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February 07, 1991|R.D.

You take a moment or two to study the photo above. You notice it's from "Flesh and the Devil," a 1926 silent film starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert.

You see how close they are. That's called intimacy. Words like smolder and torrid also come to mind.

My, you say to yourself, isn't it getting a little, well, close in this room?

You put the photo down. Wasn't there an errand that needed doing? You pick the photo up again. Something about these two. Fire and ice.

You see Garbo's eyes, hooded, alluring. Head thrown back. Crimson lips parted. Inviting.

Gilbert's no slouch, either. You wonder how you would look in that military outfit. You wonder if Garbo would sidle up to you. Feel the weight of her body against you. Feel her warmth through the wool of your tunic.

Snap out of it. Garbo doesn't sidle up to anyone.

She's just toying with him, you say. A little voice inside your head says: "Toy with me! Toy with me!"

You discover that you've been staring at this photo for 10 minutes. You notice you haven't been breathing for a while. You've fallen in love with Garbo. And she's from your grandmother's generation.

If a still from a movie could do this to you, what would it be like to watch the entire film? You read that it will screen tonight at 8 p.m. at UCLA's Royce Hall, accompanied by organist Thomas Hazleton. And in re-creating the moviegoing experience from that era, the program will include newsreels, cartoons and a music-dance revue beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $13, and $9 for students, and are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office and at all Ticketmaster outlets. Call (213) 825-9261 to charge by phone.

And the next time you think that romance and sex are the same thing, hang your head in shame.

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