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Wild Orchids (1929)

TV-G | | Romance, Drama | 23 February 1929 (USA)
A prince in Java tries to seduce his visitor's wife, but he's discovered.


Sidney Franklin


John Colton (story), Hanns Kräly (continuity) (as Hans Kraly) | 4 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Lillie Sterling
Lewis Stone ... John Sterling
Nils Asther ... Prince De Gace


Lillie Sterling comes with her husband, John, on a business trip to Java, expecting a second honeymoon. On the ship, she witnesses Javanese Prince De Gace mercilessly whipping a servant and shrinks in horror from the sight. When John is befriended by the Prince, who is very attracted to Lillie, she tries to have little to do with him. During a conversation in their room, John is called away to answer a wire, and the Prince steals a kiss in his absence, for which she slaps him. So she is understandably upset when John accepts the Prince's invitation to stay at his plantation in Java when he promised to arrange a tiger hunt. She tries to dissuade John from going, but John says he always wanted to shoot a tiger and she is being unreasonable. Once at the plantation, John is too busy to pay much attention to Lillie, and when he is away, the Prince tries to seduce her. Lillie flees in tears after another kiss, afraid of her own emotions. Finally, she embraces the Prince when he tries again,... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Stolen love, pilfered kisses. What do they lead to? (Print Ad-The Advertiser, ((Adelaide, SA)) 9 October 1929) See more »


Romance | Drama








Release Date:

23 February 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Divlje orhideje See more »


Box Office


$322,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of four silent films Greta Garbo made in the year 1929. Sound had already overtaken the film industry, but Garbo and Charlie Chaplin were the two primary holdouts in the transition -- Chaplin because he was resisting the shift and Garbo because she was redoubling her efforts to master English, something the native Swede was never pressed to do in the silent era. Garbo made the most silent films -- seven in all -- of any Hollywood star following the advent of sound in 1927. As a testament to MGM's most bankable star, audiences still turned out for her films despite the fact that silents were rendered obsolete virtually overnight. She would not make her talkie debut until one full year later, in the carefully chosen Anna Christie (1930), a prestige film that adroitly cast her as a Swede, thus allowing the studio to hedge its bets on her successful transition to talkies. See more »


Prince De Gace: You are like the orchids of your country - you have the same cold enchantment. In Java the orchids grow wild - and their perfume fills the air.
Lillie Sterling: And the women of Java - do they grow wild, too?
Prince De Gace: Not wild - but natural. They do not pretend to be cold - The heat - the everlasting heat - strips everyone of all pretense. It would be fascinating to learn whether your coldness - is only a pretense.
See more »


Featured in The Divine Garbo (1990) See more »


You Are Like Wild Orchids
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User Reviews

MGM gets its money's worth out of Garbo in 1929
21 November 2009 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

MGM had Greta Garbo quite busy making films during 1928 and 1929 as the studio saw the approach of sound film possibly destroying one of their top assets. Nobody knew what the outcome of Garbo's career would be at the time.

Thus Greta Garbo made silents until 1930's "Anna Christie". This silent film is not really silent at all. It has a very sophisticated score for its time, including sound effects, crowd noises, and even singing during musical numbers, with long shots of the singers so you can't see that there is no true synchronization with the singers themselves.

The story is that of 50ish John Sterling (Lewis Stone) and his young wife, Lillie (Greta Garbo). The two are embarking on a cruise to Java so that John can mix business with pleasure. His business is to look over some plantations that he may buy. The pleasure is his desire to hunt and shoot a tiger while in Java. On the boat the couple meet Prince De Gace, played by Nils Asther. John is by no means a neglectful husband, but at age 50 he has largely left his romantic days behind him. This makes Lillie a likely target for the charming prince and his silver tongue. He makes a play for her right off the bat, and continues his chase as the Sterlings remain guests in his home. Lillie is torn, but tries her best to avoid the prince and his advances. One night during their stay, after returning from a day of looking at plantations, John sees the silhouettes of the prince and Lillie on the drawn shade of the house just after the prince has grabbed her for a quick kiss. What will John do about this situation? The acting in this film is quite well done. Asther comes across well as the slimy but attractive prince, and Lewis Stone was a wonderful silent actor. His surprise when he first sees the couple in an embrace, and his look of both great disdain and knowing when he later sees the prince flirting with a servant girl says it all. Yet, like Garbo, some of his best performances would come with talking pictures where he could both artfully play the cad in the MGM precodes as well as Judge Hardy of the Andy Hardy series fame.

Existing prints of this film are quite well preserved, and I highly recommend it for silent film enthusiasts.

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