A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.
Interesting but much more for how the movies were done back in 1927 and how the relationships between men and women were understood.
Wow! Friedrich Murnau really did pull out all of the stops for this gorgeously complex and beautiful story - that is entirely based on human character flaws that ordinarily might make one squirm... None of the characters actually have names, but George O'Brien is contentedly married to Janet Gaynor, living on their farm with their young child. One day, he happens upon the visiting Margaret Livingstone - an urban sophisticate with whom he is soon captivated. Conscious of his duty to his wife, he is reluctant to join her in the big city, so she rather malevolently suggests that he and his wife fake a boating accident in which she drowns and he survives... Disgracefully, he agrees and so the couple set out on their trip, but when he tries to push her overboard he bottles it and she flees in terror into the city where he finally catches up with her, and craves her forgiveness. Luckily for him, she agrees and the couple spend a charming day together experiencing all the luxuries the metropolis can offer before being caught in the mother of all storms as they head home at the end of their day. Try as he might, though, he cannot put the memory of the other woman behind him, and his thoughts take a much darker turn... The story is basically a tale of good vs. evil, temptation and sin - and not always presented in any clear cut scenario. Despite being a thoroughly odious and selfish man, I didn't hate O'Brien's character - weak and fickle is it was; and the temptress Livingstone isn't hateful either - it's all about human nature and what makes us tick - warts and all. The photography is super - especially in the salon where they are both pampered and seduced, and the storm sequence at the end is also very effective. By 1927, silent films had learned the art of condensing their stories - and this is done really well here, too. The film has a pace that doesn't linger long, and is really a joy to watch.