I agree that Garbo would not have made a good match for Hitchcock. She was too powerful a presence for most of his leading lady roles although she alone might have made "Marnie" watchable. (Garbo and Sean Connery - what a matchup.)
Dreiser describes something similar at the end of "Sister Carrie" about why Carrie becomes such a star, but I've always thought Garbo is the perfect example.
I think I see what you mean, sidwich, but I don't think Dreiser ever intended to suggest that Carrie became a star of Garbo's caliber (Carrie's not big enough for that.)
"Dated" can be in the eye of the beholder. As papeetepatrick says, all these movies are dated in a sense. The question is whether the culture has changed so much that the style, content, and perspective have become too remote for genuine audience identification (as is the case with many silent pictures and some from the golden age). The expensive prestige vehicles that Garbo made in the 30s tend to have less zip than many of the comedies and melodramas of the era, but her "Anna Karenina" is as decent an adaptation as we've seen and screen Annas have been compared to her unfavorably ever since, much as her Marguerite Gauthier became the standard for the role.
A stronger director with less tolerance of star antics might have been able to draw a better ensemble from her films.
If the players surrounding her were not always up to par she's not necessarily responsible for that, unless you count her loyalty to Gilbert at the time of Queen Christina
. She was often at her best when playing opposite actors who really gave her something to play against, as in her scenes with Barrymore in Grand Hotel
and Henry Daniell in Camille
. (It would have been nice if she'd nixed Robert Taylor, oh well.)
It works well, but there is a distancing effect.
Godhead is a distancing effect.
But when I first saw Camille
years ago in an art house revival, when Garbo died the audience snuffles were highly audible and some were barking like seals. miliosr has mentioned her expressive and fluid acting in her silent pictures. When sound arrived she became a different kind of presence but she was hardly Old Stone Face.
miliosr, where's the next report? Waiting eagerly.