quiet_curiosity: (unimpressed)
quiet_curiosity ([personal profile] quiet_curiosity) wrote2011-07-10 12:50 pm

Wild Orchids (1929)

Summary: Lillie is frustrated that her husband gives her little attention or affection. This doesn't much change after they make the acquaintanceship of Prince de Gace. Lillie knows about the Prince's penchant for cruelty but her husband is fascinated by him. Tensions swirl as Lillie deals with the, at first, unwanted affections of the Prince and tries to demand attention from her husband.

Starring: Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, Lewis Stone
Directed by: Sidney Franklin

Viewed Via: TCM/DVR
Current Commercial Availability: Warner Archive DVR Program

1) I'll admit this upfront - I passed out twice during this movie. I backed up to the last point I remembered the first time it happened. The second time I just let it go. This probably says all you need to know. But anyway...

2) Garbo - I am disappointed. The character just seemed so wishy-washy. First I wake up and she's in a relationship with the servant beating asshole who she had previously despised and then she's declaring her love to her negligent, can't-take-a-hint husband and leaving with him. While most of Garbo's film are romances, it seems like the character here is mostly defined by the men in her life. Her acting is fine, for the most part. The clothes are also, for the most part, great.

3) Asther is playing what appears to be the standard Asther part (yawn!). He is often wild-eyed and unsympathetic as the Javanese prince who takes an interest in Lillie. Things I did not know until recently: Apparently Asther, like Garbo, was a protegé of legendary Swedish director Mauritz Stiller.

4) Yes, Asther is playing a Javanese prince. While they don't go the "let's use as much make-up as possible to make him look Southeast Asian" route, this movie is Orientalism ahoy. On one hand, it all looks very lush. On the other, it all looks very stereotypical. And Garbo looks kind of ridiculous in the vaguely Asian get-up she dons mid-way in the film.

5) While Lewis Stone is fine as the negligent husband, his inability to notice his wife makes him quite unsympathetic. And it wasn't like she was leaving subtle clues. She obviously hates the Prince and doesn't want to be around him. She obviously wants your attention for just one tiny second. He's completely shut off from her interests and the Prince plays him for the fool. And his yearning to shoot a tiger becomes more ridiculous and hilarious with each repetition.

6) The end...Husband tires of tiger hunting and decides to go prince hunting instead. Wife bitches him out after he allows the prince to be gnawed on by a cuddly little tiger. Prince lives and husband hangs his head as he leaves Java. I mean, all he had done was try to kill a man for showing interest in his wife (which he had done for the entire film). But wife decides to let bygones be bygones and stays with him. How lovely!

To sum it all up: hated it.

First Impressions Master List

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