Inspiration (1931 film)

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Inspiration (1931 film).jpg
Directed by Clarence Brown
Written by Gene Markey
Alphonse Daudet
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Starring Greta Garbo
Robert Montgomery
Lewis Stone
Marjorie Rambeau
Judith Vosselli
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • January 31, 1931 (1931-01-31)(United States)
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited States

Inspiration is a 1931 American Pre-Code Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adapted from the Alphonse Daudet short novel Sappho (1884). The film was adapted by Gene Markey, directed by Clarence Brown and produced by Irving Thalberg. The cinematography was by William H. Daniels, the art direction by Cedric Gibbons and the costume design by Adrian. [1] [2]


The film features Greta Garbo playing Yvonne Valbret, an artist's model and kept woman. Robert Montgomery, Lewis Stone and Marjorie Rambeau co-starred. The film is a romantic melodrama that portrays a Parisian belle whose past returns to haunt her. (Inspiration is the only film in which Garbo played opposite Montgomery.) [2] [3]

According to the critics, Garbo played her role easily and convincingly, contributing sparkling bits of light comedy, and making the awkward dialogue believable. She illuminates every scene, shining in her different styles of coiffure and striking costumes. [2] [3]

Domestic: $705,000. International: $402,000. Worldwide: $1,127,000. Profit: $286,000. [4]


Lobby card for the film Inspiration lobby card.jpg
Lobby card for the film

Yvonne Valbret (Garbo) is a Parisian kept woman who poses as an artist's model. She falls in love with a young student of foreign diplomacy, André Montell, played by Robert Montgomery. When André learns of her past and her multiple lovers, he leaves her. But finding Yvonne living in poverty when their paths cross again, he pays for her to live in his country cottage outside Paris and they engage in a Platonic relationship. He soon reveals his intent to marry another woman as Yvonne begs him not to desert her. André eventually realizes he loves Yvonne and decides to choose love over career. When he comes to the cottage to tell her, he is met by one of Yvonne's old lovers pleading with her to return to him. She immediately decides to marry André, but fearing their relationship will ruin his career, she chooses her old amour and writes André a farewell note while he is sleeping.


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  1. Inspiration,; accessed August 5, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 database
  3. 1 2 Inspiration, Turner Classic Movies website database],; accessed August 5, 2015.
  4. "Inspiration".

Further reading