The Mysterious Lady | Chicago Reader

The Mysterious Lady

A young army officer in Vienna (Conrad Nagel) buys a ticket to the symphony and finds himself sharing a balcony box with the most beautiful woman who ever lived (that would be Greta Garbo). She isn't what she seems, though, and the hero is pulled into a web of intrigue. Garbo had already ascended into the Hollywood stratosphere by the time she made this silent 1928 melodrama for MGM, and her iconic performance, captured by the great cinematographer William Daniels, proves that old line from Sunset Boulevard: "We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!" For Garbo's opening shot, Daniels pulls back slowly from the balcony to reveal her alabaster arms draped over the railing; it's a breathtakingly erotic image, the sort that would gradually disappear from the movies with the advent of sound. Fred Niblo directed.



  • Fred Niblo


  • Greta Garbo
  • Conrad Nagel
  • Gustav von Seyffertitz
  • Edward Connelly
  • Richard Alexander

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