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The Painted Veil (1934)

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Herbert Marshall, George Brent, Warner Oland, Jean Hersholt, Katharine Alexander Greta Garbo
  • Directors: Richard Boleslawski
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive Collection
  • DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DEO0JD2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,399 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

One year after 1933's Queen Christina, Greta Garbo again portrays a heroine faced with irrevocable choices. She plays Katrin in The Painted Veil, an exotic love triangle loosely based on W. Somerset Maugham's novel. The story unfolds in China, where Katrin's marriage to busy M.D. Walter Fane (Herbert Marshall) is in trouble. Lonely and neglected, Katrin falls in love with diplomatic attaché Jack Townsend (George Brent). When Walter discovers the affair, he takes Katrin inland to fight a cholera epidemic, maliciously thinking the disease will kill them both. But working together helps rebuild their marriage... until Townsend resurfaces. Now Katrin must choose. MGM backed The Painted Veil with a then-opulent $1 million budget, but the real attraction remains Garbo and her incomparable mystique. Said The New York Times in a review of the film: "She is the most miraculous blend of personality and sheer dramatic talent the screen has ever known."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I always feel approaching a Greta Garbo film to review it is like entering some Sacred Temple where one must show due respect and restraint.For the whole of the 1930's decade she along with Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer held the prime positions as the annointed Queens of MGM. Garbo however always seemed to have her own special niche in the pecking order and always had more popularity with European audiences than with the average American movie going public who flocked to Crawford's shop girl melodramas and Shearer's lady like portrayals in high society settings.
Fresh from her triumph in "Queen Christina", the previous year MGM legend Garbo tackled this modern dress romantic film which turned out to be her last modern themed film for quite some time. Indeed by this stage in her career Garbo was down to only making one film a year so her productions were always viewed as special events even when their stories might not have always been up to the quality of the rest of the production. "The Painted Veil", is a classic example of just this. While the story itself is fairly ordinary the same cannot be said for the lavish production with all its "A" list features, and the interesting central performance by Garbo. The story centres around an Austrian girl named Katrin who after the wedding of her only sister finds herself at a loose end and lonely for companionship. Still in the fallout from the wedding Katrin meets her father's assistant Dr. Walter Fane (Herbert Marshall), a sturdy but unexciting man who is immediately infatuated with Katrin and on a whim asks her to marry him before he returns to his position in Hong Kong.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SOULFUL MELODRAMA May 19, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Set in the mysterious Orient, Garbo is cast as an unfaithful wife who eventually mends her ways........... she's magnificent throughout this rather weak story in one stunning scene after another (Garbo alone is worth the "price of admission"). Garbo just had finished her smash hit QUEEN CHRISTINA when she went into this rather mediocre Maugham tale. The rather melodramatic story, which was adapted for the screen by John Meehan, Salka Viertel and Edith Fitzgerald, seems to hark back to Garbo's silent films as she's torn between a worthy husband and a passionate lover; its plot is curiously similar to that of WILD ORCHIDS (1928) except that China replaces Java as the exotic locale. It was rumoured offscreen that Garbo and Brent had a briefly torrid little affair; however Garbo baulked when Brent insisted on marriage!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one of garbo's better films. June 26, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The film did badly when it was first released. After viewing it, i know the present audiences can't really rely on the history. Though the film was not Garbo's best,but it's one of the better ones.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This veil is a little too thin... November 23, 2009
Format:VHS Tape
The 2006 remake of this film (or should I say readaptation of the W Somerset Maugham novel) is a marvelous cinematic achievement; the perfect blend of beauty, tragedy, love and hate. It runs the gamut of human emotions and offers one of cinemas most fully fleshed out and beautifully tailored performances. I often have praised Naomi Watts' beautiful portrayal of Kitty Fane, for she really gives us a character that makes the complete circle of life so-to-speak. She gives us every stage of her emotional journey with effortless grace.

Enough about `that' version of this movie!

Richard Boleslawski's 1934 version of `The Painted Veil' has some, but not a lot, in common with John Curran's remake. The basic premise of Kitty marrying Walter, a mad she barely knows and does not love, is still here. She still has an affair and is ushered off to the pits of cholera infested Asia with her husband as a consequence, but the way in which Boleslawski handles the relationships between all parties is rather different.

And the ending, but I have not read the novel and thus don't know who was more faithful.

This 1934 film concentrates much more on the budding romance between Kitty and Jack Townsend then necessary. In the 2006 film their relationship begins and ends in the first 15 minutes of the film, which allows for the blossoming relationship between Kitty and Walter to get the attention required, giving it sustenance and heart. By the time hearts are softened and lives are changed we should be able to truly feel it within the characters, and in the 2006 film we can. Here it is more difficult, beings that their relationship is really only given about 30 minutes of screen time. It was an odd directorial decision, and it served as a disservice to the film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD-R! July 1, 2013
Format:DVD
Finally! Warner Brothers has released this 1934 version of Greta Garbo's film on DVD-R. Again, it bears repeating that it is a DVD-R and NOT a regular DVD so please make sure that your DVD player and computer are compatible with DVD-Rs so that you are not disappointed if it doesn't play. Having said this, and as Desert Dancer has written earlier, the quality of the DVD-R is much improved over the faded VHS copy. Although Warner Brothers claims that they only use the best available copy of the film and do not try improving the quality of the film or sound yet I do believe that some remastering is done given the age of the film. I do not believe that any film made in the 30s can remain looking as good as it does without a minor tweaking done to it even though it is not perfect. The blacks, whites, and grays look better and the sound is much improved with miniscule (if any) pops or hisses. The only part that doesn't look as good and has the same issue on the VHS copy is the background of China when Dr. and Mrs. Fane are travelling back from their honeymoon on a ship. Since the background with Chinese boats was filmed elsewhere and then put on giant movie screens it does look a bit faded out but perhaps there was no way to fix the problem since most movies back then were filmed on studio lots while some background shots were filmed elsewhere which was a common practice back then.

Anyway, the film is loosely based on Maugham Somerset's book of the same name. Dr. Fane (Herbert Marshall) vacations in Austria where he falls in love with Katrin (Greta Garbo) and proposes to her shortly before leaving back to China. Katrin marries him and goes back to China with him where, as a busy M.D., he tends to neglect his wife who through loneliness and neglect enters into an affair with another man.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait
Even though this was not remastered it was taken from a far better print than the VHS, at least in my opinion. Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. L. Owens Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars Garbo in China - not her best
Any movie with Garbo is worth having in your library, but this love triangle in China is rather lame. No one is especially good, particularly the story. Some elaborate sets. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jim Tarleton
5.0 out of 5 stars another great movie from greta garbor
this was a very good movie of greta garbos. the quality of the film was good and the acting was of the highest quality.
Published 11 months ago by judy schwinnen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Painted Veil
I had seen the new version of this movie with Naomi Watts. One day I was watching the Turner Movie Classics channel and The Painted Veil was playing, but it was with Greta Garbo. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rochelle Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This movie contained unexpected twists and turns. Another example of the extraordinary talents of Greta Garbo. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Garbolvr
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Movie (Good Quality Sound and Picture, Too)
I have the VHS version of this movie and had been waiting impatiently for a DVD format to come available. I ordered this DVD the same day it was released. I really love this movie. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Desert Dancer
5.0 out of 5 stars WHERE IS THE DVD-R?
I know that out of all Greta Garbo's films "The Painted Veil" is perhaps the least popular and liberties were taken from the book. Read more
Published on June 1, 2012 by E. Sadowski
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe just for Garbo fans
This is a pretty average melodrama that I found a little dull and lifeless, despite the "exotic" locale and star power. Read more
Published on September 27, 2011 by A. J. Sneed
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard romance from the 30s
"The Painted Veil" is a 1934 romance set in exotic China with Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall.

Greta Garbo (1905-90) had been in nearly 20 silent films, starting as... Read more
Published on March 20, 2011 by Dr. James Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic is a classic is a classic
Where else can you watch Garbo cheat on Herbert Marshall with George Brent...and during the interum meet up with Warner Oland (Charlie Chan) in a bar??? Read more
Published on January 18, 2001 by M. Potter
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