Monday, 28 January 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 32: Fri Feb 1

The Temptress (Niblo, 1926):
Classic Cinema Club, Ealing Town Hall,
New Broadway, W5 2BY, 7pm

This opens the Classic Cinema Club's Femmes Fatale season and is a rare chance to see Greta Garbo in only her second film role. More details here.


New York Times review:
'The Temptress is concerned with the beguiling beauty of a selfish siren, a sinuous creature whose conscience knows no guilt. In many respects this picture is a distinguished piece of work, wherein Fred Niblo, the director, keeps the audience on the qui vive. It is a photodrama in which the producers do not pander to popular appeal by portraying a happy ending.

Aside from the many lesser dramatic glimpses, there are two outstanding episodes in this feature. One occurs when M. Fontenoy, a French banker, gives a banquet in honor of Elena (Miss Garbo). At first one perceives the mentally tortured Fontenoy looking with fiery eyes upon Elena. Then Mr. Niblo draws back his camera to give the spectator a thorough conception of the great table and the number of guests. 

It is cleverly filmed, but Mr. Niblo might perhaps have foregone the scenes in which the feet of the men and women are shown under the festive board. The dramatic climax to this chapter comes when Fontenoy toasts Elena. Before his glass has touched his lips he excoriates her as a woman who has accepted his gifts of jewelry and discloses how she pretended that they came from her weak-minded husband. Fontenoy then empties his glass, in which he has dropped cyanide of potassium, and forthwith collapses.

Miss Garbo is not only remarkably well suited is the rĂ´le, but with a minimum of gestures and an unusual restraint in her expressions, she makes every scene in which she appears a telling one. She is attractive and svelte of figure and gives an emphatically effective impersonation of Elena's heartlessness.'
Mordaunt Hall

Here is an extract.

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