miliosr

The Films of Greta Garbo

214 posts in this topic

True, but yiannisfrance makes a good point. Nobody initially thought of her retirement as permanent, and she was never box office poison.

You're right that she could have continued in some form or other, with some kinds of movies or other, but I've always heard that she'd been called 'box office poison', along with Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford. Here's something from this past July in the Daily News:

http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/movies/dvd_extra_brown_directs_garbo_crawford_eDADJUGSer7ZJg50zrjfNK

"Conquest,'' a very lavish historial drama beautifully photographed by Karl Freund and Garbo's ninth and last film under Brown going back to the silents, turned out to be MGM's biggest money-loser until the end of the '40s. It was apparently never reissued like Greta Garbo's other major films. The studio was so panicked by the film's failure -- particularly after Garbo was labeled "box office panic'' in a famous magazine article the following year -- that her two remaining films for the studios were both comedies, the successful "Ninotchka'' (1939) and the flop "Two Faced Woman'' in 1941.

and from this site:

http://hiwaay.net/~oliver/timeline4.htm

:"May 3, 1938 - An infamous advertisement in the Hollywood Reporter labels several big name stars, like Garbo and Marlene Dietrich "box office poison" claiming that their tremendous salaries do not reflect their ticket sales. "

I've also read it in a Dietrich bio by that guy who had a telephone relationship with her, that those 4 had been labelled box office poison, I don't know if all at the same time (I think K. Hepburn earlier, not sure).

Ho ho ho,I found that you are about 7th in my googling, from this very thread:

Garbo was on the infamous box office poison list, but her case was slightly different from that of the others, most of whom had for one reason or another worn out their welcome with the public. Garbo was still very popular in Europe and valuable also as a credit to her studio.

Maybe so, but the Daily News article makes it sound like she was still a kind of 'box office poison', because there is a real shifting of gears with 'Ninotchka' and 'Two-Faced Woman'.

She could have always kept herself occupied in the movies, although I don't care to speculate about that. She obviously didn't want to, because she could have revived it, and with something good, at almost any minute. And I don't agree with you, yiannis, that she was an 'uncompromising artist' in terms of 'all or nothing', since she'd been doing a great deal of that throughout her career, not in terms of her acting (which I tend to think is always good, even in junk like 'Two-Faced Woman'), but in terms of several mediocre vehicles she was in, like 'As You Desire Me', 'The Painted Veil', etc., which interest only as 'Garbo films'. No actor is ever uncompromising beyond a certain point, and literally all do trash for the money, including Olivier and Vanessa, from time to time. C'est normale. I hadn't know she might have done a 'Dorian Gray'. That sounds like a dreadful idea, as does Hamlet IMO. However, she might have been able to do something with 'Pandora', although I doubt anyone could have pleased me, it comes across heavy as lead to me. I know the film has its fans, though (and I'm certainly a big Ava Gardner fan in many other things.)

Anyway, Dietrich, however more campy and not usually as great a pure Thespian as Garbo, was extremely intelligent and sometimes very subtle, and kept going (with sometimes quite good results) for most of the rest of her life. Garbo liked her life the way it was, but Yiannis, don't forget that Dietrich and K. Hepburn continued well into the 40s and 50s and beyond, so Garbo could easily have as well--and none of these ladies were any picnic to work with; they were all demanding and difficult. The 40s weren't just new types of movie glamour types, Dietrich was still very much in evidence and so, god knows, was Joan Crawford, whose persona is much more formed by her 40s pictures than her 30s, although I only like the early light 30s things, with a couple of exceptions.

Share this post


Link to post

It si nice to disagree from time to time. The uncompromising element, the way I see it has something to do with the image of the Divine which she kept intact throughout her career. Personally, I am not among those people who complain wbout the quality of the Garbo vehicles in general, I think she had a wonderful career. Maybe I am not totally objective, but I suppose who can be objective when falling in love? C'est ça la passion.

What I mean is even in vehicles which were not necessarily great films like" The single standard" or "Inspiration" or "Romance" you had that feeling that you were in presnece of a great artist, star and beauty who was lovingly and carefully surrounded by other giftes artists. This was mainly due to Garbo herself but also to that visual context created especially for her and lovingly supported by Adrian for costumes, William Daniels (or Oliver Marsh in "The Single standard") as cameraman and Cedric Gibbons for the sets.

You can take some mediocre films of other stars of that era, it is hard to say that let us say a medicore film of Joan Crawford has any redeeming qualities about it.

Plus, Garbo did not make so many films as the other stars of that era. Which brings us to another issue brought up here when people think that Garbo's appeal was fading due to the heavy historical costumes he made from "Queen Christina" onwards. Actually counting "Queen Christina" between 1933 and 1941, Garbo made 4 films in costumes (not so many) "Queen Christina", "Anna Karenina", "Camille" and "Conquest". And during the same period she made three films in modern costumes "The painted veil" (many people hate it, but personally it is a favorite of mine), "Ninotschka" and "Two Faced woman"). If one takes another example of another film great let us say Bette Davis, just between 1938 and 1940 she made 6 films in costumes: "The sisters", "Jezebel", "Elizabeth and Essex", "Juarez", "The old maid" and "All this and <Heaven too".

Also disagree about the perspective of Dorian Gray or Hamlet being a bad idea for a comeback for her. I think she would have been extraordinary in these parts. Another part that made her dream for a comeback was the Empress Elizabeth of Austria known as Sissi.

Share this post


Link to post

While it's interesting to think of Garbo pushing the maleish aspects of her performance in Queen Christina to their absolute limit by performing parts written for men, I cannot imagine what the audience would have been in the United States for such an experiment. I can picture someone like Tilda Swinton doing it now but back then it would have been an impossibility in the US.

Share this post


Link to post

It si nice to disagree from time to time. The uncompromising element, the way I see it has something to do with the image of the Divine which she kept intact throughout her career. Personally, I am not among those people who complain wbout the quality of the Garbo vehicles in general, I think she had a wonderful career. Maybe I am not totally objective, but I suppose who can be objective when falling in love? C'est ça la passion.

Yes, I think she had a wonderful career too, but I do think it's also important to be objective when one can even with one's favourites (or it is to me, at least.) The only one of my favourite film stars for which I can't think of ever being in a second- or third-rate film is Delphine Seyrig, and I never thought she gave a bad performance, but that could be argued, or there may even be a bad film of which I'm not aware, but she made few as well (I should add that I wouldn't 'hold it against her' if she did, I'd consider it normal). Gary Cooper, Robert Mitchum, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Catherine DeNeuve, just to name a few, all were in some dreadful pictures, and there are a few dreadful performances they gave as well. But I am equally attracted to see all of their roles (even the awful last things that Mitchum did like 'Midnight Ride' and Audrey did, like 'They All Laughed': Both of these films are unspeakably bad, as was Audrey's TV movie 'Love Among Thieves' that she did with Robert Wagner) at least once. Deneuve even made that awful 'Hustle' with Burt Reynolds, and I thought 'The April Fools' was pretty bad early on.

It IS true I never saw Edith Evans in anything I thought she was bad in either, although by far the great bulk of her important work was onstage, except for her Mother Superior turn in 'The Nun's Story'. That's the most preposterous use of Edith Evans, who's always playing 'ladies of quality' I ever saw, and it tickles me just to think how ridiculous.

Well, I guess I can think of one of my favourites who has a huge range and who was rarely in pulp: Deborah Kerr, who is definitely on a par with Garbo in my estimation.

But we're talking about two different things. I do appreciate the mediocre vehicles of Garbo just for her presence, but I don't keep watching most of them, 'Romance' is an exception; I know it's schlock, but I like it. And yes, there is a special aura about her, but then there is for many great artists, whether or not performing artists. It's according to how far one is capable or desiring to go into this near-religion with any of them. There are many, for example, who feel that way about Balanchine--on this board and certainly those who worked with him and who are still running ballet companies of their own. You get something either way: In other words, I can't say I have quite this much ardour for any artist, although Martha Graham probably comes closest for me, because of the worlds she was able to create--but I've got way too much ego to have ever allowed myself to submit to her the way some did, even if I had been a modern dancer. And then there are a few writers, or just a few beauties with no discernible other major talent whom I cherish but don't talk about.

But most of your thoughts on Garbo have been very inspiring, even though I'd even forgotten 'Inspiration', and that I don't find inspiring, although, as I've explained with the others I'm not crazy about, I am glad to have seen them at least once: There are a few exceptions. I really actively dislike 'Ninotchka' for the most part, and don't even care for her in it. But your

you had that feeling that you were in presnece of a great artist, star and beauty who was lovingly and carefully surrounded by other giftes artists
is very good and offers a new way of looking at the pre-Ninotchka films I'm less fond of, but...now that you do, I feel that that 'lovingly and careful surrounding of Garbo by other gifted artists' does begin to look threadbare by the time one arrives at 'Ninotchka', even if they're all trying. She kept the aura going by stopping films, and it worked, even if some people resented it.

As for male roles played by females, it's got an illustrious history, but I wasn't born in those old periods, and I don't like them, period. Also, any non-comic female roles played by men, just not into it.

So that one of the things you make stand out in sharp relief, yiannis, is the different kinds of fans, and that's interesting. We've already discussed your religious or near-religious worship of Garbo, and I've described my own way of appreciating her work and that of others. The friend of mine I mentioned who used to follow her around and was obsessed with her, still calls her his 'favourite star', doesn't however like a number of her performances, so that's another twist. He thinks she's 'over-the-top' in 'Grand Hotel', where I find her extraordinarily exotic; and he also isn't that impressed with 'Anna Karenina', which I am. Otoh, he loves her in 'Ninotchka', but I've said enough about that. For me, she's good in it, but it's the first case of the 'Garbo aura' being stripped off a film: It's much more ensemble, and both Douglas and Claire are also very impressive in it (as performers, that is, but I don't intend to watch this film again, I think it's hopeless-whereas i probably will at some point watch 'The Painted Veil' again, I like it well enough.)

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, Delphine Seyrig with that beautiful golden voice of hers! She was a magnificent and one of a kind artist without any doubt, but this was another context you know and Delphine although popular was not as we would say one of the biggest box office stars in films in France, like Bardot or later Annie Girardot, Louis de Funès etc. And she was also known as one of the great stage actresses of her time.

Garbo like other extremely popular actors of the twenties and thirties was more or less bound to her popularity status (in Garbo's case it was luckily linked to her status as a prestigious actress of the MGM lot. So even a film like "Mata Hari", they would work to make it look something like art). But still, the ambition of her and other popular actors projects would fall within certain limitations (It would be hard to imagine a film like "L'année dernière à Marienbad" made by Alain Resnais with Delphine Seyrig or the Ingmar Bergman films being made in Hollywood in the thirties). Once we accept those limitations, there is still a lot to enjoy from her films. I mentioned "Mata Hari" which is one of my favorites, although I know many people look down to it and I do prefer "Inspiration" to "Romance" (although Garbo is radiant in that).

Regarding "Ninotschka" I have to admit it took me years to warm up to it, probably because I felt that Garbo did not quite have that "aura" in this as in her previous films. Strangely enough I am almost more comfortable with one of her most “despised” films "Two Faced Woman" where I find her absolutely charming, perhaps more earthy perhaps than her early 1930 films but wonderful.

But after having seen it many times I really begun to appreciate "Ninotschka" and do consider it today as a great film, although as you said more like an ensemble piece of work. On the other hand, we were talking about it with a friend some time ago and we could not find another actress at this time who could fit the part of “Ninotschka” like Garbo.

Interesting what you said about your friend who has been following Garbo around New York (I am sure she must have noticed him!). I never managed to see her in person though, just in my dreams!

Share this post


Link to post

I admit that I like Garbo quite well in 'Two-Faced Woman' too, yiannis. After years of hearing about this 'disaster', I found her perfectly wonderful in it (although strangely Americanized; I thought she seemed to be 'morphing' into Kate Hepburn, and that that was the one film Hepburn could have done of Garbo's). I'll try 'Imitation' again at some point; I really enjoy all the Garbo films except 'Ninotchka', even though it's very well-made, but you just have to forgive me for that, since it was recently that I watched about 3 times, and that's going to have to be enough! The most strange sensation is the way when she's finally come to meet Douglas at the party--she comes across as a 'surprise senior-prom beauty from one of the lesser families' rather than the imperious goddess she usually inhabits so easily. It has to do with the film's structure that I actually find her more beautiful in the Soviet attire.

'Golden' is a good word for Delphine's voice, another friend called it sombre, listening to her beautiful spoken recording of Debussy's 'Chansons de Bilitis'. I know so little about her actually. This is touch off-topic, but I'm intrigued by her stage career, of which I know nothing; maybe you know some of what she was known for.

Yes, the other friend, who is my best friend here in New York, did follow Garbo around till she finally looked back at him and looked scared. So he stopped right then and there. There's nothing crazy about him. Then there's another friend who claimed she chased HIM around, that she was sexually attracted to him, this was such a crock, and just the kind of thing he would make up. And he was NOT nice, I just put up with him because he was funny (that's my Achilles heel, I've been told.)

Share this post


Link to post

I have to agree with you about that scene in "Ninotschka", when she comes with that white tulle décolleté gown at Café de Lutèce with Melvyn Douglas and confronts the Grande Duchess, something is wrong, for once Adrian missed a point with Garbo who for once looks less than stunning (according to the Grabo criteria for stunning), whereas she looks better as you said with her "Soviet" outfits and wonderful with the very last outfit when she visits her comrades in Istanbul.

About Delphine Seyrig, she started her theatre career in the 1950s and went on most successfully almost up to her death (I believ she died in 1990, the same year as Garbo). She was known on stage for her portrayals in Marguerite Duras plays but also other great playwrights like Tchekhov "The seagull", Tourgueniev "A month in the country", Pinter "The collection", "The lover" etc.

Regarding Garbo's encounters with her admirers, this is always an intriguguin question. I can see as you say that she might be frightened at times with people following her and I simply cannot see her being aggressive towards someone. I think your friend's attitute towards her was right since he stopped following her by the time he sensed that he was intruding and scaring her. It seems that sometimes she could even be humorous about it, as she told her walking compagnion Sam Green during their walks in New York, whenever there was a fan (she would refer to them as "customers") coming towards them she would say: "My Green I think we have a customer".

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe so, but the Daily News article makes it sound like she was still a kind of 'box office poison', because there is a real shifting of gears with 'Ninotchka' and 'Two-Faced Woman'.

Actually, I was agreeing with yiannisfrance's point she was never box office poison, not that she was never called that. It's great that you had the time to trawl through all that stuff, though, thanks for the links. :) The central point was that Garbo wasn't producing bombs and hadn't turned off the public. She had grown more remote in her appeal from the (American) public, however, hence the need to try a change.

The trouble Garbo ran into (starting around the time of Queen Christina) was that American audiences grew less and less enchanted with the historical and literary heroines she was portraying.

I think that's true. It's true, as yiannisfrance rightly points out, that Davis played in a number of costume dramas during the same period, but she was also appearing in modern dress roles and her connection with her public was very strong. She was also in a different place in her career, just reaching her peak while Garbo had been around for awhile.

Garbo liked her life the way it was, but Yiannis, don't forget that Dietrich and K. Hepburn continued well into the 40s and 50s and beyond, so Garbo could easily have as well--and none of these ladies were any picnic to work with; they were all demanding and difficult.

She could have continued, but it wouldn't necessarily have been "easy." It definitely wasn't easy for the female stars who were able to carry on into their forties and beyond. (It's off topic, but I would differ on the "demanding and difficult" part, which is often exaggerated, and when it's accurate, has a direct connection to the part about it not being easy.)

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting about Delphine Seyrig. I'm trying to imagine Garbo in "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" - three days in the routines of a homemaker which go slightly and slightlier out of kilter - which Seyrig did so brilliantly.

Below is a photograph of Seyrig at Coenties Slip. She was married to Jack Youngerman and then lived with group of artists which included Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Indiana. The group was living in cold-water abandoned sail lofts and ships chandleries and were trying to distance themselves from the influences of the Eighth Street abstract expressonist scene [i'm paraphrasing from the lovely 1993 Pace Gallery catalog]. Youngerman compared them to Godard's "Band of Outsiders." Kelley said Seyrig was a civilizing influence. Antonioni and Monica Vitti paid a visit about the time "L'Avventura" was being released, interested in meeting a group of artists.

A variant of the famous photograph by Hans Namuth of them all on a rooftop - if you scroll up:

Nos 3-5 Coenties Slip

Regarding ""Ninotchka," I think I prefer its successor, "Silk Stockings," which has been discussed here before - with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse and scene stealing Peter Lorre.

Share this post


Link to post
It definitely wasn't easy for the female stars who were able to carry on into their forties and beyond.

While it's possible for audiences today to lament what might have been had Garbo continued to work after World War II, it is also possible to rejoice that she didn't have to reduce herself in any way. For instance, she never went the "horror hag" route in the 1960s that was brought to us by Crawford and Davis. (And I say that as someone who admires Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? as a taut thriller and not as camp.) Luckily for Garbo (and for us), we were spared her versions of Hush, Hush . . . Sweet Charlotte and Straightjacket and Die! Die! My Darling.

Share this post


Link to post

Regarding ""Ninotchka," I think I prefer its successor, "Silk Stockings," which has been discussed here before - with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse and scene stealing Peter Lorre.

So do I, easily. Coincidentally, my Garbo-fan friend was here today, and I was talking with him about our thread here, and I said the same thing, but with big emphasis on Janis Paige, who was so delicious with that song 'Glorious Technicolor, Breathtaking Cinemascope and Stereophonic Sound'. Totally love her, and think she should have re-created her B'way 'Pajama Game' role, because Doris Day was not good in it IMO.

But mainly, the idea was that a totally silly and inane concept is okay for a musical comedy sometimes, and doesn't work elsewhere. A musical in those days mainly needed good numbers, and you couldn't miss with that cast.

Thanks for the photo and material on Delphine. I did see 'Pull My Daisy', which I think would have been just the time, with Allen Ginsberg, and didn't Burroughs even make a cameo appearance in that? Amazing she was with those people, then the next thing she does is 3 episodes of 'Pete and Gladys' sitcom, and suddenly is 'a' in 'Marienbad'.

While it's possible for audiences today to lament what might have been had Garbo continued to work after World War II, it is also possible to rejoice that she didn't have to reduce herself in any way. For instance, she never went the "horror hag" route in the 1960s that was brought to us by Crawford and Davis. (And I say that as someone who admires Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? as a taut thriller and not as camp.) Luckily for Garbo (and for us), we were spared her versions of Hush, Hush . . . Sweet Charlotte and Straightjacket and Die! Die! My Darling.

But even if you think Crawford and Davis 'reduced' themselves in this way (so did Olivia de Havilland, with 'Hush Hush..' and 'Lady in a Cage'), Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn didn't suffer this fate at all as they aged, so Garbo certainly wouldn't have gone that route either. I actually have nothing against 'Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte', although I am not mad for 'Straitjacket' (despite Diane Baker's usual charisma) and 'I Saw What You Did', but even that pales beside a week of 'Secret

Storm' in 1968. Ms. Crawford definitely had a screw loose. So I happen to like Bette Davis's 'horror hag' work (and fabulous in 'Where Love Has Gone' too, as well as 'Widow Fortune' in the TV movie of Tom Tryon's 'Dark Secret of Harvest Home'), but Miss Crawford's considerably less. 'Die! Die! My Darling!' is one of the best titles I ever heard, though, esp. since the movie is sort of an extension of 'A day without Tallulah is like a month in the country'.

Share this post


Link to post

But even if you think Crawford and Davis 'reduced' themselves in this way (so did Olivia de Havilland, with 'Hush Hush..' and 'Lady in a Cage'), Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn didn't suffer this fate at all as they aged, so Garbo certainly wouldn't have gone that route either. I actually have nothing against 'Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte', although I am not mad for 'Straitjacket' (despite Diane Baker's usual charisma) and 'I Saw What You Did', but even that pales beside a week of 'Secret

Storm' in 1968. Ms. Crawford definitely had a screw loose. So I happen to like Bette Davis's 'horror hag' work (and fabulous in 'Where Love Has Gone' too, as well as 'Widow Fortune' in the TV movie of Tom Tryon's 'Dark Secret of Harvest Home'), but Miss Crawford's considerably less. 'Die! Die! My Darling!' is one of the best titles I ever heard, though, esp. since the movie is sort of an extension of 'A day without Tallulah is like a month in the country'.

Yes but Dietrich and Hepburn were of a different feather from Garbo. They were also exceptions rather than the rule. Maybe because they never, even when they were young, fresh and beautiful went for the traditional romantic leading role type roles. Hepburn in particular had a brittle, eccentric quality to her acting that can and does age very well. Garbo occasionally showed streaks of a more idiosyncratic side (her wearing pants as Queen Christina) but her role was that of the romantic leading woman. It's hard for actresses who play romantic leading women to "age well" into matriarchs, eccentrics, character roles, horror films, TV, or walk-ons in musicals and whatnot.

There's also another factor. Dietrich and Hepburn were independent and had a strong will, but they also were well-connected, well-liked by moguls, directors, the Hollywood press. The Hollywood press kept silent about Hepburn's personal life for years, even if it had such potentially embarrassing instances as her cleaning up Spencer Tracy's messes (literally) at hotels or bars. Even then their careers had dry spots. The difference was the ability of Hepburn to keep a close circle of connections ready at hand to give her the parts. But many actresses just aren't able to maintain the connections well, for whatever reason. Garbo was one of them. I dunno, I felt like Garbo had the career she wanted, lived the life she wanted, and she never embarrassed herself.

I don't worship Garbo but I certainly don't think less of her for ending her career early.

Share this post


Link to post
The difference was the ability of Hepburn to keep a close circle of connections ready at hand to give her the parts.

I suspect Hepburn was kept on at MGM primarily because of her offscreen role in keeping him on an even keel. Her pictures without him at the studio, after The Philadelphia Story, were not much to write home about.

"Ninotchka" I would rate more highly than "Silk Stockings" because it boasts a beautiful performance by Garbo to watch, which in itself redeems almost everything, and lacks the dismal "Ritz Roll and Rock." Charisse isn't awful - at least it's a role where she's supposed to be wooden -- but it's a depressing effort over all even if Porter did come through with "All of You" and it is nice to see Janis Paige get a good opportunity.

I admit that I like Garbo quite well in 'Two-Faced Woman' too, yiannis. After years of hearing about this 'disaster', I found her perfectly wonderful in it (although strangely Americanized; I thought she seemed to be 'morphing' into Kate Hepburn, and that that was the one film Hepburn could have done of Garbo's).

I like her in it, too. I think anyone who sees it will be surprised at how good Garbo is, even though the material isn't her thing.

Share this post


Link to post

Since we have discussed Camille and while expecting Ninotschka coming next, I thought it would be interesting to talk about Conquest (we can also talk about other Garbo films as well), known in Europe as Marie Walewska which was Garbo’s next film after her immortal Dame aux Camelias.

Conquest is interesting for many reasons. This was to be the star’s final collaboration with Clarence Brown who directed her in 7 films. It was also her last dramatic part, her swan song to the great tragic romantic heroines which made her famous before her two final comedies.

It was also the first and last time that Garbo made a film with French romantic male lead Charles Boyer who must have the record of appearing next to almost every single great star and actress in Hollywood and France (with a few exceptions of course. His list of female partners is impressive. Besides Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn. Ingrid Bergman, Claudette Colbert, Margaret Sullavan, Barbara Stanwyck, Irene Dunne, Rita Hayworth, Laureen Bacall, Arletty, Lillian Gish, Jean Harlow, Michele Morgan, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Danielle Darrieux etc). Sadly Boyer despite his illustrious career is a figure almost and unjustly forgotten in his native France.

But back to Conquest. This film was also the first important film with Garbo in the US which lost a lot of money at the box office. It also cost a lot of money, mainly due to the eternal rewrites of the script and a series of scriptwriters who worked on the script.

The film focuses on the love affair between Napoleon and his Polish mistress Marie Walewska with whom he had a son who would later become an important figure in political affairs in France.

The opening scene with the Cossacks invading the residence of the Walewskis is impressively filmed and Garbo looks radiant and youthful as she descends the stairs to affront the invaders next to her older husband the count Walewski.

There is a wonderful, quiet quality in Garbo’s performance in this film which is particularly appealing. A simple, deep, generous warmth which Garbo radiates throughout the film. Her beauty is dazzling and she conveys a touching spiritual quality in her look and beautiful, melodious voice, whose sadness and quiet pathos makes one think of Chopin’s nocturnes.

Her first meeting with Napoleon in the snow is magical and Boyer rises to the challenge of his Divine co-star. The two actors are quite contrasted, she quiet and poetic, he full of energy and Gallic charm, but they click together. Apparently the two actors knew each other at Salka Viertel’s (cho collaborated in the script for Conquest) salon who was Garbo’s best friend and they got on marvellously well during filming.

There is a wonderful and moving moment after Garbo as Walewska is forced to sleep with Napoleon, in order to save her country. She returns at home and confronts her husband. “I came back to hear my sentence Anastase”, murmurs Garbo with a tragic resignation before sinking to the floor awaiting her sentence. One thinks of this scene as a summary of all those tragic romantic heroines she played cast out from society as her Anna Karenina, both in the silent and talking version (when she confronts her husband after her stolen visit for her son’s birthday) and Garbo has that miraculous quality of conveying doom and fatalism which is breathtaking.

When convinced of Napoleon’s love and hers for him, her abandon at the scene of the balcony is exquisite. “I shall never long for spring again” says Garbo in such a poetic melodious way as she quietly and gently abandons herself in Boyer’s arms.

Before this scene we also have a wonderful confrontation between Boyer and the marvelous Russian actress Maria Ouspenskaya with whom he plays cards and they have quite fight as she finds him cheating. The lady has lost her memory and remembers nothing for the last forty years so she ignores who Napoleon is.

One of the most memorable scenes in the film occurs when Napoleo’s mother played by Dame May Witty visits Marie in her apartment in Paris and the latter announces her that she is expecting a Napoleon’s child. What joy and quiet wisdom we find in Garbo’s voice as she announces the news to Napoleon’s mother.

And what a contrast when from this scene we go to the next scene with Garbo and Boyer in Vienna when she, filled with joy goes to announce him that she is expecting his child and just stops abruptly as he announces her that he will marry Marie Louise, in order to assure his dynasty. Garbo sinks to the floor, struck with sorrow and deception, a deception and sadness which has more to do with her realizing that Napoleon is no longer the patriotic figure she loves but an ambitious politician willing to sacrifice everything for his ambition. But she still loves him and that quiet eternal love of hers still burns for the rest of the film.

Boyer is magnificent as Napoleon and his interacting with Garbo is magical. Many people do not like this film since Garbo has a less showy part than let us say her precedent roles like Camille, Christina or Karenina. But there is a lot to treasure and an indescribable moving, spiritual quality about her acting and beauty which personally I find most appealing. Also worthy of note, this film was not photographed by her favourite cameraman William Daniels but by Karl Freund.

The film was recently released on DVD from the Warner Bros Archives.

Share this post


Link to post

It was also the first and last time that Garbo made a film with French romantic male lead Charles Boyer who must have the record of appearing next to almost every single great star and actress in Hollywood and France (with a few exceptions of course. His list of female partners is impressive. Besides Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn. Ingrid Bergman, Claudette Colbert, Margaret Sullavan, Barbara Stanwyck, Irene Dunne, Rita Hayworth, Laureen Bacall, Arletty, Lillian Gish, Jean Harlow, Michele Morgan, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Danielle Darrieux etc). Sadly Boyer despite his illustrious career is a figure almost and unjustly forgotten in his native France.

I liked 'Conquest', but don't have time to write about it at the moment. But was struck by your 'Boyer record'. I had figured this out on my own as well. You've added some I hadn't known and left out a few that I'll now add, from having started watching the 1962 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' last night. So we'd include the stunning Ingrid Thulin and also Yvette Mimieux as well. This had originally been a flop, and I never wanted to see it until we were talking about 'Gilda' and Glenn Ford recently. Ford I now appreciate much more than I used to, primarily because of 'Gilda', but also because of Lang's 'The Big Heat'. I'd thought of him as bland before. And a Wiki piece I just read described all the perceived problems of this, but what startled me was the chemistry between Ford and Thulin is very strong and convincing, and while Thulin is a vision (I always thought she was the most beautiful of the Bergman actresses, but never thought I'd watch this, it sounded like an anomaly), Ford is fit and sexy, and looks marvelous in suits. In fact, that he's playing Charles Boyer's SON is much less credible than his affair with Thulin, as is his having Nazi cousins with names like Heinrich.

So will just quickly say that I thought Boyer was marvelous in 'Conquest', but I usually like him. I had liked Garbo too, and she looks spectacular in it. This was one of her best matches of leading men, and Boyer was indeed a consummate actor; I'm surprised to hear he's not remembered much there. Someone told me that since Gilbert Becaud died in 2001, there's been mo mention of him to speak of (although this friend goes to Paris a lot he lives in Lausanne, but I think he'd know.) Of course, that's more recent, but there's been a lot of discussion I've heard over decades about the different ways of valuing performing artists, particularly contrasting the U.S. and France: In the former, it's pretty much understood that you have to keep producing and getting out work, and the latter, one can coast on one's past laurels and be celebrated for years. Or that's the stereotype, and those are, of course, often applicable. Sorry to veer off the the film for the moment, but I did remember when I, too, counted up as many of the ladies Boyer had appeared with, and I had started with 'who had worked with Garbo, Dietrich, and K. Hepburn?' He was the only one.

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, your are right about Boyer, I honestly think he was one of her very best film partners with regards to acting ability and this shows in the film. I would add John Barrymore in Grand Hotel and also the marvelous Henry Daniel in Camille. Amd I also hugely enjoy her partnership with Gable in Susan Lennox. Strange but sizzling.

It was almost impossible to include all of Boyers prestigious female stars, but I am glad you mentioned Ingrid Thulin. There was also Jane Fonda.

One of his best films in my mind was Mayerling opposite the young Danielle Darrieux. He was perfect in the part of Rudolphe who commits suicide with his mistress Marie Vetsera. The irony of the sort is that Boyer himself commited suicide after the death of his wife British actress Pat paterson in 1978 I believe.

Boyer was fond of telling a story about his meeting and marriage Pat, it was around 1933. He said that he had to thank Garbo for his marriage to his wife Pat. He had a date with Pat and they were supposed to go and see Queen Christina with Garbo which opened nationwide. When they arrived at the cinema. it was sold out, so they decided to get married instead.

Its is sad but true about Boyer and France. People barely mention him here, besides maybe in Ophuls film Madame De with Danielle Darrieux. This is unjust as he was one of the best and most charming leading men in Hollywood and his impressive list of leading actresses certainly says a lot to this subject. I remember at his centennial , I was at his birthplace at Figeac, at the south west of France, and was at a small phto shop whrere the owner was paying a private tribute to Boyer with the screening in French of Conquest and he was lamenting that there was not a single tribute in France to celebrate Boyer's centennial.

Also true what you have mentioned about the extraordinary Gilbert Becaud one of France's greatest singers. Almost mo one mentions him today and yet he contributed immensely in popular culture and the music scene in France for decades,

Share this post


Link to post
Yes, your are right about Boyer, I honestly think he was one of her very best film partners with regards to acting ability and this shows in the film. I would add John Barrymore in Grand Hotel and also the marvelous Henry Daniel in Camille. Amd I also hugely enjoy her partnership with Gable in Susan Lennox. Strange but sizzling.

Very true, yiannisfrance, and thank you for that wonderful post in tribute to Boyer. Conquest is mostly DOA for this viewer but it's nice to see GG acting with one of her peers in the profession. I feel the same way about Garbo and Gable.

Share this post


Link to post

I am glad you like Boyer. Besides "Conquest" and "Mayerling", I also found him marvellous in several other films like": Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman, "All this and heaven too" with Bette Davis, "Lilliom" by Fritz Lang, "Madame De" by Max Ophuls opposite Danielle Darrieux, "Love Affair" with Irenne Dunne etc. On the other hand, not fond of his partnership with Dietrich in "The Garden of Allah" (the two stars deserved better material, the film is too kitsch and never believeable on a dramatic level).

As for Gable, the more I watch "Susan Lennox" the more I love the film and the couple Garbo-Gable in it. Not too many people mention this among their top preferences in the Garbo or Gable filmography, which is unfair, but as far as I am concerned it is one of my very favorites for both stars.

Share this post


Link to post

I am glad you like Boyer. Besides "Conquest" and "Mayerling", I also found him marvellous in several other films like": Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman, "All this and heaven too" with Bette Davis, "Lilliom" by Fritz Lang, "Madame De" by Max Ophuls opposite Danielle Darrieux, "Love Affair" with Irenne Dunne etc. On the other hand, not fond of his partnership with Dietrich in "The Garden of Allah" (the two stars deserved better material, the film is too kitsch and never believeable on a dramatic level).

As for Gable, the more I watch "Susan Lennox" the more I love the film and the couple Garbo-Gable in it. Not too many people mention this among their top preferences in the Garbo or Gable filmography, which is unfair, but as far as I am concerned it is one of my very favorites for both stars.

'Liliom' is a beautiful movie, and Boyer really looks young and virile in it. Madeleine Ozeray is fragile, birdlike and exquisite, and there's a lovely small appearance by Antonin Artaud as 'le remouler' (the 'grinder'). I hadn't thought of 'Gaslight' the other day, but yes, he is excellent in that, and so is Miss Bergman (her other Oscar-winner, 'Anastasia', is boring to me). I think 'Liliom' is much better than 'Carousel', the musical version, although I've heard Molnar said he liked it.

I think people aren't so fond of 'Susan Lennox' because it is so unusual and exotic--that doesn't always mean popular.

You're right about 'The Garden of Allah', which is hideous, as is another Dietrich film 'Kismet', which left me in disbelief. I believe Dietrich said at one time when the film was featured on TV in the late 70s or early 80s that Garden of Allah was the favourite of her pictures 'because I was never more beautiful', which makes it totally worthwhile to me, as I think Marlene has the best sense of humour of all the stars (except maybe Ava Gardner.) The things she said about Loretta Young and Joan Crawford are just outrageous, but they crack me up, and I like many of her films a great deal. She's admired Garbo and K. Hepburn hugely, but that was about it of female stars she had a good word for.

Share this post


Link to post

I almost forgot about "Kismet". That was a big joke! Horrible, worse than "The garden of Allah".

With regards to Dietrich, I always liked her. I admire the star, the personality, I respect her contribution, I like her songs. I would never consider her as one of the greatest actresses in films, but on the other hand I think this is not what matters with Dietrich. She was this huge star who knew how to do "her thing" in films, on stage when singing. She was this striking personality who goes through the decades and despite the marks and passage of time she touchingly reminds audiences what memories used to be about. It is touching to see or hear Dietrich singing in the 1960s or 1970s. Even with her limited voice, with some whispers she makes people think of Berlin before the war, the "Blue Angel" (I am not crazy about this film), her contribution during the war, Lili Marlene etc.

From her films my favorite is the Billy Wilder "Witness for the prosecution" based on Agatha Christie and starring the great Charles Laughton. In that film she is absolutely marvellous in a "double" role. I also liked her in Lubitsch's "Angel", Borzage's "Desire" opposite Cooper and "Morocco" by Strenberg once again with Cooper. Not crazy though about "The scarlett empress" or "The Devil is A Woman" and "Blonde Venus" although I can understand that people watch these films and enjoy them for various reasons.

Yes, her remarks are often outrageous byt funny too. Poor Loretta Young. I do not know what got into Dietrich with Loretta Young.

I never considered her to be Garbo's "riva"l, although one can understand why people kept comparing them and trying to put one against the other (which is absurd since there is place for both of them and they are totally different both as actresses and personalities). I think what Dietrich loved above all was the cabaret, the idea of singing and seducing her audiences, this is whay she was always nostalgic about her Berlin years as a cabaret singer and the war years when she entertained the allied troops. Garbo would never go and seduce her admirers in person, she was this artist of genious whose's seduction and genious would touch the audience only when she performed a part and through the camera lens.

Share this post


Link to post

I think I know why Dietrich really was Garbo's only 'rival', as you point to it here:

I never considered her to be Garbo's "riva"l, although one can understand why people kept comparing them and trying to put one against the other (which is absurd since there is place for both of them and they are totally different both as actresses and personalities).
It's because, at least for me, Marlene never goes into that stratosphere of magic except when she sings--and then she does. Garbo doesn't inhabit the realm of singer at all, and never intended to, but that's why Dietrich can 'stand up to her' as a persona (though not really as an actress ever IMO). My Garbo-fan friend mentioned her singing in something, but I don't know what that was, nd he can't seem to remember, in any case she wasn't a singer. You're absolutely right that Dietrich is made for cabaret, and she was the master of it. And that is the one time where she is totally unlike anyone else, even with the well-known limited vocal range that you mention. It is marvelous the way she can make you forget everything else going on in a film like 'Foreign Affair' when she sings 'Black Market'. Her praise of the years of working with Burt Bacharach in the 50s are truly moving. I happen to adore 'Blue Angel, I think it's her best film, actually. She is good as an actress in 'Witness for the Prosecution' and also very fine in that exotic role in Welles's 'Touch of Evil', a masterpiece of a film. I also love 'Blonde Venus', no matter how silly some of the plot line, because her numbers are so full of life and humour, she's just one of those naturally funny people (which might be a liability as an actress, because she often comes across as camp.) I don't like, however, 'The Devil is a Woman' and 'The Scarlet Empress' is just ridiculous. Also like the two Cooper/Dietrich films you mentioned, as well as 'Shanghai Express' and when she sings in 'Destry Rides Again'. Mae West had another version of this, although hers was the surprise (as in 'Belle of New Orleans') when she starts singing, and it's so effortless, and you just weren't expecting it to be so good. You probably know the hilarious stories of Dietrich and Mae, as well as the one of Mae and Garbo, in which I believe Garbo stood silent almost the whole time while Mae talked about her career non-stop.

This is marvelous:

She was this striking personality who goes through the decades and despite the marks and passage of time she touchingly reminds audiences what memories used to be about.
'what memories used to be about...' ah yes, that is quite perfect, I'd like to have written that myself, do you mind if I plagiarize?

I like this also very much:

[Garbo] was this artist of genious whose's seduction and genious would touch the audience only when she performed a part and through the camera lens.
That explains it just a wee bit more vis-a-vis the necessity of film for her gifts than I've heard it said before, makes it truly singular. Deneuve has only made films (I was surprised when I read this) and her favourite actress is Marilyn Monroe, and it is interesting to think of how some actors and actresses are made purely for film. And in recent years, I've noticed that the bigger film stars of today don't usually succeed so well onstage--Julia Roberts, Julianne Moore, there are others I can't think of right now; Keith Carradine was marvelous in 'Will Rogers Follies' on B'way, but never quite made it to 'Major Star', part of which can be explained by his poorly executed British accent in 'The Bachelor' with Miranda Richardson; otherwise, I never could figure out why the momentum didn't keep going, because that's a real talent (he's even good in that Madonna 'Material Girl' music video--and one of his very best roles is relatively late: His big fist fight with Vanessa in 'Ballad of the Sad Cafe', a film usually disliked, but which I found very impressive, and Carradine is sensational in it.) Only Vanessa, who is primarily known as a film actress, is actually even greater when you finally do see her onstage--if I had to choose between Deneuve's film work and Vanessa's (as whole bodies of work, esp. including recent years), I'd definitely take Deneuve's, who has gotten better as she's aged. After what you said about Seyrig (and that I should have known), I wonder if her stage appearances were as great as her film work. But the perfect 'diagram' of her film luminosity is in 'La Peau d'Ane', in her scenes with Deneuve: In no catty way, she totally dominates the scenes as the Lilac Fairy; and it comes as little surprise that Deneuve, as charming as she is, doesn't resent this at all--it's clear she understands that Delphine was capable of a luminosity that she didn't even have to work for, and she's just dazzling as the Lilac Fairy in that charming film.

Barrault also had that luminosity, even if we know him only from 'Les Enfants du Paradis', even though he was primarily great for his stage acting. But Marie Casares, from the same film, we'd hardly know at all from it, and then we hear of her illustrious career at the Comedie Francaise (I believe it was that.)

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you so much for your kind words and all this insight about Dietrich, Deneuve, Delphine Seyrig etc.

With regards to "The Blue angel" to be more precise, although I am not crazy about the film (I think we can see it as a document for its time and Berlin at the end of the twenties) but it feels too dated now. But, on the other hand, Dietrich comes off a very lively earthy Fraulein as we have rarely seen her in her next films. And of course she is in her element, the cabaret, this is totally her.

About my little phrase feel free to use it whenever you like! Strange, I think I was watching an extract from a concert Marlene gave in the sixties in Paris and right before she sang Lili Marlene she was speaking with nostalgia about the difficult though courageous times during the war when she joined the allied forces to entertain the troops and you could feel that nostalgia in her voice when she spoke and when she sang "Lili Marlene". That is why I felt about "what memories used to be about".

Regarding having been born for the camera. In films the most evident choices from female stars would be Garbo and Marilyn I suppose. Garbo seemed to dream about going on stage but her great fame and fear of fans and the press prevented her from doing so. Since she did have a solid training at the Royal Dramatic School in Stockholm I think if circunstances were different she could have made it. Interestingly enough, one of the parts she acted (an extract) for her entrance at the Academy as a young girl was Ibsen's "Lady from the sea" (the other ones were "Madame sans gêne" by Sardou and a poem by Selma Lagerloff) one of Vanessa's great triumphs at the end of the 1970s. And I could totally see her in that part. But it has to remain a dream.

Vanessa you are right, one has to experience her on stage to really feel her greatness, although she has given us some extraordinary film performances. But besides her film work I would also add even more her TV work especially in "Playng for time" and "Second serve" where she plays Rene Richards and I find her in both parts truly extraordinary.

Interestingly enough, Deneuve when asked in interviews even today always says how she is afraid to face an audience and go on the stage. On the other hand, Deneuve did not have that theatrical training of other actresses, so I am not certain how she would be on stage.

Delphine Seying was considered quite extraordinary on stage, one of the greatest. And so was M%aria Casares especially in parts like Phèdre or Lady Macbeth. In "Les enfants du parais" she is sort of oveshadowed by the other performers (plus she has a thankless part) like the magnificent Arletty, and Jean Louis Barrault. She is much better cast in Jean Cocreau's Orphéee with Jean Marais and "Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne".

Share this post


Link to post

Moving on . . .

Ninotchka (Premiere: October 26, 1939)

Cast: Garbo (Ninotchka), Melvyn Douglas (Leon), Ina Claire (Grand Duchess Swana)

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Cinematographer: William Daniels

Gowns by: Adrian

Cost: $1,365,000 US Gross: $1,187,000 European Gross: $1,092,000

Ninotchka was Garbo's 24th picture for M-G-M and 14th talkie.

By 1939, Garbo found herself at a career impasse. The "heavy" historical and literary films she had been making since 1933 were popular with European audiences but had driven away much of her American audience. All concerned decided that the way forward was to lighten up Garbo's somber screen persona by sending-up the persona itself -- hence, Ninotchka.

I had very mixed feelings about this film and Garbo's performance in it. I think she is very strong in the first 50 minutes (prior to succumbing to the charms of Paris) and the last 15 minutes or so (when she convincingly conveys the frustration of living in a totalitarian state.) For someone who did not specialize in comedy, she displays very strong deadpan comic instincts in her scenes with Douglas, and appears to be enjoying herself immensely as she parodies her own humorless image.

Unfortunately, she does some of the flattest acting of her career in the middle portion of the film, with the "laughing scene" and the drunk scenes being particularly unconvincing. Her cause isn't helped by the fact that Adrian costumed her unflatteringly for the nightclub sequence, and her hair style is equally unflattering. At times, Garbo looks a good ten years older than her age.

Garbo was Oscar-nominated for this performance but lost -- rightly, in my view -- to Vivien Leigh for her performance as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind.

Melvyn Douglas overplayed his part terribly and, really, he never convinced me that he was any great prize to be had. The true star of the film (to my mind) is Ina Claire, who makes a meal of Garbo in both of their scenes together. Garbo sometimes had trouble holding her own against character actresses, as Marie Dressler proved in Anna Christie and Claire proves here. The Grand Duchess is supposed to be the stereotypical Hollywood heavy and yet, during her back-and-forth with Garbo, I actually found myself more sympathetic to her elucidation of what the White Russians had lost as a result of the Revolution than to Ninotchka's platitudes. (Platitudes that Ninotchka doesn't even believe by movie's end.)

There are some clever lines scattered across the movie ("I've admire your five-year-plan for fifty years!") but, overall, I found a certain strain showed -- everyone was trying a bit too hard to show how clever they were.

The print transfer is shockingly bad. For the "youngest" film in the box set, the quality is very disappointing. There is no commentary track.

Movie grade: B-

Garbo grade (first 50 minutes/last 15 minutes): B+

Garbo grade (middle 45 minutes): C+

Ina Claire grade: A

Coming soon: Final thoughts on Garbo!

Share this post


Link to post

As I have mentionned in an earlier post, it took me years to warm up to "Ninotschka". I remember the first time I watched it, I was a student in the US, I did not particularly liked it, did not find it funny and did not see what the fuss was about. But since then I have gradually changed my mind.

Although not one of my favorite Garbo films (and you know that I love all of her films), I do regard it (and many critics do as well) as a truly great film. Tyhe dialogues are absolutely brillian, witty and subtel and the same can be said about Lubitsch's masterful direction and the cast, from the camarades to Ina Clair as well as the two leads. I also think that this is a film which works on many levels: comedy, romantic comedy, satire of the stalinist regime and the capitalistic one, satire on the public Garbo persona (perceived as stern from the outside and then slowly breaking it up in order to reconstruct it. It also makes subtle fun of Garbo who at the time was following a strict vegetarian diet just before hshe met dietician Gaylord Hauser who was to become one of her closest firends and a steady influence in ehr lihealth life style. The scene at the parisian bistro where she asks the waitor" raw peas and carrots" and he answers "Madame this is a restaurant not a mellow" is very clever and funny indeed).

Her laughter at the restaurant although charming is not one of the strongest moments of the film, I think it lacks spontaneity unlike her most charming laugh in "Queen Christina" when she sees John Gilbert's carriage caught in the snow.

But Garbo quickly makes up for this in the subsequent scene, when she breaks into a soft, quiet laugh sayign to the laywers and camarades who watch ehr in disbelief: "The other day I heard such a funny story it still makes me laugh, it is so funny". She is utterly delightful in this. And when she goes to Dougals apartment she is pure magic (the way she enters that door with her shy look and then slowly melting down, thi is one of her finest scenes in the film).

The scene at the Café de Lutèce is beautifully done and the confrontation between the two women is masterfully done. Witty, brilliant dialogues, tough as well and then that total abandon to the pleasures of life and the champagne. Just before Garbo confronts the Grand Duchess she tastes champagne for the first time in her life. There is a wonderful spontaneity in her performance. She takes a sip, closes her eyes as she feels the alcohol, then opens her eys slowly and with a big smile like a happy kid she declares: 'Its good". Absolutely charming. The only thing which does not work with me in th scene is her gown, wrong choice by Adrian for once. But in general I think Garbo handles the drunk scene with wonderful authority (it is along scene and not an easy one, but she is always in command and when she makes a speech "Camarades people of the world..the rovolution is on the march" she is stunning.

The trip back to Moscow gives us some of the most emotional passages of the film and these are probably Garbo's best moments in the film as well.

I have to say that although I am not one of Melvyn Dougla's biggest fans in general but I find him absolutely charming and wonderfl in this film. Light, charming, funny, romantic. And he was wonderful as well in Garbo's next film and her final "Two Faced Woman".

I am not crazy about the musical remake of "Ninotschka" "Sil Stockings". I find Cyd Charisse colorless when speaking the role (although as always magnificent and sensual when dancing) and the musical numbers are few and not as satisfactory as they could have been.

The bottom line is I strongly urge people to see more than once the Garbo films. Speaking from experience I came to reevaluate most of her films after having seen them several times. There are a lot of subleties in her performances which one does not necessarily see the first time. And also strongly recommend, if ever you get a chance to see some of her other films unfortunately not included in the box set. From the silents "Woman of Affairs" (her greatest silent in my opinion) or "The kiss". Friom the talkies "The painted veil" (un unjustly forgotten film although Garbo is extraordinary in it and is marvellously accompanied by Herbert Marshall also one of her best film partners), "As you desire me", "Susan Lennox Her Fall and rise" (she is magical in this with Gable) "Two Faced Woman", "Conquest". "Conquest", "The single standard", "The kiss" and "Wild orchids" were released by the Warner Archices on DVD some time ago.

Also her first two important European films "The saga of Goesta Berling" by her mentor Mauritz Stiller and "Pabst's "The street of sorrow" were released on restored versions recently in beautiful prints on DVD.

Share this post


Link to post

Just a small parenthesis as we are discussing "Ninotschka". We have often brought up other actors and actresses either we tend to link with Garbo or that we admire or both. I always loved the Greek actress Melina Merkouri (best known perhaps from the film "Never on Sunday" by Jules Dassin (she is also known for "the 1955 Michael Cacoyannis film "Stella" and other Dassin films like "Topkapi" with Peter Ustinov and Maximilian Schell or "Phaidra" a modern dau version of the Greek tragedy with Anthony Perkins and her political activism against the Greek dictatorship regime at the end of the sixties and early seventies).

One of the other things Melina was known was her total passion with Garbo and it is always beautiful to hear her talk about the Divine. Here she is in a interview in 1979 and talks about meeting the Divine, this happened at the island of Spetses in Greece in 1967. I think it tells a lot of what Garbo represented to fellow actors and audiences as an actress, icon and personality, something that can never be repeated:

Share this post


Link to post