The Dumas story of a tubercular courtesan is a classic only in its unrelenting morbidity, but George Cukor makes it work, accenting the oozing romantic fatalism with marvelously fresh open-air sequences and lively playing (1937). Garbo, away for once from the stultifying Clarence Brown, gives her most vivid, intimate performance; she's no longer part of the elegant MGM decor but a human being with a life of her own. Cukor gives her the close-ups she deserves: immaculately lit and framed, but loose enough to give her some breathing room, to let her exercise an independent will. With Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, and Henry Daniell; photographed by William Daniels.
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