This is a movie with many misfortunes in the course of the story. Other than that, it’s exciting, somewhat romantic, and rather sad. It also has a great cast with some of my favorites: Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno and Lionel Barrymore.
It begins with a masquerade ball in Paris where Manuel meets a sullen woman named Elena. They spend all night declaring their love with one another, which makes one think the entire film will be as beautiful and ethereal as the sequence of their romance was.
By early morning, it is too painful to leave one another but Manuel gives her a ring to remember him by. It’s been about five hours maybe and they’re practically engaged.
Then Manuel goes and visits his good friend Marques De Torre Bianca and is aghast when he discovers his wife is Elena. There is betrayal in her eyes and Manuel is crushed. After a banker commits suicide after blaming Elena for leaving in debt, Bianca is saddened to find out because he had made her have an affair with him. Manuel returns to his native country Argentina to forget Elena.
His town in Argentina is in great need of workers for the building of a new dam or there will be flooding. All them men become very close and cooperate.
But Greta Garbo comes back with her husband and drives them crazy…..Actually, she drives all men crazy as they all conflict with one another.
This film had some great moments, including a very dramatic whip scene with Antonio Moreno, whom I loved in The Spanish Dancer. There are also heroic moments with Lionel Barrymore. What I really loved most, though, was Greta Garbo. She appeared angelic with all that special lightning, makeup and attire. She was a delicate beauty as she ever was in her films, especially silents.
The thing I was that it felt sort of long and Garbo tempting other men and luring them to their doom was just overdone. It just made sad how silly the men were to display so much adulation for a person that they could even kill others because of it.
If one enjoys movies with forbidden, troubled romance, whip scenes, jealousy and luscious leading ladies, then this is highly recommended. It’s also a bit depressing. Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno shared great chemistry.
Overall I would give this movie three stars.
This was my entry for the Barrymore Trilogy Bogathon. There are many interesting entries to read!