The Painted Veil (1934) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Painted Veil (1934)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Painted Veil Photos

Movie Info

A W. Somerset Maugham novel was the source for the fair-to-middling Greta Garbo vehicle The Painted Veil. In a situation comparable to the plotlines of most of her silent films, Garbo is lovelessly married to Herbert Marshall, but carries a flaming torch for George Brent. (Also harking back to Garbo's silent days is the fact that neither one of the men in her life is particularly interesting!) Marshall, a brilliant physician, is compelled to go into the interior regions of China to quell a cholera epidemic. He knows that Garbo has been having an affair with politician Brent, and chivalrously gives her the choice of remaining with Brent or accompanying him. Fearing a scandal, Brent bids farewell to Garbo. Once they're in the midst of the epidemic, Garbo tirelessly works by her husband's side; eventually she falls in love with him for the first time. Seriously injured in a peasant uprising, Marshall hovers near death. Brent reappears, offering to take Garbo back with him. She refuses, electing to stay with her husband no matter what the future brings. Among the supporting players in The Painted Veil are Warner Oland and Keye Luke, one year away from their memorable pairing in Fox's Charlie Chan films.

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Greta Garbo
as Katrin Koerber Fane
Herbert Marshall
as Dr. Walter Fane
George Brent
as Jack Townsend
Warner Oland
as General Yu
Jean Hersholt
as Prof. Koerber
Beulah Bondi
as Frau Koerber
Katherine Alexander
as Mrs. Townsend
Billy Bevan
as Bridegroom
Forrester Harvey
as Waddington
Alice Cook
as Curious Woman
Jane Kerr
as Cruel Woman
Vernon Dent
as Chief of Police
Gus Leonard
as Major-Domo
Dorothea Wolbert
as Stuttering Woman
Delmar Watson
as Crying Boy
Keye Luke
as Shay Kee Seng the Clerk
Olaf Hytten
as Dr. Somerset
Herbert Farjeon
as Dr. Simmons
James Wang
as Proprietor of Curio Shop
Ethel Griffies
as Lady Coldchester
Margaret Mann
as Mother Superior
Leonard Mudie
as Secretary
Lawrence Grant
as English Governor
Colin Kenny
as Englishman
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Critic Reviews for The Painted Veil

All Critics (3)

As usual, Miss Garbo seems more important than her story.

August 6, 2019 | Full Review…

There is drama enough in the sheer fact of [Garbo's] presence to dominate completely even such a fantastic plot as this one.

June 6, 2019 | Full Review…

Garbo lights up the screen with a sensuous, charismatic performance in this adaptation of Somerset Maugham as an errant wife who redeems herself during cholera crisis in China; Herbert Marshall as the husband and George Brent as the lover are also good

November 5, 2006 | Rating: B

Audience Reviews for The Painted Veil


Garbo is such a marvel to behold, so captivating that she doesn't need any effort to make us forgive her character's sins, while the solid script and elegant dialogue always let us understand her motivations, even though the conclusion comes a bit fast and sudden.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


I watched the newer version with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts before I saw this one and I pretty sure I like the Newer one better...dont get me wrong this movie is very very well acted (especially by Garbo) but I just felt a better connection to the characters. Like Katrin...Garbo play her as whinny and I didnt actually feel bad for her while I did have that connection with Watts.

Morgan Salem
Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer


Pretty good romantic drama, with Garbo putting in her regular wonderful performance as a woman trapped in a marriage with a man she doesn't love, and in love with another man who won't commit to her. Herbert Marshall and George Brent are not some of my favorites, but they held their own here well, as the husband and the lover, respectively. I pretty much expected the ending, but that's OK. The film held my attention and kept me awake even at 1 in the morning, so that's saying something.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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