Director George Fitzmaurice’s 1932 romantic drama stars a ravishing bleached-blonde Greta Garbo as alluring, alcoholic Budapest bar entertainer Zara. She is also an amnesiac, who has been carrying on with a novelist (Erich von Stroheim), and turns their love affair into a short story. Then she re-discovers her long-forgotten husband (Melvyn Douglas) and falls for him all over again.
Given the contrived, novelettish yarn (based on the play Come Prima, Meglio di Prima by Luigi Pirandello), scenarist Gene Markey fashions a fairly subtle and classy screenplay. MGM studios give their number star of the era a big production, and the backing of charismatic co-stars in Melvyn Douglas as the husband Count Bruno Varelli and a (monocled, virtually bald, and moustacheless Erich von Stroheim as the lover Carl Salter.
A fine Garbo performance and a battle royal between her and von Stroheim compensate for the unoriginal romantic shenanigans later in the movie. It is rarely shown, perhaps because it is not quite top-drawer Garbo, but it is entertaining nonetheless.
Also in the cast are Owen Moore, Hedda Hopper, Rafaela Ottiano, Albert Conti, Roland Varno, William Ricciardi, Warburton Gamble, Max Barwyn, Edmund Breese and George Davis.
It is shot in black and white by William H Daniels, produced by George Fitzmaurice and set designed by Cedric Gibbons.
It was remade as This Love of Ours in 1945 and again in 1956 as Never Say Goodbye.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5320
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