Blonde Norwegian star Greta Nissen is mostly remembered for a role she didn't play; or, rather, a role that was eventually re-filmed with someone else. The daughter of an army officer and a child prodigy of sorts, Nissen (born Grethe Rutz-Nissen) made her professional debut appearing as a member of the corps de ballet at Copenhagen's Royal Theater. She was all of six years old and reportedly sponsored by Norway's Queen Maud. After studying with choreographer Michel Fokine in Paris, Nissen made an early screen debut in the Danish Daarskab, Dyd og Driverter (1923), a vehicle for the comedy team of Pat and Patachon. It was to be her only film in Scandinavia and the experience, she would later admit, had been less than endearing.
Arriving in New York with a ballet troupe in 1924, the blonde looker received an offer to appear in George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly's lavish revue Beggar on Horseback and her performance was duly noted by Paramount's Jesse L. Lasky, who signed her to a contract. Making her American screen debut in In the Name of Love (1925), Nissen was singled out by critic Mordaunt Hall, who found her "an appealing and clever actress with a striking personality," and the die was cast. There were several sophisticated comedies with Adolphe Menjou and director Raoul Walsh turned the Scandinavian beauty into an exotic seductress in such costume extravaganzas as The Wanderer (1926) and The Lady of the Harem (1926). MGM, meanwhile, borrowed her for The Love Thief (1926), originally conceived, it was said, for that other Nordic Greta, Greta Garbo.