The Flesh, the Devil, Greta & John…

From the  Garbo silent film, “Flesh and the Devil.”  Greta plays a femme fatale whose first victim is Leo, an army officer from a castle nearby.  At a ball…

…he sees her again, he’s done for now!  “May I have this waltz..?”  She says yes, and glides towards him like a vampire going for the neck…

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After the dance, the slip off into the garden for a while.  The scene, technically advanced for the day, is lit by matches and moonlight.  He tells her the obvious – “You are very beautiful.”  She makes a moue and says, “You are very young…”  They do the cigarette exchange drill before the inevitable passionate kiss…followed by a period of …bliss.

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Some shots from their illicit domestic ecstasy – does he not know she’s married?  (Of course, why should he care..?  He’s an officer!)  Garbo’s glittering dress, painted lips, and her tangled clutch with John Gilbert (her lover in off-screen life) creates some of the silent screen’s more memorable images…but the husband intrudes, and a duel is scheduled.

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Oh dear…Leo killed the husband and had to flee the law.  His friend Ulrich obeys his parting words and goes to her to see that she is taken care of…Of course, Ulrich is rich…if she needs anything at all, please just call…How can she fail to give him the privilege of lighting her cigarette?  He fumbles with several matches, but succeeds at last.  He’s finished!

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In the end, Ulrich and Leo are reunited in undying friendship, with the fatal woman out of the way thanks to some conveniently thin ice that shattered and swallowed her up as she rushed to prevent them from shooting each other in yet another affair of honor…

2 Responses to The Flesh, the Devil, Greta & John…

  1. troutsky says:

    Very few women leave a trail of corpses like that anymore. Dull times indeed.

  2. lichanos says:

    Ah, a committed revolutionary with a taste for sensual romance! Too few and far between…

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