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Flesh and the Devil

Flesh and the Devil (1926)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 963

My Rating

Movie Info

A bulky, verbose novel by Herman Suderman was the source for the exquisitely silent Flesh and the Devil. On leave from the Austrian army, lifelong friends John Gilbert and Lars Hanson return to their loving families. At a reception in Hanson's honor, Gilbert makes the acquaintance of the hauntingly beautiful Greta Garbo, whom he'd previously glimpsed for a few fleeting seconds at the railway depot. Those few seconds were enough to thoroughly captivate Gilbert, thus paving the way for a feverish


Drama, Romance, Classics

Benjamin F. Glazer, Marian Ainslee

Sep 11, 2007

Watch It Now


Latest News on Flesh and the Devil

October 20, 2011:
Barbara Kent: 1907-2011
The star of silent films such as "Prowlers of the Night" and "Flesh and the Devil" has passed away...
December 28, 2006:
25 New Films Enter National Film Registry ... Good Ones, Too!
Every year another 25 films are chosen for "National Film Registry" designation, and it's...


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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1) | DVD (4)

A corking story, exceptionally acted and cleverly directed. A lot of glory to be distributed among all concerned.

October 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Miss Garbo is undeniably alluring as Felicitas. Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Hansen give sound performances in their respective roles.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Much ado about nothing, really, but Garbo is as luminous as ever, thanks to William Daniels' camerawork.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Turgid and stiff, it finds the magic only occasionally.

January 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

They *do not* make 'em like this anymore, and even when they did, the results were rarely this emphatic and grand.

May 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Somewhat notorious Garbo vehicle which co-stars real life lover, John Gilbert.

March 14, 2009

Garbo is mesmerising in this wild and heated romance that has to be considered in context to cope with the excesive aesthetic and thematic melodrama.

October 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A well crafted but creaky vehicle.

October 17, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Garbo & Gilbert at their steamy, sultry silent peak.

September 9, 2005
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Garbo makes love!

September 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Pretty melodramatic stuff, it looked gorgeous and was well directed by Brown, Garbo's favourite director.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Greta Garbo is the siren whose insatiable sexuality threatens to tear apart blood brothers John Gilbert and Lars Hanson in this overheated and melodramatic masterpiece.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Flesh and the Devil

One of the best romantic melodramas I've seen from the 20s so far. The acting is great, the story is heartbreaking, and the cinematography is really cool too. It's a really beautiful movie. The only thing I didn't like was the couple of boring scenes in the beginning. Overall, a great movie, though, I highly recommend it.
June 6, 2011

Super Reviewer

Famed silent is for the time period a well made melodrama. The story is of no real consequence and now seems very familiar as it probably was at the time of it's release. The communion scene is provocative, very erotic even today and must have been a sensation in '26. The real interest is of course the cast, Garbo especially. Of all the players she is the acting standout, with the exception of a few scenes her performance feels very naturalistic. The same goes for her appearance, whereas everybody else looks like they belong in the 1920's her unadorned hairdos and streamlined clothes convey a contemporary feeling, a flesh impact. Gilbert, who was then wildly popular, is a relic from a bygone era. He looks like he could be attractive but his ridiculous moustache and the heavy makeup required at the time sabotage his handsomeness. His acting is quite mannered and uneven, he was much better in The Big Parade, but he and Garbo share an undeniable chemistry. The real offender in overacting is Lars Hanson his eyepopping and herky jerky movements are a textbook example of the worst kind of silent screen performance, the impression that keeps a lot of people from giving silents a try. The other major person in this passion play is Barbara Kent as the angelic young thing in contrast to Garbo rapacious strumpet. Kent at 105 is the last remaining silent screen star still living although she turned her back on public life and has been a recluse since the 50's.
February 26, 2011
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

a little melodramatic for my taste but the romantic charms of vienna and garbo and gilbert's great chemistry carry the film. garbo was just 21 and soon moved in with 27 yr old gilbert who was a major star and already twice divorced. they became one of the most famous couples of hollywood's golden age both on and off screen.
August 24, 2010
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Excellent film. I had heard about this for years and it didn't disappoint. A familiar story -- a love triangle -- handled well, good performances, unexpected (although appropriate) ending and even though it's a drama, it has some good comic bits in the beginning. Keep an eye out for the pastor's drunken "double vision." The fireworks between Garbo and Gilbert are obviously real -- nobody is that good an actor. It's a shame John Gilbert, for whatever the true reasons are, didn't make it in talkies. He did a really good job here. I was surprised by Garbo's character, Felicitas. I didn't expect her to be quite so selfish and evil. But god she's gorgeous. I can see how a man could let his whole life go to rack and ruin over her. With the subject matter, and all the making out, I'm sure this film was shocking for its time, particularly the scene where the characters are in church and taking Communion. I'm not Catholic or shocked by much and this still got me. This film is just a quality effort all around.
September 4, 2007

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Flesh and the Devil (Es war) (DE)
  • Flesh and the Devil (1926) (UK)
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