(Review originally written at 9 February 2008)

This is Garbo's first ever talking role but she acts as if she has done nothing else before.

What makes the movie however hard and also sort of unpleasant to watch is it's storytelling. The movie is set up like a stage-play, so most of the time the characters just sit around and talk. All we see in the first 30 minutes for instance are characters being drunk and complaining a lot about life. The movie is of course also based on a stage-play, so no great wonder that the storytelling in this movie also feels like one. But if I want to watch something like this I would to to the theater. There are of course some good stage-play to movies translations but I guess that back in 1930 they didn't had a real good idea yet or the experience to translate a stage-play well to the silver-screen. The movie is now instead a sort of a bore in parts, since its obviously dragging at moments. The movie is also of course very limited in its settings and the movie often jumps from the one setting to the other, as if the curtain had dropped and a new set had been build-up during the break. The movie just never really feels as one big whole and it instead feels as if it consists out of different acts. It's a very static movie.

It's not just only a hard movie to follow because of its storytelling and settings but also because of all of the heavy accents of the actors. On top of that, the sound recording quality of course wasn't that good yet back in 1930 so not everything that is being said is understandable.

Also the picture quality of the movie isn't that good anymore. Time hasn't been kind on it. The image is sort of fuzzy in parts and the movie is perhaps more gray than truly black & white.

It is definitely true that the movie gets better and better when it heads toward its ending but it didn't made me forget it's way weaker first 30 minutes and disjointed storytelling in the movie overall.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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