The Mysterious Lady ★★★

Lushly filmed melodrama generates plenty of heat in its first 20 minutes or so as Garbo and Conrad Nagel engage in an extended seduction by candlelight. This sequence burns as passionately as the famous seduction in Body Heat. Once it's revealed that Garbo is a Russian spy and is possibly using Nagel to extort political information, things become far more conventional and less intriguing. Fred Niblo once again proves himself to be an unsung visual director (the moment that Garbo lights a candelabra, her face grinning lasciviously at the camera in close-up, is seared into my brain), but the latter part of the movie would have benefited from more suspense and sexual heat.