Starring Greta Garbo and Ricardo Cortez
June 1926

"Torrent" by Blasco Ibanez, is like a story told by a very little boy. It runs on and on. Children's stories are apt to be, "And then the monkey fell down and broke his leg, and next he broke his arm, and then he broke himself all over." "Torrent" does the same thing. The lovers are torn apart, they are torn apart again, and then they are torn finally and hopelessly apart. The young man who sat next to me said that it could very well be called 'Tor(re)nt to a thousand pieces." But that way lies madness.

It has one very beautiful recommendation. I am speaking of Greta Garbo, who, to my way of thinking, is about the loveliest importation we have had so far. She is even more eye-satisfying than Greta Nissen, although she could hardly be called a perfect beauty. But I don't know what makes perfect beauty, anyway.

Her hair is dark, her eyes seem to be gray, and they are large, with the strangest form I have ever seen. They seem to be made up of hundreds of little angles which give them a sort of emerald-cut look. Her face is never the same. When I try to recall what she really looked like, I find I cannot remember. Elusiveness is the first mark of beauty, isn't it?

Anyway, Miss Garbo has a bad time of it in this, her first American picture, which deals with the rambling love affair between a small-town politician and a famous singer. Ricardo Cortez ages, toward the end of the film, but then so do the audience.

There is a very bad flood, with miniature blocks of wood falling about. Gertrude Olmstead (sic), Lucien Littlefield, Tully Marshall, and Mack Swain are in the cast.

Starring Greta Garbo and Ricardo Cortez
May, 1926

Ibanez was not inspired when he wrote "The Torrent." As movie plots go, it is far from being fresh save for its unhappy and somewhat grand-opera ending. One might call it a very good, common, sound, legitimate romance which presents itself along conventional lines, playing the melancholy swan song of separated lovers. The background is sunny Spain - which is not so sunny as a setting here.

As Ibanez has it, the hero is a member of an up-and-coming family and the heroine just a bit of common clay. His mother will not permit their marriage, and in order to forget, the girl goes away to Paris, has legions of lovers, becomes a great singer, while the youth remains at home and marries the girl of his mother's choice. If you admit this is old, you are admitting the truth, but then on the other hand, it is very well done, and its unconventional ending, seeing the hero completely conventionalized by marriage into a puffy, stupid man, being rebuffed by his erstwhile sweetheart, gives it a certain tang that lifts it up and makes it a work of real substance.

The settings are very atmospheric and suggest a real Castilian flavor. Probably the most important feature of the film is the latest Greta from Sweden. This is the Greta Garbo, a pretty, wistful, and intensely feminine young person, who suggest s composite picture of a dozen or our best-known stars. Making her debut in the film, she registers a complete success. She is not so much an actress as she is endowed with individuality and magnetism. Ricardo Cortez is sufficiently Spanish in make-up to pass thru any full arena.

For more information, see "Torrent" as our "Feature of the Month"

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