Love (1927 American film)

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Love (1927 film).jpg
Directed by Edmund Goulding
John Gilbert
Produced by Edmund Goulding
Written by Leo Tolstoy
Lorna Moon
Frances Marion
Marian Ainslee
Ruth Cummings
Starring John Gilbert
Greta Garbo
Music byArnold Brostoff (1944)
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited byHugh Wynn
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 29, 1927 (1927-11-29) [1]
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Language Silent film
English intertitles
Budget$487,994.88 [2]

Love (1927) is a silent film directed by Edmund Goulding and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. MGM made the film in order to capitalize on its winning romantic team of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert who had starred in the 1926 blockbuster Flesh and the Devil .


Taking full advantage of the star power, a drama was scripted based on Leo Tolstoy's 1877 novel, Anna Karenina . The result was a failure for the author's purists, but it provided the public with a taste of Gilbert-Garbo eroticism that would never again be matched. The publicity campaign for the film was one of the largest up to that time, and the title was changed from the original, Heat.

Director Dimitri Buchowetzki began work on Love with Garbo and Ricardo Cortez. However, producer Irving Thalberg was unhappy with the early filming, and started over by replacing Buchowetzki with Edmund Goulding, cinematographer Merritt B. Gerstad with William H. Daniels, and Cortez with Gilbert. [3]


During a blizzard, Russian count Alexis Vronsky, aide-de-camp of the Grand Duke, meets a veiled woman on the way to St. Petersburg, Russia. When they are forced to stop at an inn overnight, Vronsky attempts to seduce her but she rejects him.

Later, at a reception for Senator Karenin, Vronsky is presented to the Senator's wife, Anna, who is the woman at the inn, and asks forgiveness for his transgression. This she finally grants. She determines to avoid him and temptation, but boredom with an older husband leads her to see Vronsky again and a relationship develops.

Anna has a young son, Sergei, with whom she has an extremely close relationship which thaws as the passion develops between Anna and Vronsky. This passion is noted by the aristocracy, to the displeasure of her husband. After a horse race, in which Anna demonstrates publicly her excessive interest in Vronsky's safety, she visits Vronsky in his rooms to see that he is all right and is cast off by her husband. Anna and Vronsky go off to Italy together.

After a while, Anna suffers because she left her son, so Vronsky takes her back to Russia. She visits her son, who had been told she was dead, to bring him presents on his birthday, but is discovered with him by Karenin and barred from the house permanently, He tells her that her son will forget her, as he has done once already, and that her death would be better than the dishonor she will bring on him. He also tells her that the Grand Duke plans to cashier Vronsky from his regiment, ending a long and honourable family tradition of elite army service, because he is cohabitating with Anna. She begs the Grand Duke for mercy and succeeds in persuading him to relent on the condition that she leaves St. Petersberg and never sees Vronsky again. While he is at the dinner to which the Grand Duke has summoned him, she departs.

Alternate ending (European version)

As a result of being unable to see her son and having to leave Vronsky, she commits suicide by leaping in front of a train. This variant follows the original work of Leo Tolstoy.

Alternate ending (American version)

For three years, the lovers do not see each other but Vronsky searches frantically for Anna. By chance, he reads in a newspaper that Anna's son is at the Military Academy in St. Petersburg and visits him, learning that Karenin has died and that Anna visits her son daily. They meet and are reunited.

(American exhibitors were given the choice of whether or not to use the revised "happy" ending. Theaters on the coasts mostly picked Tolstoy while theaters in Middle America mostly picked the happy ending.) [4]


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  1. David Robinson; Paul Duncan (2007). Greta Garbo. Taschen. p. 180. ISBN   978-3-8228-2209-8 . Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  2. Alexander Walker; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (October 1980). Garbo: a portrait. Macmillan. p. 184. ISBN   978-0-02-622950-0 . Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  3. IMDB entry
  4. San Francisco Silent Film Festival