OMG, Larry! You are so funny. Ok, ok, I don't really dislike him. He was great in silents. It is really just in Mata Hari that I found him a little weeeek! Ha! I would have preferred a really big star, not that Novarro wasn't big, but I mean someone like Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, or even Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Of course they all would have had to have been borrowed. Novarro was on the lot, and, therefore, an easy choice. It is funny, but even though Garbo was cast opposite major stars like Melvyn Douglas, Robert Montgomery, Clark Gable, George Brent, Herbert Marshall, Frederic March, and Rober Taylor, I really would have liked to see her opposite Cooper, Grant, Power, and even Spencer Tracy. I would have liked to have seen Tracy in the Herbert Marshall role in The Painted Veil with Gable as George Brent. It is always fun to recast these old films, and nothing against Brent or Marshall.
Now, Alison, as to Robert Taylor, he was MGM's answer to Tyrone Power. Power would have been magnificent in Camille as Armand Duval. But Taylor was very handsome and they looked good together; although, I feel the same way you do. I think my favorite combos are Garbo and Gable and Garbo and Barrymore. Another pairing which should have been magnificent was Garbo and Boyer, but it didn't work. He out shown her as the part of Napoleon was larger than life. She was relegated to a supporting role in that film. Sheeeez!
Here is one of my favorite glamour shots from Mata Hari: