A dense old pudding of a story, oozing color (Selznick's first) and weighing a ton thanks to Max Steiner's music. Dietrich, awash in swirling, blowing chiffon, is a "disiwusioned" socialite seeking truth in the African desert, an extreme choice for soul-searching. She falls into twin
liquid pools of love, courtesy of the limpid eyes of Boyer. On their wedding night, a liqueur restores his conscience: he's a Trappist monk who deserted, and must now seek repentence. The 1904 novel was dramatized in 1911 and first filmed in 1917 with Helen Ware and Thomas Santschi by William
Selig, and again by MGM in 1927 with Alice Terry and Ivan Petrovich. By 1936, it reeked of mot...