The Divine Woman

The Divine Woman (1928) is an American silent film directed by Victor Sjöström and starring Greta Garbo. Produced and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Only a single nine-minute reel[3] and an additional 45-second excerpt[4][5] are currently known to exist of this otherwise lost film , the only whole copy of which was destroyed in the 1965 MGM Vault fire.[6][7][8]

The Divine Woman
Directed byVictor Sjöström
Produced byRichard A. Rowland
Written byJohn Colton (titles)
Dorothy Farnum (writer)
Based onStarlight
by Gladys Unger
StarringGreta Garbo
Lars Hanson
CinematographyOliver T. Marsh
Edited byConrad A. Nervig
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • January 14, 1928 (1928-01-14)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles
Box office$931,000 (worldwide rental)[2]


The film is adapted from the 1925 Broadway play Starlight by Gladys Unger, which starred Doris Keane. The plot is loosely based on stories of the early life of the French actress Sarah Bernhardt.


Marianne (Greta Garbo) is a poor French country girl who goes to Paris in the 1860s to seek her fortune as an actress. As she rises to success in the theatre, she must choose between the romantic attentions of two men. The first is Lucien (Lars Hanson), a poor but passionate young soldier who deserts the army to be with Marianne and goes to jail after stealing a dress to give her. Her other suitor is Henry Legrand (Lowell Sherman), a wealthy middle-aged Paris producer who offers her fame and fortune.


Existing reel

Only one reel from the film is known to exist. It runs nine minutes and was discovered in 1993 at the Gosfilmofond, a film archive in Moscow. This film fragment has been released on DVD with a collection of Garbo films and has been broadcast on Turner Classic Movies. Its Russian intertitles have been translated into English. In this section of the film, Marianne is seen living in Paris in modest rooms. After a playful interchange with the landlady Mme. Pigionier, Marianne is joined by Lucien. The two lovers share a few poignant minutes together as the time approaches for him to return to the army.

See also


  1. Alexander Walker; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (October 1980). Garbo: a portrait. Macmillan. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-02-622950-0. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  2. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  3. The Divine Woman at
  4. Greta's Lost and Found at Mikaelas filmblogg
  5. Svenska Filminstitutet - Resultatredovisning 2011 Pg. 17 (Swedish)
  6. The Divine Woman at The; Lost Films Wanted(Wayback Machine)
  7. The Divine Woman at Arne Andersen's Lost Film Files:lost MGM films - 1928
  8. The Library of Congress/FIAF American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:The Divine Woman

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