Flesh and the Devil

1926, Romance/Drama, 1h 53m

14 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

In this silent drama, lifelong school chums Leo (John Gilbert) and Ulrich (Lars Hanson) are soldiers in the German army. Leo falls in love with Countess Felicitas (Greta Garbo) and courts her, which enrages her husband (Marc McDermott). When Leo fights a duel with and kills the Count, he is deployed to Africa for five years as punishment. Leo returns to find that Ulrich has fallen for Felicitas, but she resumes her amorous pursuit of Leo, thus pushing the limits of their friendship.

Cast & Crew

John Gilbert
Leo von Harden
Lars Hanson
Ulrich von Eltz
Barbara Kent
Hertha von Eltz
William Orlamond
Uncle Kutowski
Eugenie Besserer
Leo's Mother
Marc McDermott
Count von Rhaden
Rolfe Sedan
Womens' hat salesman (uncredited)
William H. Daniels
Cinematographer
Lloyd Nosler
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for Flesh and the Devil

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Flesh and the Devil

  • Jun 06, 2011
    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.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2010
    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.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2008
    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.
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2007
    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.
    Cindy I Super Reviewer

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