Director Monta Bell’s 1926 silent movie success is notable as the first American movie of Greta Garbo, helping her to become an international superstar during the late silent era. Louis B Mayer hired Garbo but MGM was initially unsure what to do with her. This did the trick.
Garbo stars as a poor Spanish peasant country girl called Leonora Moreno, who lives on a big estate in Spain, owned by a handsome nobleman Don Rafael Brull (Ricardo Cortez), and falls in love with him. But his interfering domineering mother Doña Bernarda Brull (Martha Mattox) forbids their marriage. Years later Leonora returns from France, now a rich and famous opera star, only to find that Don Rafael has never married and is prematurely old.
In MGM’s enjoyable, deservedly still-famed debut silent vehicle for Garbo, director Bell achieves the right melancholic bitter-sweet feeling of regret for things that might have been and elicits a beautifully judged silent movie acting performance from Garbo.
Dorothy Farnum, Katherine Hilliker and H H Caldwell adapt their screenplay from the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez.
It is shot by William Daniels and produced by Hunt Stromberg.
Also in the cast are Gertrude Olmstead, Edward Connelly, Lucien Littlefield, Martha Mattox, Tully Marshall, Mack Swain, Lucy Beaumont, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Lillian Leighton, Mario Carillo, André Cheron and Dorothy Sebastian.
The torrent is the flood in the film’s small-town setting, bringing the couple together.
The film grossed $668,000 worldwide, for a $126,000 profit.
All of Garbo’s subsequent movies were also made in Hollywood and produced by MGM.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5327
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