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In this historical drama, the home of Countess Marie Walewska (Greta Garbo) is briefly overrun with Russian Cossacks before fleeing the oncoming Polish forces. When it is discovered that Napoleon Bonaparte (Charles Boyer) is smitten with her from a prior encounter, Marie journeys to a meeting with the emperor to implore him to save Poland from further Russian aggression. Though it would mean the ruin of her marriage and reputation, she is tempted to give in to his amorous advances.

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