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Friday, December 10, 2010

Love (released in 1927) - Starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

Love is adapted from the timeless classic of Leo Tolstoy "Anna Karenina" and stars Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. Directed by Edmound Goudling this movie from the MGM stables try to capture the Greta-Gilbert erotic chemistry to the fullest.
The Russian army officer Count Vronsky on the way to battle enters an inn and spies on a women. He tries to flirt with her and the annoyed lady rebuffs his advances but Vronsky is taken in by her very beautiful countenance. Vronsky is again presented with the same lady, Anna as a wife of the Russian senator, Karenin. Anna though initially is cold to Vronsky's passion thaws and they soon start an affair. Anna is very unhappy in her marriage with her husband who has no time left for her. Her only consolation is her son Sergei, whom she dotes on.
As the passionate affair continues, it becomes the talk of the town and soon the word reaches Karenin's ears. A love sozzled Anna makes a spectacle of herself at the races and the angry senator confronts the lovers and drags Anna back home. He even tries to get Vronsky courtmartialled for disciplinary reasons. Both Anna and Vronsky elope and leave Russia for Italy. But even though Anna finds passion, her love for her child drives her to guilt. She ultimately returns to Russia to inquire upon her son. But her husband forbades her meeting with Sergei and tells her that the boy has been told that she is dead. A heartbroken Anna tries everything to get her son back, but the twisted laws of that era prevent her from getting his custody.

On the other hand a love sick Vronsky follows her to Russia and they start living in together. But Anna's guilt and the lack of respectability drives her to alcohol and depression. Karenin tries to get back at Vronsky by diminishing his social status and Anna begs him not to resort to vengeance. Karenin asks her leave St. Petersburg forever and not to see Sergei again. Upon loosing her son Anna commits suicide by stepping in front of the train. This tragic version true to the Tolstoy's novel was distributed internationally
To satisfy the American audiences, the ending was slightly altered. A time leap of five years was envisaged where Vronsky meets Anna's son graduating from military college. He meets him and Sergei invites him over to his house where Anna is residing. Karenin has passed away and the lovers reunite again with the blessing of Sergei.
Love was beset with many problems and Greta Garbo was seriously ill during its production. It is also said that Garbo was part of the strike asking for higher remuneration from the studio and she returned to her shoot only after a substantial pay hike.
This movie was initially titled Heat and was a block buster of that year. This was one of the last silent era movies of Greta Garbo and she again was to make Anna Karenina with Clarence Brown.

Love (released in 1927) - Starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

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