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Monday, January 3, 2011

Inspiration (released in 1931) - Starring Greta Garbo, Robert Montgomery, Lewis Stone, Marjorie Rambeau and Judith Vosselli

This movie solely rest on the able shoulders of Greta Garbo with everything, the weak script, low chemistry, insipid acting and tiring story fading in to nothingness. Garbo illuminates each and every scene.
This movie directed by Clarence Brown, stars Greta Garbo as the older women falling for a younger man played by Robert Montgomery. This is the only movie in which Garbo acted with Robert Montgomery. Directed by Garbo's favorite director Clarence Brown, this movie is a modernized version of Alphonse Daudet's novel, Sappho.
Yvonne is a worldly wise model in Paris who has gone through all the vices the world can offer. She goes through her lovers to keep her life in Paris, smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and lives life of a gay abandon. At a party he chances upon Andre a small time engineer keeping life afloat and falls in love with him. She leaves her society and all her lovers to live her life with him. But Andre is aghast at her past and Yvonne moves out to give him some space. But soon she returns to start life again and this time a jealous Andre leaves her heart broken. She descends in to poverty and is a pale shadow of her older self.

Both Yvonne and Andre cross paths with each other again and this time he decides to stay put with her. He tries to tell her about a respectable marriage he has contracted and Yvonne begs him to be with her. He also mentions about a great project he has achieved which means traveling abroad. But sensing her desperation Andre chooses his love over his career. He decides to stay with her and buys an estate to keep Yvonne in Paris.
Yvonne slowly realizes the chains she is putting him in. So as he lies sleeping in the couch she writes a letter about her love for him and his need to get on his life and career with out her. She keeps the letter next to him and leaves the place.
This movie was pilloried by all the critics for poor script, and bad acting. It is said that Garbo never liked the character she played and was never pleased with the dialogues. After this movie she had serious differences with the director Clarence Brown and stopped working in his movies. Apart from Garbo's screen presence, the only saving grace of this movie is the art direction. There is one scene where Garbo rejected by her lover, walks aimlessly through the streets of Paris and come to rest at a seedy restaurant. The lighting and the mood brings out the vulnerable woman in her. The lighting and camera angles compliments Garbo in every way and lifts a mundane movie to the next level.
Well nothing much can be said about the other characters because it is just Garbo all the way. Just see it for her sake.

Inspiration (released in 1931) - Starring Greta Garbo, Robert Montgomery, Lewis Stone, Marjorie Rambeau and Judith Vosselli

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