Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gilbert-O-Rama #4: Flesh and the Devil (1926)

Ulrich von Eltz (Lars Hanson) and Leo von Harden (John Gilbert) are lifelong best friends serving in the army together.  At the station during leave, Leo sees Felicitas (Greta Garbo), and it's love at first sight.  Unfortunately, her husband discovers their budding romance, and after Leo kills Felicitas' husband in the resulting duel, he is sent away to Africa for five years.  He asks Ulrich to please watch over her while he's away (you see where this is heading).  Without giving away the rest of the plot, suffice it to say their friendship is torn apart...but something towards the end of the film changes everything. 
You have to see this film.   Yes, it has a good story, and the entire cast does a fantastic job (including Barbara Kent as Hertha, Ulrich's little sister who is hopelessly in love with Leo), but the main reason to watch it?  Jack and Garbo.  Both are absolutely gorgeous in this film, and when in each others' embrace...WOW.  I always doubted it before, but now, after seeing it for myself...you can see the explosive chemistry between them.  Especially Jack - he looks positively bewitched by Garbo.  They were NOT acting.  Jesus, that scene in the garden with the cigarette was one of the sexiest things I've ever seen in my life.
I give this one: 


Artman2112 said...

this is my fave Garbo film and just an incredibly excellent movie on all counts. one thing i love is the contrast in styles of acting between the 3 leads. whereas Gilbert and Hansen tend to be a bit more "theatrical" and animated, Garbo seems to hardly move at all! she floats, slinks and generally seems like a creature from some "other" place and time, almost like an apparition or something.
and how about that ending huh?
i can tell ya, if this didnt get your highest rating there was gonna be trouble, lol!

Avalon76 said...

Oh, there was NO way this was getting less than a 5. LOL You're very right: Hanson and Jack have that bluster and take up a lot of room on the screen...Garbo is diaphanous. She is very much the otherworldly siren.

Irene Palfy said...

That film is just great! I enjoy it every time I watch it. Really, really awesome! :")

Jump_Raven said...

It's been about 3 years since I saw this one. Is this the one with the scene where they drive off the side of a road over a trench that still has some people in it? It would have been at the beginning of the film. I might be thinking of A Woman Of Affairs with Gilbert and Garbo also.

Nevertheless, I do remember this being a gorgeous film to look at.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the very, very, VERY few films where you can see the chemistry between a real-life couple. Amazing stuff.


Artman2112 said...

@ Jump_Raven, yeah that was Woman of Affairs, which is imo the second best Garbo/Gilbert film after this one. unless we count Queen Christina, but i dont really call that a Garbo/Gilbert film.