Wild Orchids (film)

Last updated

Wild Orchids
Wild Orchids poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Sidney Franklin
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written by Hanns Kräly
Ruth Cummings
Willis Goldbeck
Richard Schayer
Based onHeat
novel
by John Colton
Starring Greta Garbo
Lewis Stone
Nils Asther
Music by William Axt (uncredited)
Cinematography William Daniels [1]
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • February 23, 1929 (1929-02-23)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Language Silent
English intertitles
BudgetUS$322,312.12 [2]
($4,799,000 today)
Box office$1,165,000
($17,350,000 today)

Wild Orchids is a 1929 American silent drama film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer directed by Sidney Franklin and starring Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone and Nils Asther. Only these three stars received cast credit. The plot is very similar to Garbo's later sound film, The Painted Veil (1934).

Contents

Plot

Greta Garbo in Wild Orchids Garbo wild orchids.jpg
Greta Garbo in Wild Orchids

John Sterling (Lewis Stone) takes his young wife Lillie (Greta Garbo) to Java where he plans to invest in tea plantations. Beyond the difference in years between the two, he is neglectful, which creates reactions of frustration from his romantic young wife.

Aboard a ship, Lillie witnesses a scene of cruelty – a passenger hits one of his servants. The violent man is immediately taken by the beauty of this mysterious woman and will endeavor all to make her acquaintance. Therefore, he contacts the husband, whom he attracts with his deep knowledge of the Javanese tea market. John presents his new friend, the young and handsome Prince de Gace (Nils Asther) to his wife, who immediately recognizes the violent man. Multiple situations offer the Prince a chance to approach Lillie, who spurns him. He then uses force to kiss her - Lillie tries to talk to her husband, in vain.

In Java, the couple are hosted by the Prince, at his vast estate. Lillie avoids being alone with the Prince – she even wishes to join her husband in his professional investigations, which he refuses. Finally, Lillie and the Prince are alone for a few hours, and his efforts intensify. He forces himself upon her again, and she finally yields and returns his kiss.

John returns to surprise the kiss in Chinese shadows, raising the question of whether the woman embracing De Gace is his wife. His suspicion confirmed by a misplaced necklace, the men go on a tiger hunt. The Prince is hurt. John decides to return to the United States alone, but his wife reaffirms her love for him.

Cast

Production

Production took place between October and November 1928 at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in Culver City, California (USA). During production, Garbo spent one day filming a cameo appearance for the James Cruze film A Man's Man . Production stills photographs were made by James Manatt and production portraits were taken by Ruth Harriet Louise in October 1928.

This is often listed as a "silent" film, but it is not. It was released as a non-talking sound film, with a complete orchestral score and sound effects, retained on both the VHS and DVD releases. Dialogue was conveyed via title cards, per the standard silent film convention.

Reception

Critical response

The film received 2.5 stars at All Movie Guide.

The New York Times called it "a pleasingly imaginative picturization of a special screen contribution from the pen of John Colton", praising the thespians' performances:[ citation needed ]

"Miss Garbo's acting is well-timed and, as usual, effective. It is not an easy rôle but she succeeds in imparting to it no small amount of subtlety. Nils Asther is capital as the Prince, a persistent individual who appears to be sadly lacking in caution. Lewis Stone, who is the villain of The Trial of Mary Dugan, does splendidly as the somewhat short-sighted husband of this silent film."

Box office

The film garnered receipts of US$1,165,000 ($622,000 in the US and $543,000 abroad), versus a budget of $322,000. It was one of the top-grossing films of the year.

Home Media

TCM released a DVD version on its Vault Collection - The Warner Archive Collection, on July 1, 2009. [3] A VHS version was released on September 1, 1988 (NTSC). A Laserdisc edition exists on a set containing also Garbo's Love , The Torrent and the surviving segment from The Divine Woman .

Related Research Articles

Greta Garbo Swedish actress

Greta Garbo was a Swedish-American actress. Generally regarded as one of the greatest screen actresses of all time, Garbo was known for her melancholic, somber persona due to her many portrayals of tragic characters in her films and for her subtle and understated performances. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on its list of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema.

Lewis Stone American actor

Lewis Shepard Stone was an American film actor. He spent 29 years as a contract player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was best known for his role as Judge James Hardy in their Andy Hardy film series. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929 for The Patriot. He appeared in seven films with Greta Garbo, most memorably as Doctor Otternschlag in Grand Hotel.

<i>Romance</i> (1930 film) 1930 film

Romance is a 1930 American Pre-Code Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film directed by Clarence Brown, starring Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone, and Gavin Gordon.

<i>Conquest</i> (1937 film) 1937 film by Clarence Brown, Gustav Machatý

Conquest is a 1937 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film which tells the story of the Polish Countess Marie Walewska, who becomes the mistress of Napoleon in order to influence his actions towards her homeland. It stars Greta Garbo, Charles Boyer, Reginald Owen, Alan Marshal, Henry Stephenson, Leif Erickson, Dame May Whitty, George Zucco, and Maria Ouspenskaya.

<i>Flesh and the Devil</i> 1926 film

Flesh and the Devil is an American silent romantic drama film released in January 1927 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and stars Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Lars Hanson, and Barbara Kent, directed by Clarence Brown, and based on the novel The Undying Past by Hermann Sudermann.

Nils Asther Swedish actor

Nils Anton Alfhild Asther was a Swedish actor active in Hollywood from 1926 to the mid-1950s, known as "the male Greta Garbo". Between 1916 and 1963 he appeared in over 70 feature films, 16 of which were produced in the silent era. He is mainly remembered today for two silent films he made with fellow Swede Greta Garbo, and his portrayal of the title character in the controversial pre-Code Frank Capra film The Bitter Tea of General Yen.

<i>Laugh, Clown, Laugh</i> 1928 film

Laugh, Clown, Laugh is a 1928 American silent drama film starring Lon Chaney and Loretta Young. The movie was directed by Herbert Brenon and produced and released through MGM Studios.

<i>Anna Karenina</i> (1935 film) 1935 film by Clarence Brown

Anna Karenina is a 1935 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation of the 1877 novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and directed by Clarence Brown. The film stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone, and Maureen O'Sullivan. There are several other film adaptations of the novel.

<i>Two-Faced Woman</i>

Two-Faced Woman is a 1941 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor and starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett, and Roland Young. The movie was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

<i>Anna Christie</i> (1930 English-language film) 1930 film

Anna Christie is a 1930 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pre-Code tragedy film adaptation of the 1921 play of the same name by Eugene O'Neill. It was adapted by Frances Marion, produced and directed by Clarence Brown with Paul Bern and Irving Thalberg as co-producers. The cinematography was by William H. Daniels, the art direction by Cedric Gibbons and the costume design by Adrian.

<i>Susan Lenox</i> (Her Fall and Rise) 1931 film

Susan Lenox is a 1931 American pre-Code film directed and produced by Robert Z. Leonard and starring Greta Garbo and Clark Gable. The film was based on the novel by David Graham Phillips and made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was the only film in which Greta Garbo was paired with Clark Gable. However, they didn't like each other. The notoriety of the novel alone was enough for British censors to ban it from release. With a few cuts, it was finally approved in the UK with a new title: The Rise of Helga.

<i>Love</i> (1927 American film) 1927 film by Edmund Goulding

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.

<i>Dream of Love</i> 1928 film by Fred Niblo

Dream of Love is a 1928 American silent biographical drama film directed by Fred Niblo, and starring Joan Crawford and Nils Asther. The film is based on the 1849 French tragedy Adrienne Lecouvreur by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé.

<i>Joyless Street</i> 1925 film by Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Joyless Street, a film based on the novel by Hugo Bettauer and directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst in Germany, is one of the first films of the New Objectivity movement. Greta Garbo stars in her second major role. The film is often described as a morality story in which the 'fallen woman' suffers for her sins, while the more virtuous is rewarded.

<i>Strictly Dishonorable</i> (1951 film)

Strictly Dishonorable is a 1951 romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, and starring Ezio Pinza and Janet Leigh. It is the second film to be based on Preston Sturges' 1929 hit Broadway play of the same name after a pre-Code film released by Universal Pictures in 1931 with the same title.

<i>Inspiration</i> (1931 film) 1931 film

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.

<i>The Kiss</i> (1929 film) 1929 film

The Kiss is a 1929 American silent drama film directed by Jacques Feyder and starring Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel and Lew Ayres in his first feature film. Based on a short story by George M. Saville, The Kiss bears the same title as the 1896 short that "shocked" the American public by being the first motion picture to depict a couple kissing. This 1929 production is notable itself for being the last major silent film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and the final silent performances by both Garbo and Conrad Nagel included the entire cast. Actually, this film is not entirely silent. MGM did take partial advantage of the new sound technology and released The Kiss with an orchestral score and sound effects recorded by the Movietone system.

<i>A Woman of Affairs</i> 1928 film

A Woman of Affairs is a 1928 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Lewis Stone. The film, released with a synchronized score and sound effects, was based on a 1924 best-selling novel by Michael Arlen, The Green Hat, which he adapted as a four-act stage play in 1925. The Green Hat was considered so daring in the United States that the movie did not allow any associations with it and was renamed A Woman of Affairs, with the characters also renamed to mollify the censors. In particular, the film script eliminated all references to heroin use, homosexuality and syphilis that were at the core of the tragedies involved.

<i>The Single Standard</i> 1929 film

The Single Standard is a 1929 romantic drama film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer directed by veteran John S. Robertson and starring Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, and Johnny Mack Brown.

<i>Storm at Daybreak</i> 1933 American film directed by Richard Boleslawski

Storm at Daybreak is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Richard Boleslawski, written by Bertram Millhauser, and starring Kay Francis, Nils Asther, Walter Huston, Phillips Holmes, Eugene Pallette and C. Henry Gordon. It was released on July 14, 1933, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

References

Notes
  1. http://www.garboforever.com/Film-16.htm
  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. Wild Orchids at TCM's website
Bibliography