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Greta Garbo



MGM, 1928.  Directed by Fred Niblo.  Camera:  William Daniels.  With Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Edward Connelly, Albert Pollet, Richard Alexander.

Before the First World War, Tania (Greta Garbo), a Russian spy, has a love affair with Austrian Captain Karl von Heinersdorff (Conrad Nagel) in order to get secret plans that he has in his possession.  She falls in love with him, but steals the plans anyway.

Karl is court-martialed and jailed.  His uncle (Albert Pollet) helps him to escape, and Karl goes to Russia to find Tania.  He does find her and learns she really loves him.

Tania dedicates herself to Karl's cause and double-crosses her spy chief, General Alexandroff (Gustav von Seyffertitz).  She gets papers that Alexandroff received from an Austrian traitor and gives them to Karl.  When Alexandroff finds out, Tania is forced to shoot him.  She and Karl flee from Russia and go to Austria to clear him and to start a new life.  This was Conrad Nagel's first movie with Garbo and the actress' ninth film.

What was said about The Mysterious Lady:

"She is the dream princess of eternity—the knockout of the ages...Miss Garbo does it all, and does it gorgeously, and for once in her none-too-even career she is supported by an excellent cast, and directed with imagination and sense by Fred Niblo.  I recommend The Mysterious Lady highly, even to those who don't feel about Greta Garbo quite as I do."

New York Morning Telegraph
"This Garbo girl seems to develop just a little more of that intangible "it" with each picture, and the love scenes between her and Nagel are what might be termed burning.  There are love scenes by the score, many of which are in close-ups, with the famous La Garbo kiss given full sway as well as full camera focus."

New York Times (Mordaunt Hall)
"None of the actors are able to do much about it, save to wander through and hope for something better next time.  Miss Garbo is pretty, but she doesn't make too good a Russian spy."

New York Evening Graphic (Betty Colfax)
"Miss Garbo takes to a close-up like no other star in Hollywood.  She overcomes the handicap of an atrocious wardrobe, big feet, and widening hips with a facility of expression and a charm which still keep her in a class by herself."

The Films of Greta Garbo
by Michael Conway, Dion McGregor,
and Mark Ricci, Bonanza Books, NY

Also see the American Film Institute's summary.