The movie was adapted by Edwin Justus Mayer and Bess Meredyth from the 1913 play by Edward Sheldon. An earlier silent film also called Romance was one of the first releases by then new United Artists and starred Doris Keane, the actress in Sheldon's 1913 play.
Comedy romance earthworm tractors 1936 classic movie film full length old black and white
On New Year's Eve, Harry (Elliott Nugent) tells his grandfather (Gavin Gordon), a bishop, that he intends to marry an actress, even though that is frowned upon by his social class. However, his grandfather recounts via flashback a cautionary tale of a great love affair with a "fallen women" during his own youth.
When he was 28 years old, Tom Armstrong, the son of an aristocratic family and the rector of St. Giles, meets the famous Italian opera star Rita Cavallini (Greta Garbo) at an evening party given by Cornelius Van Tuyl (Lewis Stone). Tom falls in love with Rita even though there are rumors that she is Van Tuyl's mistress. Tom's family disapproves of Rita but he continues to pursue her until he discovers that she had been lying to him about the true nature of her relationship with Van Tuyl. Though he forgives and loves her, their different lives and different social class make an engagement untenable.
Ultimately, the old bishop later married Harry's grandmother and counsels Harry to marry the woman he loves regardless of the consequences.
Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote that "Greta Garbo's performance in Romance is perhaps as good as anything she has done on the screen." And Norbert Lusk of the movie magazine Picture Play said Garbo's performance "is a thing of pure beauty, an inspiring blend of intellect and emotion, a tender, poignant, poetic portrait of a woman who thrusts love from her because she considers herself unworthy of the man who offers it."
In addition, Romance was considered a box office success and sold $1,256,000 in tickets.