times]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Garbo's name in the opening credits uses a font that forms the same Gothic arch in the letters as is used in Maugham's symbol. The other credits also use this to a lesser extent. See more »


Remade as The Seventh Sin (1957) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played as background music in the wedding scene
See more »

User Reviews

Greta Garbo Makes it Worthwhile Watching Once
26 February 2016 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In Austria, after the marriage of her beloved sister, Katrin (Greta Garbo) is proposed to marry Dr. Walter Fane (Herbert Marshall), who is a former student of her father and is researching cholera. They travel to Hong Kong and Katrin is totally neglected by her husband. Soon she has a love affair with the diplomat Jack Townsend (George Brent). When Walter discovers her love affair, he proposes the divorce provided Jack leaves his wife and marry Katrin. But this procedure would destroy his diplomatic career and Katrin leaves Jack. Walter decides to travel to the countryside to a village with cholera epidemic and forces Katrin to travel with him to punish her. What will happen to his wife?

"The Painted Veil" is a romance with a corny conclusion about a marriage without love of a dedicated researcher and a bored housewife. The imperialism of the Westerns is impressive and a doctor is capable to order to burn down the houses of the villagers to the ground without explaining them the reason why. Only Greta Garbo makes it worthwhile watching this film once. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Véu Pintado" ("The Painted Veil")

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Chinese | English

Release Date:

23 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Painted Veil See more »


Box Office


$947,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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