The love shared between the two men is so intense it borders on the homoerotic. Their love rivals that they share for Felicitas. It's quite interesting. Passion, in many forms, is the driving force of the story as well as the characters. Also, Gilbert and Garbo had such great chemistry that the screen seems to light up when they are together. They had a real-life romance on and off throughout the years they knew each other.
Two Moments of Eletricity
1) A cigarette in the garden.
Leo (Gilbert) says to Felicitas (Garbo) "You know... when you blow out the match... that's an invitation to kiss you." WOW! If only I could use that line in real life (any guys out there with matches handy?). Cigarettes are so symbolic in classic movies. They are one of the most important tools to show sexual attraction. And this scene is a great example of that.
2) The Den of Sin
Felicitas lures Leo into her "den of sin", as I like to call it. It's basically the bedroom in the home that she and her husband share. Here, hidden from the rest of the world, they proceed to be all up on each other. The scene is so long and it lingers on each kiss that the passion elevates to a sort of heightened eroticism. Hot!
Interesting Facts about Garbo & Gilbert from Leading Couples
1) Garbo never married. The one time she came close was when she left Gilbert at the altar. This may or may not be a rumor. Garbo fans, please let me know!
2) Garbo was a notoriously shy hermit. Gilbert was the only person who go her to come to a film premiere, Bardelys and the Magnificent (1926), and smile for the camera.
3) Garbo helped Gilbert get a talkie role when his star was falling. She insisted he be cast opposite her in Queen Christina (1934).
4) Gilbert alowed Garbo to share billing above the title in Flesh and the Devil (1926) (see above image), even though he could have sole billing.
5) Gilbert encouraged Garbo to host parities. She was the most sociable she had ever been when she was with him.
6) When Gilbert passed away, a rumor spread saying that Garbo's response was "What's that to me?" Garbo was so upset, that she held a press conference to denounce the rumor as false.