Flesh and the Devil

Clarence Brown, director of seven of Garbo's films, teams with William Daniels, the cinematographer who captured "The Face" of Garbo in close-up, in this visually elegant film, the classic Garbo silent. Garbo plays the countess who turns the relationship between two friends-for-life (John Gilbert and Lars Hanson) into a triangle. "Without being a great film in itself, Flesh and the Devil, the first of the Garbo-Gilbert romances, was quite certainly a box office milestone - and it also represents something of a high-water mark in the sheer elegance and 'bigness' of movies in their most glamorous era. The sets have a solidity and glossiness which is staggering, and the technical proficiency of the trick effects - stunning matte-shots, for example, which literally make today's efforts look crude by comparison - is unsurpassed. The photography gleams and shimmers. And dramatically, the picture is big in every sense of the word. Honor, loyalty, love - strong emotions all of them, are given full expression in a story which permits no facile solutions but demands a duel, a ravaging sickness, a desperate pursuit across a frozen lake, and similar ingredients, before a happy - or at least, a satisfying - ending could be reached." --"Classics of the Silent Screen"

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