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Flesh and the Devil

USA, English, 109 mins

  • Director: Clarence Brown
  • Writer: Marian Ainslee; Benjamin Glazer
  • Producer: Irving Thalberg

CGiii Comment

What did the public see in John Gilbert?

He wasn't a particularly handsome man and died at 36 years old, a drunk who had a penchant for lesbian lovers, Dietrich and Garbo.

In this film, all the men are as camp as tits - literal bum-chums.

Garbo is astounding - shifting the sentiments all over the place with a simple look. No wonder Gilbert was smitten.

The subtext is as subtle as Garbo's allure - 2 friends grow overly fond of each other and, through many trials and tribulations, realise that they are made for each other - what makes it even more stunning is not a word is spoken - the silent era definitely did not insult its audience.

This is complex, subtle and stunning cinema - how we have regressed.


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

Leo and Ulrich are life long friends. Home, on leave from their military training, Leo sees the beautiful Felicitas at the railroad station. Awed by her beauty, they meet again at the ball and quietly leave together. In her room, her husband, about whom she has neglected to inform Leo, comes in and challenges Leo to a duel. The duel is done, the Count is killed, and Felicitas is a widow. Leo, however, is 'requested' to serve 5 years in Africa and he tells Ulrich to watch over Felicitas while he is gone. After 3 years, Ulrich is able to get a pardon for Leo, and all that Leo thinks about on the way home is Felicitas. When he arrives, he learns that Felicitas has married Ulrich. Felicitas likes that Ulrich is rich and she never told Ulrich the truth about Leo and her. Leo is crushed and does not visit them which saddens Ulrich as he does not know the reason why. Leo tries to stay away from her, but Felicitas uses every opportunity to tempt him to return to her as her lover.

Cast & Characters

John Gilbert as Leo von Harden;
Greta Garbo as Felicitas;
Lars Hanson as Ulrich von Eltz;
Barbara Kent as Hertha von Eltz;
William Orlamond as Uncle Kutowski;
George Fawcett as Pastor Voss;
Eugenie Besserer as Leo's Mother;
Marc McDermott as Count von Rhaden;
Marcelle Corday as Minna;
Cecilia Parker as Siamese twin at ball;
Linda Parker as Siamese twin at ball;
Carl 'Major' Roup as Train Station Vendor;
Rolfe Sedan as Womens' hat salesman

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