Greta Garbo talar!The private life of Greta Garbo escapes the slightest scrutiny of Richard Corliss, the earliest acting done by Greta Gusta Gustafsson only intimated as biography by a still photograph from the film Peter and the Tramp. By his own admission, Corliss only writes about the films Greta Garbo appeared in, as one of us, her many spectators, and keeps in front of the screen as a moviegoer in a theater. Referred to as peerless by Time Magazine, Corliss nevertheless acknowledges writes of biography as acquaintances that were brought to him though the study of actress Greta Garbo, among them being Ray Durgnant, Andrew Sarris and Molly Haskell, added to which are the names John Bainbridge, Kevin Brownlow, Pauline Kael and Norman Zierold that appear in his bibliography, which also attempts to add Parker Tyler, Georges Sadoul and Bosley Crowther. Nancy Gibbs, editor of Time Magazine reported the death of film critic Richard Corliss during the middle of 2015. These are the film's of Greta Garbo reviewed by Corliss, editor of Film Comment, for their value as films along with the interest in them and in the Greta Garbo that helped create them that was left unevaluated by the prolific film reviewer.
In the "First Interview She has Granted to any Magazine in Months", Greta Garbo in "The Swedish Sphinx Speaks" broke "her long silence" about when she would exit the silent film era, interviewed by Raplph Wheelwright in Screenland Magazine during 1929. "'I hated talking pictures when they first came out,' said Greta, stimulating a shudders guesture by way of adding emphasis to her words. 'They screeched and scratched. They were neither of the stage nor screen. Just monstrous nightmares. I thought to myself, I I have to appear in anything like that I ought to go home to Sweden and stay there. ugh! Now-' and Greta threw back her head and laughed. I am bored to death when I see a silent picture. It seems that something is lacking: life is gone when the players fail to speak their lines."
In the article Greta Garbo discussed there having had been being rapid technological developments in sound film while she had been in Sweden and mentioned her ability to fluently speak English, perhaps with little no Swedish accent. Not yet entirely completely refusing to be seen or quoted in public, she continued, "The public likes or dislikes a player solely upon what it sees of the player on the screen. I do not think a star's private life exposed in intimate detail serves any purpose than to satisfy curiosity. I am just a human being like anyone else. I resent prying into my personal affairs just as much as anyone in any other station or position rightfully resists similar intrusions.'" It was a monthly issue in which Helen Ludlam had introduced The New John Gilbert and Fashion Editor Adrain had introduced himself, authoring an article that was accompanied by one of his sketches and a photograph of himself with Greta Garbo taken three years earlier.
"Greta Garbo portrays the torments of love, but little else" was one photcaption that had accompanied Greta Garbo through the pages of fan magazines during 1930, specifically Picture Play Magazine, that had pages earlier praised sound film for having improved John Gilbert's image as a lover. Although correctly referred to a a hold-out for M.G.M, along with Lon Chaney, by author Richard Corliss, by then Greta Garbo by all accounts had made three sound tests, one from a monologue from Goethe's Faust, one a selection from Peer Gynt delivered in Swedish, and the other from Shakespeare's Hamlet, as Ophelia, the speech delivered in English. Norbert Lusk of Picture Play magazine was the film critic author Richard Corliss chose while deciding whom to select to relate the phenomenon of "The Voice: Greta Garbo's Sound films". To look at the article further and expand Corliss's quote, Lusk, who had serialized the photo plays of two reelers into fictional magazine adaptations, merely becomes perplexed by the baritone of Greta Garbo as the mystery of the Swedish Sphinx was to become more enigmatic and reach higher into the firmament reclusively. Significantly, or more significantly than is often viewed, by July of 1930, Talking Screen magazine has been added to the newsstand extra textual discourse. It read, "Gridley has fired. The Sphinx speaks! Greta Garbo has made a talkie. And the great myth of the movies- the legend of Hollywood- has received another tremendous impetus that will mean millions to M.G.M and it's sequestered Swede....according to director Clarence Brown...List to the oracle: 'I consider Greta Garbo one of the three Greta actresses the world has known, Bernhardt, Duse, and now Garbo.'" Author Herbert Cruikshank continued with his article Garbo Myth of the Movies More Amazing Than All the Mystery Stuff Is the Truth-Presented Herewith-Concerning Greta'" If not typical of the sentiment of the new adventure with sound, Talking Picture Magazine also went into publication as a proponent of the new moving, and talking, picture.
"Greta Garbo will have Charles Bickford as leading man in Clarence Brown's production of Anna Christie for M.G.M. and not John Gilbert as was first reported." After announcing the coming of a new Greta Garbo film, Motion Picture News printed an extensive series of advertisements by Metro Goldwyn Mayer on the new season of film. "Greta Garbo will appear in two all talking and one silent picture" appeared above the full page advertisement in Motion Picture News paid for by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. It ran below, "Greta Garbo in Anna Christie. Her first All-Talking picture! There's a title that will blaze mightily from marquees all over this broad land in the coming season. Greta Garbo, the divine beauty talking to her vast public!..In addition to the All-Talking picture Anna Christie, Greta Garbo will appear in a second All-Talking Drama, title shortly to be announced. This second speaking role for Miss Garbo is a vividly colorful characterization uniquely suited for her extraordinary beauty and talents. It will also be a silent production." "Garbo talar!!" was the title decided upon for the webpage authored by Louise Lagerstrom of the Swedish Film Institute. If it does seem more post-climatic than anti-climatic, actor John Barrymore had literally tried it first in an earlier film with synchronization, Pickford and Fairbanks both leaving their individual projects to co-star together shortly thereafter; Picture Play magazine speculated, "The Garbo Voice. What will it sound like? The Whole World waits to her the Swedish enchantress for the first time in Anna Christie." And yet, while audiences were waiting not all movie theaters were available for sound film and M.G.M divided their advertisement into a "Summary 16 Pictures Available for Theatres Without Installation: Greta Garbo, the flaming orchid whose seductive personality has made her an audience draw will appear in one silent picture, title of which is to be announced." While John Gilbert was scheduled to appear in his first sound picture Olympia, "Olympia:Title to Be Changed", Redemption, an adaptation of Tolstoy was being advertised as "A Fred Niblo Production, Screenplay by Dorothy Farnum". Before continuing to its advertisement of films "For Wired Houses", it included, "Lon Chaney in three thrilling silent pictures, the first Bugle Sounds. Titles of two more Lon Chaney silent pictures to be announced." Early during 1929, M.G.M. advertised Greta Garbo in Wild Orchids, "Sound or Silent", her having been assigned to "the most gripping story she's ever appeared in", and John Gilbert in Thirst "Equipped for Silent or Sound". Fred Niblo, introduced by a photo of Dorothy Sebastian in front of a microphone while filming one of her "new style scree tests, one for voice and one for photographic qualities", was attributed with having written the articles Crashing the Soundgates for Screenland magazine during 1929. The silent film director Niblo, noted in the photcaption for having directed Ben Hur, wrote, "Breaking into the talkie racket raises the ratio two thousand to one." Beneath them was a septagonal portrait of Greta Garbo Motion Picture News reported in July of 1929 that Greta Garbo was in rehearsals for Anna Christie, "her first talker". Picture Play magazine awaited the film, "At the very height of the talkie excitement, M.G.M. risked Garbo in an all silent picture in The Single Standard. It was a hit. Following her experiment in dialogue with Anna Christie, she may return to the silent fold, and I for one will not mourn. Garbo is a shadow. She suggests mystery, a mystery that has been in silence. What then will the spoken, tangible thought have to do with this peculiar appear? An out of character voice will ruin Garbo. She must speak as she looks- soft, alluring, and yet with a huskiness which her sophistication suggests...Always a good actress, Lilyan Tashman's throaty contralto has increased her prestige and emphasized her individuality. The talkie has given Conrad Nagel a new lease on popularity."
In 1930, Katherine Albert penned the article Is Jack Gilbert Through for Photoplay Magazine. She outlined Jack Gilbert's power of script approval, notifying audiences that his first sound film, Redemption had been "shelved by the studio." and that she wondered if it would ever be shown in theaters. The article reviewed his performance as having been "nervous", "too highkeyed and "sel-conscious". In the same issue, Photoplay released stills from Anna Christie, "This Clarence Brown filming of the O'Neil play for M.G.M. is eagerly awaited by Garbo fans everywhere. Garbo's first talkie is bound to be one of the sensations of the next few months."
Greta Garbo eludes, Greta Garbo evades"There are many things in your heart you can never tell a person. They are you. Your joys and sorrows- and you can never, never tell them. It is not right that you should tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself when you tell them."
Silent Film actress Greta GarboWhile waiting for the release of Anna Christie (Brown/Feyder, 1930), Picture Play magazine included a portrait of Greta Garbo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull. Edwin Shallelert wrote, "Greta Garbo has gone to the extreme when exacting it within the studio itself...Greta Garbo has pursued the same phantom. The ordinary news gatherer, and the majority of the extraordinary, are not permitted on her set. It is told that once even some of her countrymen of the press came to visit and were ritzed, or felt they were." New Movie magazine devoted a page to Greta Garbo's first sound film, "Elsewhere in this issue Herbert Howe refers to Greta Garbo as the Hollywood Sphinx. But the Sphinx speaks in her next Metro Goldwyn picture, a new talkie version of Eugene O'Neil's Anna Christie once done by Blanche Sweet. Clarence Brown is introducing the Swedish Star to the microphone." The magazine also featured a portrait of Garbo dressed for tennis captioned, "The exotic Swedish star plays a great game of tennis. This isn't a posed sport picture. It's the real thing." Motion Picture News reviewed the film during 1929, "Her work is a sensation. Garbo has an exceptional talking voice, recording with a rich mellowness that exactly conveys her personality. A fine delivery of lines coupled with a splendid performance classes her among the finest of dramatic actresses...Clarence brown handled his direction with a deft hand that sustains the fullest interest in dramatic movement. His work is superb and the individual characterizations are particularly fine, with a small cast of four principals presenting sterling performances." It added, "Just as audiences repeat for Garbo in silent form, it is predicted the will do the same in her talker productions." "She was not pleased with the Anna Christie, writes John Bainbridge about a film that Garbo had first seen in the company of director Jacques Feyder and Wilhelm Sorensen, "'Isn't it terrible?' she whispered to them time and again as the picture unfolded. 'Whoever saw Swedes act like that?'" Although she apparently left early during the screening she visited actress Marie Dressler the following day with Chrysanthemums. Sorensen, after appearing in the refilming reversed their position, or emotion rather, "Garbo thinks this is one of the best pictures she has ever made, and she gives most of the credit to Jacques Feyder." Greta Garbo had worked out dialogue changes with the director during her second filming of Anna Christie. The character played by Dressler would in the second film be reenacted by Salka Viertel, who became, along with Mercedes de Acosta, one of Greta Garbo's more devoted companions during the period of early sound film, Feyder having returned to Europe after making the film, as had Hanson and Sjostrom. Garbo, who without entirely disappearing as though mysteriously, purportedly was travelling under the name of Gussie Berger, would infrequently be seen with Lilyan Tashman. After retiring from film, Garbo would later register at hotels as Mrs Harriet Brown. The magazine Hollywood Filmograph traced the early stardom of the entrance of Greta Garbo into sound film during 1930. It reported, "Niblo had planned to film Red Dust with Greta Garbo, but Romance was put on schedule ahead of this, so he will direct the Haines picture first, then Red Dust, according to present plans." It followed with the heading "Garbo in a new talkie", which read, "Forsaking the Swedish accent of Anna Christie for Italian dialect and garbed in crinolines in place of sweaters and oilskins, Greta Garbo has started work on her second talking picture. Romance, an adaptation of the famous stageplay...Clarence Brown, who filmed Garbo's first talkie for Metro Goldwyn Mayer, is directing." Hollywood Filmograph then alluded to Garbo's then next film, "Greta Garbo will be seen in at least three productions during the coming season, the first of which will be Red Dust. This is based on William Collison's story and presents the magnetic Swedish star as a Parisian." It later reported, "Fred Niblo, having just completed directing Easy Going starring William Haines at M.G.M., is right now preparing to direct Greta Garbo in her next story Red River which Fred De Grease is writing and adapting for the screen." Motion Picture News during 1930 echoed with a similar report on Red Dust, "M.G.M is preparing Red River as Greta Garbo's next talker following her current picture Romance. Fred Niblo is to direct upon finishing Easy Going. Red River is an original by Fred De Greasac and was formally known as Red Dust." With this was also, "M.G.M switches Niblo from Red Dust to Haines film- Fred Noblo will direct William Haines in the latter's next film for M.G.M, N original titled Easy Going...Niblo was originally scheduled to direct Red Dust with an all star cast but this has been postponed to follow the Haines picture so that Greta Garbo can take the starring assignment in Red Dust." The magazine later reverted to the title having had been being Red Dust and it having been based on a story by Wilson Collison, but it also carried an advertisement from M.G.M. itself, which read, "Greta Garbo in Red Dust" which claimed it would be Greta Garbo's third sound film. "The most unusual part she has ever played. On a Chinese rubber plantation her past in Paris is forgotten- gorgeous Greta Garbo gives the talking screen a performance such as you've never witnessed. This stageplay by Wilson Collison has the power of Sadie Thompson. It's going to be one of the year's greatest." The New Movie Magazine during 1930 looked at Garbo in regard to fashion. "The glamorous Garbo, away from the studio, affects dull tweeds and flat heel shoes. No expensive wardrobe for Miss Garbo. Yet she is Hollywood's most lavish purchaser of lovely lingerie. She spends thousands every year on fancy underthings. Above the photo of Garbo was a caption reading, "Spend between $5,000 and $25,000 on clothes." It continued pages later, "For evening Garbo is magnificent...She goes so little to social functions that one can do little speculating as to the number of outfits shew has, but the writer has seen a magnificent ermine wrap, with white fox trimming and several elaborate white satin, white lace, white chiffon, and white moiree gowns that could not cost less than three hundred dollars a piece." Within months the magazine added, "She wore a tan beret and a tan overcoat with a high collar and a pair of horn rimmed glasses. As time goes on the great Garbo seems to become more and more like a hermit." Another item read, "Greta Garbo loves spaghetti and never eats in the studio lunch room. Three years later the magazine interviewed the make-up girl at M.G.M., Lillian Rosini, "Greta Garbo has never used anything but the thinnest dusting of flesh-coloured powder, rather pinkish, and pale lip-rouge; nothing on her eyes at all. And by they way if I get anymore letters asking me if Garbo's eyelashes are artificial, I'll scream...I've been making her up for nine years...I ought to know her lashes are real.
Advertisements sent by M.G.M. itself to Motion Picture News during 1930 relied upon the theme expressed on the cover of Exhibitors herald World, which almost comicly announced, "Greta Garbo talks again in Romance. Its her greatest"; after acknowledging the fame that Garbo had acquired by returning to the screen in a sound film, it depended on the recognition of her as an investment and it was discernably giving her press of its own, "Already the word comes out of Hollywood that Miss Garbo's new Talking picture Romance is destined to overshadow Anna Christie by far. There's no figure in all studioland whose screen activities are of such widespread interest. Long before a Greta Garbo attraction reaches the screen the magazines of the nation are heralding its approach, the public is breathless with anticipation. Its nice to have a Greta Garbo under contract to your theater. In 1930-31, the first of her three vehicles will Red Dust." Motion Picture Classic during 1930 noted in "Garbo at her best" that "It is probable that her latest and greatest photoplay, Romance marks the zenith of Greta Garbo's career. Garbo plumbs new dramatic depths. She adds new charm to her attractions, and is very much the star of the production...The selection of Gavin Gordon is less fortunate, but the shadow of the great Garbo softens the glare of his defects." Directed by Clarence Brown, the screenplay to the film was written by Bess Meredyth and Edwin Justus Mayer. Richard Corliss saw "recognizable curtain lines" that were to almost harken back to the proscenium arc of "filmed theater" during the cinema of attractions, deeming the blocking of the film playlike, "It was as if Clarence Brown, the admirable technician, had died with the coming of sound, and most of his later films were directed not by his spirit, but by his shade. The result is a feature-length series of static two shots, of statuesque poses instead of felt guestures." The portrait of Greta Garbo in costume from the set of Romance published in Motion Picture magazine was photographed by George Hurrell. Adela Rogers St. Johns, writing in New Movie magazine gave a portrait of Greta Garbo that veers from her being a recluse in The Heart of Garbo, How the Plight of her Leading Man Touched the Sympathies of the Star Who Walks Alone, Gavin Gordon went to Hollywood because he found out that Garbo lived and made pictures in the distant land of which he had heard so much." A still of them in the film Romance accompanies the article with the explanation of how Garbo insisted that he be in the cast and that she sent him roses, it quoting the actor, "'And she helped me through those scenes so wonderfully.' he said,'She didn't think of herself and how it would be for her. She was so kindly, she always made it possible for me to do each scene.'"
|Faith Service, who had for more than a decade been writing about silent film and adapting photo-plays into magazine short-stories, printed the article "Garbo Never Sleeps- This is Her Tragedy- The Real Explanation of her strange life and her Broken Romance." Interesting to read, it contains what seems to initially be a plausible theory that begins to explain the mystery of Greta Garbo with, "The reason why she does what she does, the reason why she doesn't do the things other people do, the reason for her famous eccentricities and hermit-like existence, her lack of response to a social life, her lack of response to eager lovers is this- Garbo is an insomniac. She never sleeps." The article claimed that Mauritz Stiller had experienced bouts of sleeplessness before his death and go back and forth between rooms before finding a suitable bed, and that Garbo too had had mild instances on occaision that she was now using "constant sunbaths" and "endless walks up and down the beach" to preempt. It continued that John Gilbert's heart was still broken- "Garbo, too tired to love." Motion Picture Classic magazine during 1930 instructed, "To locate Greta Garbo, take out your binoculars and study the sun. Discover the hottest ray, locate where it strikes Hollywood and with the aid of a compass seek the spot. There you will find the mysterious one sunbathing. She never misses, so you will not have wasted a minute." New Movie Magazine during 1931 reported, "Greta Garbo seems to be emerging from her mysterious seclusion. She gave Malibu quite a thrill lately when she came down and spent a whole afternoon on the beach with friends." Journalist Cary Wilson later gave a portrait of the Greta Garbo he had met in Photoplay during 1936 claiming that he referred to her as "Fleck", which was short for "Svenskaflecka" and that he had first been introduced to her when she was standing on her head; she had been playing tennis which was then in turn followed by an hour's swimming and then another hour of hiking, "she still contained so much physical exuberance that standing on her head, on a sofa pillow, seemed to be the simple and desirable thing to do." Garbo had been winning at tennis after only having been playing for seventeen days. The extra-textural discourse depicting the off screen activities of motion picture actors, and sometimes directors, and more than often not the enigmatic ghostlike swirlings of the Swedish Sphix, Greta Garbo, who was by then established as the most reclusive actress in Hollwood, included an announcement during 1932 in the magazine Hollywood Filmograph, "Humphrey Pierson, one of Hollywood's best known writers was signed today by Joseph I Schnitzer and Samuel Schnitzner to do the adaptation and screenplay of "Greta, the Great", which is said to be based upon the life of Garbo." Earlier it had reported, "A number of feminine stars in Hollywood are said to be worried for fear that their private lives will soon be public since it has been revealed that Rilla Page Palmborg, author of the sensational 'Private life of Greta Garbo' is at work on a second book. It is not known whether or not this book will be a 'private life' although the book is said to concern Hollywood." Close Up magazine during 1932 also reviewed the biography, "But Rilla Page Palmborg in The Private Life of Greta Garbo got dope from Garbo's private servants. For the first time one learned that Garbo buys all the fan magazines and asks for her money back if there is nothing in them about herself. For the first time one learns that Garbo's favorite breakfast is grape fruit, creamed dried chipped beef, fried potatoes, an egg, home made coffee cake and coffee." Biographer John Bainbridge goes so far as to quote Gustaf and Sigrid Norin and after giving a similar account of Garbo reading, and returning fan magazines adds to that her bringing her lunch to the studio in a brown paper bag. "She also made a point of seeing every film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and Eric von Stroheim- in her opinion two of the most gifted directors in Hollywood. She usually saw her own pictures two or three times, on different occaisions." To the account is added that she avoided beauty shops and that she rinsed her hair after shampooing with camomile tea, which the housekeeper brewed from camomile seeds. Although Adrian had visited the house and had arranged its living room furniture and decorated its interior, the butler is quoted as having remarked that Garbo was apathetic about it and the making of purchases for it. During the filming of Sign of the Cross, Movie Classic quoted the film's director, without him expressing any further interest in the mysterious Garbo, and yet there is an allusion to the seductive roles that she was trying to ascend in his typifying her as a woman that could gain power through sensuality, "'The most voluptuous-looking woman in Hollywood,' adds DeMille. "is Greta Garbo. She has true voluptuousness- not of body, but of mind.'". To end the silent era, two months before Greta Garbo's last silent film, The Kiss (Feyder, 1929), Clarence Sinclair Bull became the gallery photographer of Greta Garbo, photographing her through several years, only in costume and only on the (closed) set. Author Mark A Vieira writes, "She liked him because, like Clarence Brown, he spoke softly, if at all." In an e-mailed correspondence with the present author, Mr. Vieira sent still photographs scanned from their original negatives in two seperate letters, their having been mostly left over and unused from the editorial decisions during the publication of his biography Greta Garbo, A Cinematic Legacy. One of the portraits taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull, as the reader will notice, is the one used on the cover of Mr. Vieira's biography without the publisher's title lettering. Vieira, who was an apprentice of Clarence Sinclair Bull, quotes Greta Garbo, "As she said, 'I had it all my own way and did it in my own fashion.' This is what ended her career and what makes her cinematic legacy the exquisite thing that it is."|
|One portrait of Greta Garbo included in the Estate of Greta Garbo auction was a gelatin silver print on double-weight matte paper with Clarence Sinclair Bull's blind stamp from the film Susan Lennox Her Rise and Fall. Motion Picture Magazine during the release of Susan Lennox Her Rise and Fall was explicit, perhaps perfunctory, in its publishing a portrait of Greta Garbo by Clarence Sinclair Bull with the caption, "The One- and Only" Underneath read, "There's only one gown in the world like this, just as there is only one Greta Garbo. It was designed by Adrian. An exquisite portrait of Greta Garbo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull appeared in Modern Screen Magazine in 1931 with the caption, "Although almost everyone in Hollywood knows where Greta Garbo lives, the swedish star hasn't moved for some time. Perhaps she's getting used to inquisitive fans peering through the hedges. She takes long hikes everyday and is usually accompanied by a woman companion." 1932 saw the article Garbo is like Lindbergh, written by R. Fernstrom and published in New Movie Magazine."Garbo is like Lindbergh. They act alike toward publicity.They shy away from reporters. Garbo is like the King of Sweden in many ways- kind, but aloof to everyone."|
| It is a gendered spectatorship that places Garbo as a Cleopatra, who, as an alluring Queen, is looking at wealth as an abstraction in that to her it is aphrodisiac, her displaying herself as desirable admidst a backdrop of opulence; to know the secrets of her body is to be allowed by her within the solitude of grandeur. After Victor Sjostrom had returned to Sweden, Robert Herring, writing in Close Up magazine on Uno Henning in En Natt, a classic early Swedish sound film directed by Gustaf Molander, abruptly interrupted his essay to enter into a legnthy discourse on Greta Garbo, it being glaring that the section on Garbo is displaced in the essay, as if by overenthusiasm, to where he compares Garbo to Bridgette Helm only to stall with more on Greta Garbo before returning to Molander's film, "For with Garbo, too, there is the same sense of being linked to something more than one's personal life. Of carrying on and of being carried. Garbo in love, uses her lover as a means of reaching that land, that mood, that peace she requires. That is what is so difficult for her leading men, and so hard to find scenarios in which her leading man can continued to be wooed...Garbo has never lost this, this restless quiet..It is what makes her sometimes tired, which the movies try to turn into langorousness; it is what makes her dynamic, determined...Garbo astonishes people by being alternatively strangely careless and suddenly precise, right and assured." Film Daily reviewed the film Inspiration, "Greta Garbo dominates every situation and is the Garbo the fans want....Miss Garbo brings to the screen all the great possibilities of her talents with a combination of heart-gripping emotion and carefree indifference." With the superlative photography of Clarence Sinclair Bull, Greta Garbo inherited Photoplay Magazine journalist Katherine Albert, who summarized her writing during 1931 by herself paraphrasing her, "I'm bored with Garbo.", her looking at and foreward to the sensation differently with the articles Did Brown and Garbo Fight and Exploding the Garbo Myth, the former concerned with "the carefully guarded walled in stage where Garbo was starring in Inspiration, the latter making an event of Greta Garbo objecting to a line of dialouge on the set of the film Romance, including a photocaption which read, "the writer, who knows hers says there is not mystery about Greta Garbo". After explaining how successful artisticlly the work of Clarence Brown and Greta Garbo had been it asks what happenned during the filming of Inspiration, "The piece is an adaptation of Sappho. The book is now old fashioned. So is the play. A new script had to be written and neither Garbo nor Brown were entirely satisfied, but there was nothing to do but experiment on the set and see how it read. In order to get anything out of it, they must rehearse and rehearse and change and change. That's where the trouble began. Garbo would not rehearse." Photoplay reviewed the release of the film The Rise and Fall of Susan Lennox, "If you like your romance thick, your passion strong and your Garbo hot, don't miss this...M.G.M. stuck closely to the tale, modernizing it of course, and adding a trick ending. Garbo does her utmost with the tile role, natural for her." Although the announcement may seem odd to this century, The New Movie Magazine in 1931 had reported, "King Vidor has selected Ernest Torreace for one of the important roles in The Rise and Fall of Susan Lennox, Greta Garbo's current picture." During 1932 it was well within the knowledge of "all the more studious Garbo fanatics" (Picture Play) that Greta Garbo was on the screen with Clark Gable, Their attraction to each other is understandable, their antagonism predestined, and their desperate reunion at the end of the picture holds no hope of tranquility." Picture Play thought highly of Greta Garbo adding, "Nor does she triumph in spite of her picture. it is a story entirely worthy of her." Richard Corliss includes Mata Hari with those films in which Greta Garbo's performance had been reviewed as "intentionally, or perhaps artisticly, lethargic". "M.G.M. had put Garbo through so many variations on the beautiful spider falling in love with the idealistic fly that the actress could have performed this part in her sleep- and more than one critic accused her of doing just that." During 1932 Regina Cannon directly quoted Ramon Novarro in New Movie Magazine in The Most Eligible Couple Will Never Marry, "Garbo is my ideal woman, but I shall never marry." The "startling frank article continued, "No other woman has impressed me so much; not even Barbara La Marr. Greta is everything that man desires. She has beauty, lure, mystery and aloofness that only men understand, for it is a quality which is usually to be found only in men. It is not coldness either. It is emotion." Journalist Ralph Wheelridge chronicled the making of Mata Hari for Photoplay magazine, "Announcements of the co-starring assignnment for Mata Hari sounded signal guns for rumors, conjecture and prognostication of all description. Those who have seen Miss Garbo about the lot during the making of the picture commented upon the gorgeousness of her costume and her unruffled contentment." The author mentions that her co-star had only met Greta Garbo socially on one or two occaisions, "On her dressing room table that morning Garbo found a huge mound of pink roses." He had sent a card reading, "I hope that the world will be as thrilled to see Mata Hari as I am to work with her- Ramon Novarro." Ben Maddox announced during the middle of his article Garbo and Novarro Together, Has Garbo found her Perfect Screen Lover at Last published in Screenland Magazine that he "had a long talk with Ramon during the making of Mata Hari. Ostensibly, little of it was about Greta Garbo, his quoting Novarro as having said, "Popularity is fleeting. So why should I be dazzled with a material success that is bound to end...However, I was delighted to do Mata Hari, it gives me an excellant role, one for which I am fitted. To me, the play is the thing. I like the co-starring plan. When one person alone is featured, the story is distorted to stress one character. And as a result the picture cannot be dramaticly effective..After thirty something happens to you. You get a more serious outlook on life."
Scott Higgins, currently. Professor of Film at Wesleyean University and recently the editor of Arnheim for Film and Media draws a portrait of Arnheim as an outdated, archaic formalist lacking vision, but notes that the author, a proponent of the visual as the basis of aesthetic theory, maintained that "an action can gain expressive power through 'indirect representation'. This may be in part evident in Arnheim's 1934 piece on Motion, "When in Grand Hotel Greta Garbo walked through the lobby with a springy, dynamic gait, she produced not only the most beautiful moment of the film, but also the most telling characterization of the dancer, whose part she was playing. Sr risk of doing an injustice to the most animated face in the history of film art, it may be said that Greta Garbo could give equally strong expression to the human soul by the rhythm of her gait, which depending on the Occaisionalism was victorious Nd energetic, transfigured, or tied, broken anxious and feeble."
Richard Corliss describes the work of Greta Garbo with director George Fitzmaurice, "As You Desire Me begins with a fascinating premise, and reworks a Pirandello play that seems intriguingly relevant to the creation of Garbo the star. indeed the film has everything going for it but good writing, acting and directing. Gor most of the film, Garbo looks as if she's simply finishing out her five year contract." Photoplay Magazine gave an eerie, perhaps unsettling, review of the film, " 'This may be the last Garbo picture you see' but at this moment she will not make any more now...if ever...And Garbo has never been more marvelous....The love scenes between Douglas and Garbo are the high points of the film and they Re almost equal to the ones played so long ago by Gilbert and Garbo. if this must be her last picture, we are glad it is such a fitting swan song. And you don't need us to tell you not to miss the film."
Film Daily tersely, perhaps succinctly, announced during 1932, "Greta Garbo, who gets more publicity by trying to avoid it, is reported due today with intentions of sailing on the liner Grispholm for Sweden. At the M.G.M. home office yesterday, nobody had any idea as to the whereabouts of the Glamorous Greta." It followed later with. "Greta Garbo wearing horn-rimmed spectacles and accompanied by the Countess Wactmeister has been reported in Paris for the last week shopping. She is expected to return to Stockholm this week. Hollywood Filmograph during 1932 chronicled that, "Greta Garbo, while in Djuisholm, Sweden, refused to see American reporters. But the door was opened to Rene Kraus, German writer. Greta told Mr. Kraus that she would not be back in Hollywood for two years. That Maurice Stiller had not left her any money. That she had not played a part in Ivar Kruger's life. That she was only a friend to Newspaperman Sorensen. That she had no intention of getting married." The magazine later continued, "WILL GARBO RETURN seems to be a much mooted question with the executives as well as the fans debating the question since the Swedish star left our shores, but she's still elusive." Movie Classic in 1932 reported that the United States was on tenterhooks as Greta Garbo neared the shores of Sweden, "She permitted a young American poet, named Philip Cummings to share her society- and even to laugh with her. And when her boat docked at Gothenburg, she was so excited that she actually summoned reporters to her! She told them- with a smile- that she was not afraid of reporters...but that she was tired of being written about so much. She added that she was not returning to America in the near future...She said she could tell no one her future plans." Movie Classic reported that while talking to reporters Garbo had to admit to the eventuality of her returning to the Hollywood screen. John Bainbridge gives an account of the events around Greta Garbo and her having departed for Sweden for an entirety of eight months. "Besides arranging to have her name omitted from the ships passenger list, she quietly slipped aboard the liner the night before it sailed. She had spent a period of weeks on an island swimming and sunbathing before returning to Stockholm, where she was visited by Mercedes de Acosta. She had read a biography of on encouragement of Salka Viertel about the throne of Sweden and of one who, during her reign, her "distaste of marriage was profound, she had swarms of lovers...she rewarded her favorites lavishly with money, land and titles...She also gave away half the crown lands." Garbo read the completed script to Queen Christina written Viertel and a colleague, it being made a stipulation of the renewal of her contract. She was met by Viertel on her return to the United States. Nearing the end of 1933, Hollywood Filmograph reported. "The famous Lola Montez- will be the next character that Greta Garbo will try as M.G.M have bought a story of the dashing Lola that vamped The King of Bavaria. The title of the story Heavenly Sinner, which has a glamorous, picturesque background and should exactly fit the mysterious one. That year the periodical published Looking through the Telescope, by Lal Chand Mehra, which outlined filmic spectatorship as being concerned with "the channels of the mystery of knowledge" and that the spectator remained distant and aloof so as to mystify the view, "Greta Garbo's greatest appeal in my humble opinion lies in the fact that this consummate actress always leaves an air of mystery about her. Even though she has portrayed ordinary human characters in all her pictures, she has carried an aloofness that the audiences never understand. This very distance has made Miss Garbo an attractive character...Her human portrayals are mystically beautiful. This question is- what can she do in a real mystic part?" Rilla Page Palmborg, the journalist, who has on several occaisions been credited with having created the initial "Mysterious Stranger" image of Greta Garbo in regard to the interpretations of Greta Garbo's personal life and how they were or were not neccesarily translated on to the screen, returned to Photoplay in 1933 to write the article "Now Its $12,500 a week", the title coming from Garbo's apparently wondering if there would be an early retirement she would enter and if he current salary would compensate for her being neglected, "However that may be, Garbo is now busy with her friend, Mrs. Berthold Viertel, wife of the German motion picture director, hunting a house and otherwise getting established. Metro is humming with excitement- and these matters stand untill the next development." Garbo had returned from Sweden and "She didn't know whether she'd care to make pictures next year." To begin 1934, in Hollywood Reporter it was reported that, "M.G.M has quietly shelved The Paradine Case by Robert Hichens. Story was wrangled over as a possible vehicle for Greta Garbo, but no go, owing to a character problem that could not be cracked, to which it within months added, "M.G.M. cannot make up its mind as to the cast decisions for Indo-China, originally scheduling it under Bernie Hyman's wing for Constance Bennet, but now giving it serious consideration as possible Greta Garbo vehicle."
New Movie Magazine anticipated the release of Queen Christina in Advanced News of Films in the making, "The Garbo set, as usual, was closed to all but the people actually working on it...Miss Garbo's schedule during production never varies a minute. You could set your watch by the entrance of her limousine through the front gates each morning at seven forty five. She spends an hour studying her lines and being made up. At nine o'clock on the dot she arrives on the set. At nine thirty, the first scene rehearsed or made, she disappeares into her portable dressing room and has fruit juice and tea, her breakfast" New Movie went on to outline the rest of her predictable day of shooting. During 1934, Photoplay succinctly encapsulated the onscreen Greta Garbo, "in Queen Christina, Greta Garbo and John Gilbert have a rendezvous in an inn. To Christina, all the inanimate things in their chummy room become very dear, due to their association with her romance. One sequence consists of Garbo hovering about the room, caressing various objects while Gilbert watches silently. She takes her time too." The caption of a portrait of Greta Garbo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull published in Photoplay during 1934 read, "Greta Garbo as Queen Christina is impressively beautiful." In Three Weeks with Garbo, published in 1936, Leon Surmelian began with, "After twelve years of entertaining the public as the screen's No 1 glamour gal, my and your weakness, the incomparable Garbo remains the same elusive shadow, the same lovely enigma to the world that worships her at her feet...It was during the filming of the memorable Queen Chistina when Katerine Hepburn tried to crash Garbo's stage as an extra and failed where I succeeded. And now I will give you an intimate closeup of the Swedish Sphinx out of my won personal observations." It reviewed the film, "The magnificient Greta, after an abscence of over a year, makes a glorious reappearance on the screen...on the whole, Rouben Mammoulian's direction is admirable; S.J. Behrman's dialouge is scintillating; settings and costumes are rich." Tucked away in a secluded corner of a 1933-4 issue of Cinema Quarterly is a review of Queen Christina written by Paul Rotha. "I do not find it in me to write about this picture, but I must write instead about Garbo, who contrives, though Heaven knows how, to surpass all the badness they thrust upon her...Here a lithe figure sheathed in men's breeches and stamping boots, she strides into our prescence and again reveals her dynamic personal magneticism. She is a woman, it seems, destined to contrive in a world that spells misunderstanding...Queen Christina perhaps comes nearest; with its great close-ups and sublime fading shot. But the showman tricks of Mamoulian and the falseness of the environment conspire against her." Cinema Quarterly was also a magazine that published The Film Critic of Today and Tommorow, by Rudolph Arnheim, who wrote, "In an essay....Mamoulian was blamed for having allowed himself to be influenced by the "innocent vanity" of Greta Garbo. Almost simultaneously there appeared in a German newspaper, an interview in which Greta Garbo said, "You ask whether I am satisfied with the Christina film? Not at all. How could you think that? If I had any say in the matter, it would be quite different. But what one would like oneself is never realized. I shall never act the part of which I have dreamed." After continuing to write that he and his readers were not to be concerned "with a defence of Greta Garbo", Arnheim notes a creative dichotomy between actor and director, much like the one posited by silent film historians that saw the two reel film evolve into the eight reel during the time of Bitzer and Griffith where the scenario and photoplay emerged and developed. Hollywood magazine during 1934 published an article titled, "Garbo Finds Love" without revealing the name of its author, the headline reading, "The budding and blossoming of Garbo's romance with Mammoulian, as seen through the eyes of an actress who worked with her in Queen Christina, but for obvious reasons must remain anonymous." It began, "As one of those who worked with Garbo in Queen Christina, I saw her romance with Rouben Mammoulian bud and grow and flower into love. And I, like the rest of Hollywood, believe they will soon marry." The cover Movie Classic magazine hosted the title, "Will Garbo marry her Director". Between the covers, underneath an oval photograph of Greta Garbo as Queen Christina, read the caption,"Portrait by Bull". It stated, "Greta Garbo and John Gilbert were only a few feet away from the city clerk and matrimony when she turned away, shaking her head. 'I have changed my mind.', she said. But now apparently the man for whom she has waited has now appeared. Rouben Mammoulian, the famous director of stage and screen, is that man." Journalist Dorothy Manners for New Movie Magazine that year asked, "Will Garbo Marry Mamoulian during an article in which she quoted the director, "Mamoulian only shrugs, 'The story that Miss Garbo and I plan to be married is absurd.'" Mamoulian, Greta Garbo and Salka Viertel had been dining together that evening. Silver Screen during 1934 observed, "The Garbo Mammoulian romance seems to develop steadily. The two have been quietly lunching at the Ambassador and dining at the Russian Eagle quite often lately." It was nestled on a page titled More Gossip-Whispers are Little Daggers. John Gilbert would make only one film after having been reunited with Greta Garbo in Queen Christina, The Captain Hates the Sea (1934). Bainbridge writes, "It was reported, erroneously, that when Garbo was informed of his death she said, 'What is that to me?' Actually she was vacationing in Stockholm when Gilbert died  and was given the news by a Swedish reporter in the foyer of the Royal Dramatic Theater during an intermission. She refused to make any comment; shortly afterward she left the theater." There is one account, if not more, that the role in Queen Christina was first going to be offered to Lord Olivier and was given to John Gilbert on Greta Garbo's insistence. Hal E. Wood contributed Garbo Frowns Again to Hollywood in 1934, "Greta Garbo is anything but pleased over the action of Metro in signing assigning Victor Fleming to direct her in the Painted Veil. In fasct there are rumblings to the effect that the Swede is dusting off." The magazine claimed that Garbo wanted to leave for Sweden due to her lack of director approval and that she favored making a second film with Mammoulian, to which it appended, "Greta's lonely again" in its News Slueth section, "It's all over between garbo and Rouben mammoulian if you take the word of the chatters...Incidently, the star has rescinded her demand that Mammoulian, who directed her in Queen Christina be named her guide through The Painted veil and has approved Richard Boleslavsly as her megaphonist" Milton Brown photographed Greta Garbo on the set of The Painted Veil for The New Movie Magazine during 1934. It pointed out, "Notice the raised boards Garbo walks on to increse her height." A second photograph taken on the set of The Painted Veil by Milton Brown accompanying Garbo Starts Her New Picture took up more than three fourths of two pages in Photoplay, "Take 1- which means the first scene in Greta's new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, The Painted Veil. The first call of 'Camera' for a Garbo picture is always a thrilling second. This time it stirred more excitement than ever before...All the sets for The Painted Veil were constructed on stilts, as this photograph reveals. The set has a ceiling, which is unusual from a scenic angle." Hollywood magazine during 1935 printed the article "Garbo's Cameraman Talks At Last, where William Daniels was quoted as having said, "She has been pictured as gloomy, aloof, frightened, imperious and a hundred other things as unlike her real self as are midnight and noon. The real Greta Garbo is the most sensible woman I have ever known. The keynotes of her character are intelligence, simplicity and absolute sincerity....Garbo likes to look through the camera to see what the scene is going to look like, but she does n't thrust her opinions on any of her fellow workers....She almost never troubles to look at the 'rushes' of her films, nor even at the first rough assembly of the picture. Instead she waits for the previews." In the article there is a photo caption reading, "Camerman Daniels wants to photograph Garbo in color. He believes her complexion is the loveliest he has ever filmed." William Daniels is quoted by journalist William Stoll as having related, "When it came time to film retakes on The Painted Veil, Director Boleslawski had been called away to another studio, so W.S. Van Dyke took charge. He is probably the breeziest, quickest shooting director in the business, he literally cuts and edits his pictures as he shoots them. Our first retake was a scene of Miss Garbo coming down a long flight of stairs. we made the shot- once. Van Dyke said to me, 'Okay-wrap it up! Now, let's move over here!' Miss Garbo's face was a study; then she slowly smiled and said,'Well, I suppose there is only one way to walk down stairs.'" Memory would be insufficient to serve in regard to the often related story about Greta Garbo's slippers as to whether it originated with Mauritz Stiller or William Daniels, but as Hollywood folklore, John Bainbridge whispers that it was Daniels, "Whenever possible, she wore an old pair of carpet slippers on the set for the sake of comfort. before a scene was shot she always asked Daniels, 'Is the feet in?'. If they were out of camera range, she kept the slippers on, regardless of what fabulous Adrain creations she was wearing." Perhaps, the wearing of slippers had prompted her remark to Daniels about how an actress should descend a staircase. Greta Garbo departed from her usual portrait photographers for four photos "posed exclusively for Photoplay", her reconfirming herself as a fashion model as the two page layout "Garbo's first fashion sitting in five years" described in detail three gowns that Adrian had designed for the film The Painted Veil. The first of which was a gray silk teagown, with pleated organiza jabot and deep dolman type sleeves. The second article photograph was described as "the sports type of thing Garbo loves- nonchalance in the swagger lines of a white flannel coat" whereas the third included "a new version of the famous Garbo pillbox hat," and a corded felt with jade ornament. Richard Corliss writes, "Boleslawski's visual effects here are adept without being ostentatious- as when Garbo looks distractedly into a window, and the reflection shows a much more disturbed face." Photoplay during 1935 almost couldn't have seemed more inaccurate, it having printed, "Garbo from all indications to make Hollywood her home on her return. She's going to bring her two brothers with her." Silver Screen toward the end of 1935 reported, "From Stockholm comes news that Garbo is busy these days finishing up a scenario based on the life of a saint. Her fondest dream has been to star in a picture with a religious theme, and the studio offering her none, she has written her own script." In regard to the mystery of Greta Garbo, Stockholm reported in Motion Picture Daily during early March of 1936, "Greta Garbo will leave here tommorow aboard the Drottingholm." More than two weeks later, in the same periodical, Gottenburg reported, "Greta Garbo is expected to sail tommorrow for the United States on the Gripsholm." The periodical soon amended, "Greta Garbo, who arrived Sunday on the Gripsholm from Sweden is shifted to leave for Hollywood this afternoon." but with very little explanation spotted Greta Garbo in Chicago, "Greta Garbo and Berthrold Viertol had an exciting time here between the arrival of the Twentieth Century and The Chief. They went to the Field Museum and looked over the mummies." Photoplay provided a brief review of Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina during 1936, "The persuasive genius of Greta Garbo raises the rather weak picture into the class of art. Fredrick March is unconvincing as the lover for whom Greta sacrifices everything." It later rewrote its review, "This picture is really a weak and dull picture. yet the persuasive genius of Garbo raises it into the class of art. What should be moving seems dated, though the production is magnificient...But Frederick March seems stuffy." Film Daily reviewed the film not unsimilarily, "Greta Garbo in a sympathetic role that fits her admirably...with a fine appreciation of the poignant drama with all its subtle evaluations....Garbo has never appeared more human and appealing." Motion Picture Daily's review of the film included the assessment, "The Tolstoi novel of Russia, containing as it does dramatic elements repeated time without end in many and far less distinguished pictures, make a fitting vehicle for the screen's leading tragedienne...Anna Karenina, slightly ponderous perhaps from the view of story, is nevertheless, a thoroughly worthwhile motion picture directed by Clarence Brown with pronounced ability." Picture Play magazine looked at the film as a remake, "So old that it served Garbo before she broke her silence and lapses into her present perfect speech. Then it was called Love. The new version is more interesting because it is more painstakingly done, speech giving it new refinements and subtleties. meticulous costumes and seetings complete a marvelous reproduction of St Petersburg society." Motion Picture Daily early in the year reported, "Basil Rathbone intends to leave for Hollywood in six weeks. He has turned down an offer by M.G.M. to appear in Anna Karenina with Greta Garbo and Frederick March. Rathbone is anxious to play the Sidney Carlton role in Tale of Two Cities, but he will most likely be signed by a company other than M.G.M." A month later it announced, "Reginald Denny goes in to Anna Karenina, which stars Greta Garbo at M.G.M." Basil Rathbone wrote of his aquaintance with Greta Garbo in his autobiography In and Out of Character- one of my copies mysteriously had the Players Cigarette Card featuring the actor from 1938 scotched taped to the inside cover, which, not unlike the persian slipper, the present author still keeps in my wallet- "I first met Miss Garbo in 1928 when Ouida and I were invited to lunch one Sunday." Rathbone and his wife had been present at the premiere of the film The Flesh and the Devil. There is an account that it had been Adrian that had designed the costume that Greta Garbo had worn to a party given by Basil Rathbone and Ouida Bergere during 1929. She had attended Mrs. Rathbone's affair as Hamlet. Of his starring in the film Anna Karenina with her he wrote, "And so upon the morning previously arranged I called upon Miss Garbo. The house, a small one, was as silent as a grave. There was no indication that it might be occupied." The atmosphere may not quite have been as conducive to a seance that Valentino would have attended as Rathbone may have made it out to be. Jane Ardmore's biography of Mae Murray, The Self Enchanted- Mae Murray: Image of an Era only briefly mentions Basil Rathbone or Greta Garbo, but it is an account of off-screen Hollywood, there having been a diegetic and non-diegetic aspect to the extra-textual as well. Rathbone had starred with Mae Murray in The Masked Bride (Christy Cabbane, 1925, six reels). "Every fourth Sunday, Mae threw open her house for lavish entertainment...Jack Gilbert brought Greta Garbo. They were in love and radiant, but Greta worried about the studio, she was shy, there seemed such commotion, her energies were sapped. 'You should have a dressing room as I do, Darling," Mae had told her. Mae Murray would later be attending a birthday party for Rudolph Valentino given by Pola Negri. On learning that Greta Garbo had already had the film Mata Hari in production, Pola Negri deciding between scripts that were in her studio's story department chose A Woman Commands as her first sound film, in which she starred with Basil Rathbone. Of Rathbone, she wrote in her autobiography, "As an actor I suspected basil Rathbone might be a little stiff and unromantic for the role, but he made a test that was suprisingly good. In an article titled Hissed to the Heights- That's Rathbone, written during 1936, Motion Picture quoted the actor, "Before I played Karenin I was puzzled about the technique of film acting, and wasn't satisfied at all with what I had been doing. During the filming of Anna Karenina I watched Garbo and learned from her what I think is the secret of good screen acting; play your part with the least possible movement and the greatest possible mental projection. It is different on the stage. There your whole body is constantly exposed to the audience and you must have perfect coordination from head to foot....And Garbo has this power of mental projection to a superb degree...I first met her in 1928. I found her very intelligent and charming. I didn't meet her again untill 1935, when we were cast in the same picture. She wasn't the same person, she had changed. You know I think Garbo suffers a great deal for being typed typed. Her camerman thinks so too." "And now in Anna Karenina she becomes newly romantic." To the left of a portrait of Greta Garbo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull, a caption read, "And on her return from Sweden, she may do Camille."
Screenland magazine made the fantastic announcement, "And here's another thing that concerns Miss Garbo. for years Fred Niblo has been trying to interest the financial powers at Metro in a story by Barney Glazer on the Emperess Josephine. unlike other yarns that mention Napoleon, he is to be, in this, a secondary character. it being women's day, the author feels the women of history should have their due. now it looks as though the deal will go through, and Greta will play Josephine." Screenland printed the article in August of 1930! M.G.M's own advertisements featuring Greta Garbo in Motion Picture Daily during 1937 told audiences, "Garbo and Boyer in Beloved. You'll hear plenty about it." During 1937 The Film Daily chronicled the interest Clarence Brown held in the script of Conquest, "Countess Walewska, M.G.M. Greta Garbo picture has literally become a 'Clarence Brown production'. Valuable tapestries, silver candlesticks and tableware that once Wed, June 17, 2015 - 5:58 PM permalink
Greta Garbo arrives from EuropeWhen refilmed, her hollywood screentest would by filmed by Mauritz Stiller and purportedly spliced into the rushes of Torrent and was then, in turn, seen by Monta Bell, who insisted the script be given to Garbo. Greta Garbo's second screentest had been photographed by Henrik Sartov, who later explained that the earlier test had lacked proper lighting and that a lens he had devised had allowed him to articulate depth while filming her. Cameraman William Daniels had photographed the earlier test. Lillian Gish relates a conversation between her and Sartov where Gish asked him if he could photograph a screentest of Garbo, "Garbo's temperment reflected the rain and gloom of the long, dark Scandinavian winters." At first Garbo was reluctant to accept a role in the film, although it was a large role that had been considered for Norma Shearer, whom Bell had directed in the film After Midnight (1921). Mauritz Stiller advised, "It can lead to better parts later." to which Garbo replied, "How can I take direction from someone I don't know?". John Bainbridge writes that in the beginning Garbo spent most of her time with Mauritz Stiller, quoting him as having said, "You will see that something will become of her." It would be ten weeks before the studio would show any marked interest in her, this mostly at the behest of Stiller and in light of his second series of screentests. "She was especially fond of Seastrom's children," Bainbridge writes, "and brought little present to them." Victor Sjostrom's daughter is the Swedish actress Guje Lagerwall. Begnt Forlund notes that the filming of Anna Karenina had at first been thought for actress Lillian Gish, who in Sweden, Greta Garbo had seen the film White Sister. In her autobiography, Gish wrote, "I often saw young Garbo on the set. She was then the protege of the Swedish director Mauritz Stiller. Stiller often left her on my set. He would take her to lunch and then bring her back, and Garbo would sit there watching." John Bainbridge reiterates this while writing on The Torrent, "Stiller did not appear on the set, but every evening he rehearsed Garbo in the next day's scenes, coaching her in every movement and every expression...Stiller delivered Garbo to the studio every morning and called for her every night." He quotes a letter written to Sweden by Stiller, "Greta is starting work for a well-known director and I think she has got an excellant part." Richard Corliss adds, "Though out of her element and seperated from Mauritz Stiller, Garbo gives fine performance, full of feeling and technical precocity. her first Hollywood kiss is one to remember." Swedish actor Lars Hanson attended the premiere of the film and reflected, "We all thought the picture was a flop and that Garbo was terrible...In our opinion it didn't mean anything." Bainbridge makes the observation that Mauritz Stiller and Victor Seastrom were also at the premiere. He writes, "The picture did perhaps contain a few imperfections, such as Garbo's costumes." As a biographer, Bainbridge is enjoyable to read in one sense, not only for his prose synopsis of the film, but that he plays a guessing game by quoting a Swedish actress who was then in Hollywood without disclosing her name, the reader to wonder if she was in fact Karen Molander, wife of Lars Hanson who journeyed to Hollywood with him. The accuracy of Hollywood reporting during the Twenties, or Jazz Age, on which Bainbridge seems to base his historical references was admittedly referred to by Picture Play magazine and journalist William H. McKegg in Three Sphinxes, which compared Jetta Goudal, Ronald Colman and Greta Garbo, who, as of 1929, were three people that "puzzle Hollywood" It opined, "Of course rumors have been spread bu those who "know". Some say that Garbo was a waitress in one of the open air cafÃ©s in the Swedish capital. They add that the poverty and sorrow she underwent made her fearful of life. Only those who have experienced poverty really know hoe cruel human beings can be to one another. some say she was a singer. Who cares?"The subtitle to one section of The Story of Greta Garbo as told to Ruth Biery, published in Photoplay during 1929 reads, "Tempermental of misunderstood". In it Greta Garbo relates the events that led up to her having left the studio for what would only be less than a week, "Then it was for months here before I was to work for Mr. Stiller. When it couldn't be arranged, they put me in The Torrent, with Mr. Monta Bell directing. It was very hard work, but I didn't mind that. I was at the studio every morning at seven o'clock and untill six every evening." She goes further explaining that there was a language barrier that would later contribute to Mauritz Stiller being also taken off her next picture, "Mr. Stiller is an artist...he does not understand the American factories. He always made his own pictures in Europe, where he is the master. In our country it is always the small studio." Stiller had in fact written to Sweden to say, "There is nothing here of Europe's culture." It is of note that in regard to Stiller's relationship to the studio, and Thalberg, Lars Hanson has been quoted as having said, "And Stiller, because he could speak hardly any English, wasn't able to explain what he was doing and how to satisfy them.": it was on the set of The Torrent that author Sven-Hugo Borg was introduced to Stiller, who in turn then informed Garbo that he was assigned translator under Monta Bell's direction. In The Private Life of Greta Garbo By Her Most Intimate Friend, Borg recounts that Bell had turned to him and had said of her, "What a voice! If we could only use it." Of the film he notes, "Of course she was constantly with Stiller, spending every possible moment with him; but thought that when the camera's eye was flashed upon her, (that)the picture would decide her fate began, (that) he would not be there terrified her." Borg continued as the interpreter for Greta Garbo untill 1929. Author Richard Corliss remarked upon the performance in the film by Greta Garbo, "Though out of her element and separated from Mauritz Stiller, Garbo gives a fine performance. Her first Hollywood kiss is one to remember...There are to be sure moments early in the film when Garbo works too hard with her eyes; overstating emotions rather than expressing them, dropping nuances like anvils, registering filial devotion...but she grows in the role...by the final scenes..she is utterly convincing as an actress and a star." Corliss continues stating that there are flashes of the later Garbo as though she were many-talented and in retrospect it was present but would later develop more fully, "By the end of The Torrent he face seems more severely contoured, her eyes more glacially clear, her head lifted upward by the chinstrap of spiritual pride. The phenomena is that of a star creating her own myth within the time-space of a single film." Photoplay magazine quoted Greta Garbo, "Greta Garbo was having her pictures taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. During one of the close up shots her eyes blinked, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, Miss Louise,' Greta apologized, 'But I twinkled.'" The production stills of Greta Garbo during the filming of The Torrent were photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise. Ruth Harriet Louise had also published an early full photograph of Greta Garbo in Motion Picture Classic Magazine during May of 1926. Before photographing Greta Garbo, Louise had created her "first published Hollywood image", that of Vilma Banky from the film Dark Angel in the September 1925 issue of Photoplay and during 1926 she contributed a particularly romantic blue-titnted portrait of Pauline Stark and Antonio Moreno to Photoplay from the film Love's Blindness. During 1928 Louise contributed to Screenland Magazine a portrait of Lars Hansen and Lillian Gish, "the lovers in the forthcoming special production The Wind", directed by Victor Sjostrom under the name Victor Seastrom. For those susceptible to the fantasy of Hollywood, it might feel like one of those rare fleeting sightings of Harriet Brown but it in fact that Robert Dance and Bruce Robertson introduce the photographer in their volume Ruth Harriet Louise and Hollywood Glamour Photography. The authors include a photograph of Greta Garbo taken by Ruth Harriet Louise, who had invited her back to her studios for another photo shoot after the filming of The Torrent had come to its completion, late December of 1925. Harriet Brown, now in fact Harriet Brown and company, the owner of the photograph is none other than "senior management and market executive" Scott Reisfield, whom, and I quote, "Developed museum exhibit of photographs with the Santa Barbra Museum of Art. The exhibit subsequently was toured to four additional venues. Developed a book published by Rizzoli in conjunction with the museum exhibit." The picture of Greta Garbo in a chair seated next to a lion, Garbo photographed outdoors on what at first appears to be a bench and the lion posing with his feet elevated on a log, as it was first published in Motion Picture Magazine during 1926 must have been a publicity test, by a publicity department that may have named her The Swedish Sphinx during the silent era, as it left her not only silent but unidentified, without printing her name; the caption reads, "$10.00 for the best title of this picture." There are twenty three photographs of Greta Garbo taken by the photographer Arnold Genthe in the United States either on July 25, or July 27. Often unseen by the public and for the most part belonging to public domain, the were part of his estate and are presently housed at the library of congress. Biographer Norman Zeirold, who used a photograph of Greta Garbo taken by Genthe for the cover of his wonderful volume has written that, "Garbo's plasticity made it possible for her to reflect the fantasies of her screen audiences, in the sense she functioned as a receptacle for the emotions of others." An attempt on the present author to include the subject of Greta Garbo while corresponding with Norman Zierold, now a professor, was mostly unsuccessful. In keeping with the Greata Garbo that was nearly unknown to movies audiences for her personal life off-screen despite its being highly remarked upon by extra-diegetic text, the Garbo that had lurked in the shadows of museum-art-house screenings as a recluse after her retirement, the Garbo that had blindfolded her firing squad as she smoked a cigarrette as though at any time she could be sitting right beside any us us during any of her films while as spectators we made identifications with each interpellated nuance, I added, "These emotional structures are created within each particular film, often by subject and spectator positioning that exploits the combination of tragic seductress, the viewer, and the film's other characters often in relation to her pre-talkie, before sound, body in an objectification of sexual mystery, as when her body within the frame creates space between two other characters in front of the camera, isolating them near a specific visual motif, or when Greta Garbo briefly moves into the emotion of a particular solitude." But then clearly, the relationship between character and landscape and its interaction with subject positioning and or spectatorial positioning can also differ widely from one director to another, almost to the point where it includes stylization, as when comparing the film's of Victor Sjostrom and Carl Th. Dreyer- the relation of character to landscape during the appearances of Greta Garbo is a relation, or inverse relation, to modernity within the object arrangements of mise-en-scene and female sexuality. It it clearly for emotion that Garbo posed for the soft-focus series of portraits, almost in as much as the close up in film is used to depict the significant detail of the shot. During December 1925, a photograph of greta Garbo by Arnold Genthe was published in Picture Play magazine with the caption From the Land of the Vikings, it announcing that she was the "latest arrival" from Scandinavia, a "statuesque blond, very reserved in manner." Picture Play Magazine during 1927 used a full page photograph taken by Arnold Genthe to figurehead the article Rebellion Sweeps Hollywood, written by Aieleen St. John Brennon, following it within pages by a portrait of Lars Hanson by Ruth Harriet Louise, it's caption noting that he had "amassed a large following since his forceful performance in The Scarlett Letter and now has the title role in Captain Salvation. The entire review of The Torrent in Photoplay runs as follows: "Monta Bell stands well in the foreground of those directors who can take a simple story and fill it with true touches that the characters emerge real human beings and the resulting film becomes a small masterpiece. Such work has he created in The Torrent and for fans who are slightly grown up, this picture will be a visual delight. Greta Garbo, the new Swedish importation is very lovely." To provide a timeline, it appears on the same page as a review of The Devil's Circus (Benjamin Christensen). Tucked away in a later Photoplay issue was a more candid reviewer, "Greta Garbo exerts an evil fascination- on the screen. True, her debut was not auspiciously placed in The Torrent, which is in reality a babbling brook that runs on forever, now-she-loves-him-now-she don't until the end of the film and beyond." The reviewer then complements her as being attractive, surveying her eyes, lips and nostrils in, perhaps, a "gender-specific" paragraph. And yet Eugene V. Brewster began the watching of Greta Garbo on the part of Motion Picture Classic magazine with his own secular view, "At Metro Goldwyn Studios they showed me a few reels of Greta Garbo's unfinished picture. This striking young Swedish actress will doubtless appeal to many but somehow I couldn't see the great coming star in her the company expects." Frederick James Smith continued for Motion Picture Classic with Greta Garbo Arrives, "The newcomer is a slumber-eyed Norsewoman, one Greta Garbo, who seems to have more possiblities than anyone since Pola Negri of Passion...She isn't afraid to act. That she was able to stand out of an infererior story, poorly directed, is more than her credit...The Ibanez story is full of claptrap, including the dam that bursts without having anything to do with the story. Monta Bell tossed it in the film form without any apparent interest." It quickly followed with the article, "The Northern Star, The Screen's Newest Meteor is a Moody daughter of Sweden", written by Alice L. Tildelsey, who decidedly felt more at liberty to Greta Garbo than interviewers that came later. She relates that the actress had said, "I love the sea, yes. It understands me, I think...it is not happy, it is always yearning for something that it cannot have." Garbo purportedly referred to herself as "poor little Sweden girl" during the interview. "Now for my new picture I must learn to dance the tango and to ride the horse." Tidesley refers to Garbo as "a moody young thing, Greta Garbo, with the temperment of the true artist." The article imparts how Greta Garbo was introduced to Mauritz Stiller, who had seen her performing Ibsen and had had her called in to his office. The photograph of Garbo was taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. National Board of Review magazine, although literate, may have remained true to form as it typified the film with, "The story preserves a European atmosphere in which parents still have the least say about their children's marriages." Biographer Richard Corliss fairly accurately assesses Greta Garbo's first of several silent films, "Not only does it prefigure many of the morals and motifs of her later pictures, but it avoids many of those films pirouettes into the ludicrous. All things considered (the times. the material, the studio, The Torrent is a suprisingly adult piece of work." While reading Corliss the reviewer as essayist, there is a slight temptation to see him presenting the synopsis of each story and the characters as being antiquated, that it is a reevaluation of our film and its incidents but, written while it was a given that Garbo was leading a solitary life, it is kept within Garbo being a mystery, that if the stories were outdated, they could be looked at with curiousity and inquiry, as the fantasies they were meant to be, and in that way the reviews of Richard Corliss only contain a hint of being outdated in their being questioning without necessity. To compare and contrast, if Corliss is writing about the versatility of Greta Garbo, John Bainbridge reverberates the sentiment, "What was to become known as the Garbo manner was but faintly discernable in The Torrent, but there were intimations." Bainbridge seems to keep his secret that much of the material for his biography was derived from fan magazines, albeit he conducted interviews. Biographies on Greta Garbo the sensation began to appear, almost in droves, as soon as the actress had spoken in sound film, many explaining how she reached the screen in Hollywood in the first place while adding spoonfuls of data about Mauritz Stiller. This was to nearly culminate in 1938 with Modern Screen's 15 pages of biography, The True Life Story of Greta Garbo, written by William Stewart. It summarized, "The picture was The Torrent, originally slated for Aileen Pringle but given to Garbo as a test of her ablility...It pleased her, but for final praise she awaited Stiller's word. "It is good.', he said, and those three encouraging words were sufficient."
Greta Garbo in The Temptress Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil insert banner Greta Garbo and Victor Seastrom insert garbo banner
Greta Garbo as continuance of Vampwhile waiting for the next film to be made by Greta Garbo, Photoplay magazine during 1926 printed, "Yet an automobile almost kept Greta from Metro. Mayer had seen Miss Garbo's work in a foreign mDe film, The Atonement of Gosta Berling. THe picture is incidentally directed by Mauritz Stiller who is directing the second Garbo opus and it it considered an artistic gem, but aositive flop as so far as American audiences are concerned. For that reason it probably will never be released here." In actuality films from Svenska Bio were generally released years after they had been made in Sweden; the article continued to elaborate that Greta Garbo knew that movie stars were provided with limousines whereas Mayer would not include one in her contract! insisting that they were bought by the stars themselves. Having related the disappointment on the part of Greta Garbo and Mauritz Stiller when Stiller had not be asked to direct Garbo in The Torrent, one that would have returned Garbo to Sweden had it not been for Stiller's encouragement, biographer John Bainbridge relates Stiller's optimism when assigned her second film, The Temptress. In Sweden it had been the reverse where Garbo had to audition for Stiller, a more than well known director who had already directed Lars Hanson in Erotikon, a film Greta Garbo had seen in theaters. "Now that he had been given a chance to direct his protegee his dark mood had disappeared. He was full of excitement and enthusiasm. 'At last,' he told Lars Hanson, 'They'll see what Greta can do.'" Stiller wanted to open the film with a discovery shot, or revelatory shot, that dollyed back, pulled back, to show the wider context of the scene while establishing it location. "Telling Hanson of his plans, Stiller confidently predicted, 'We'll show them a thing or two.'" Upon arriving on the set, in a studio system that in regard to constructing the photoplay, had evolved from Griffith and Ince, Stiller was a prefigurement of the auteur, expressing his bewilderment that there would be an assistant director, an assistant producer, a script girl and other members of the film crew present on the set and attempting to dismiss them, "All I need is a camera and actors." The author continues, " 'They brought me here to direct because they liked my methods.' he told Hanson. 'Instead they try to teach me to direct.'" Lars Hanson explained further "Stiller tied to work in Hollywood the same way he worked in Sweden...He had his own particular way of making a picture. He shot scenes as he wished, not necessarily in sequence and not necessarily the ones he intended to use. He liked to shoot everything, and then make the film he wanted to by cutting. He could never stick to a schedule." Both John Bainbridge and Richard Corliss relay that there were stories of Stiller confronting a language barrier while instructing cameraman and that he would begin with "Stop" when he wanted to say "places, roll them, or action" and that he had interchanged "Go" with "Cut or Print" when the scene was to conclude, although the present author is uncertain as to whether it was included specificlly in the published reminiscenes of actors that often made their way into fan magazines or what their source may have been. Motion Picture Magazine attested to the experience and craftsmanship of Maurtiz Stiller as a film director by publishing a photograph from the set of the film which was captioned, "The dancing scenes of Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno in The Temptress, which Mauritz Stiller is directing in this photograph, were filmed by a camera attached to a moving platform which followed them about the floor." The Hollywood system that had evolved from Griffith and Ince had placed Stiller and Clarence Brown as directors that created camerawork and technique. Within a fortnight, two events occurred which seemed not to have shaken the on-screen Greta Garbo personna, or the need to create an off-screen Garbo character, as though they went unnoticed as more mystery around the recluse seemed to build. Biographer John Bainbridge writes of her sister Alva's passing away during the early filming of The Temptress, "As soon as Garbo informed Stiller of the tragic news, he dismissed the cast and took her home." Apparently Garbo was present when Stiller was dismissed and replaced, after ten days of shooting, as the film's director. She had been waiting outside the building during the conference, pacing the sidewalk. "Stiller was laid low with despondency and he was also ailing physically. As he sat on his terrace brooding, Garbo went about propping him up with pillows," Bainbridge records, "and doing what she could to cheer him up." According to Bainbridge, "when Stiller saw Thalberg after the premiere he delivered an invective about Garbo, as well as an excellant script, having been ruined by him." Motion Picture Magazine chronicled the event as nearly expected, "Stiller has sufferred from the fate that overcomes most foreign directors shen they come to Hollywood. He was unable to grasp an understanding of the business and technical end of making a motion picture in an American studio." In one of the many posthumous accounts of the career of Mauritz Stiller that appeared linking him to Greta Garbo, Ruth Biery intimated during 1932 that Stiller was removed from The Temptress because of an objection made by Antonio Moreno, the director apparently having insisted that the actor wear a pompadour to compensate fro Garbo's having had been being the taller of the two. Greta Garbo described to Photoplay Magazine her filming in The Temptress under the direction of Fred Niblo, "I could not understand the English directions. Week in, week out from seven untill six. Six months on the story. More than twenty costumes to try on over and over. That is why I donot care about clothes. There are so many clothes in every picture, I can not think of them when I am away from a picture. I never missed a day. I was never late for work." Photoplay inserted a paragraph on Greta Garbo written in bold type into one of its backpages during 1927, "Fred Niblo, who had directed the alabaster and ivory Garbo was making the usual introductory speeches. Remarking on the beauty of Greta's performance, he further said that it was most difficult to direct her for she spoke not one word of English. 'Do you?' queried Niblo turning to her where the Swedish lorelei sat. 'No', answered Greta slowly, perfectly, 'I do not speak one word of English.'" Irregardless of Greta Garbo having been reluctant to work with Monta Bell and preferring to remain under the wing of Mauritz Stiller, a look independent of that to the 1927 Motion Picture New Booking Guide and Studio Directory draws a contrast between the directors Monta Bell and Fred Niblo, the former depicted in biographical sketches as merely a novice, the latter as experienced as to where he would soon become head of the studio, Monta Bell, Metro Goldwyn Mayer director, is comparatively a newcomer to the motion picture industry." Where Bell is noted as having began with Chaplin, Niblo is noted as having begun with Thomss Ince and for his directing his wife, Enid Bennett, "Motion Picture Stars are not the only ones to claim interesting backgrounds."
Film Daily during 1926 included a column of what it considered to be pertinent Newspaper Opninions, or newspaper clippings, on recently released films; these touted the "seductive charm of languid eyed Elena, the "gorgeous beauty" Greta Garbo, "who besides wearing stunning clothes can also act" and a Garbo that "vitalizes the name part of this picture." Motion Picture News during 1926 also carried a similar section entitled Newspaper Opinions on New Pictures, in which it quoted the exact same reviews, where, "Greta Garbo is a delight for the eye", "Greta Garbo makes every move a picture" and although they praised the newcomer Garbo in General a mild outlook was taken of her vamping, or being illicit as a mysterious foreign road to perdition, in the press quotes of that year. The Exceptional Photoplays department of National Board of Review Magazine credited William Daniels and Gaetano Gardino as having been the photographers of the film The Temptress, "The Temptress brings Greta Garbo to the attention of American audiences as an actress of note and unusual beauty...She is not half a minute on the screen before you know her as an artist, pliable and lively. This big starring vehicle gives her the ample opportunity to prove her versatility...The first Paris sequence is the equal in tonal quality and feeling of anything that has been done in films. It is true with strong character drawing. Miss Garbo makes Elena a breathing person." Motion Picture Magazine featured a still from on the set of the film captioned, "Fred Niblo insists on realism...and this scene of Tony Moreno and Greta Garbo in The Temptress promises to provide a thrill when it reaches the scene. Note the angle of the camera."
Bainbridge reviewed the film by writing, "Despite its florid subtitles and spurious plot, The Temptress was another distinct triumph for Garbo." Educational Screen Magazine, during a month in which it had reviewed the film Bardleys the Magnificient also looked at the film, "Most of this can be dismissed as perfectly ordinary.It is merely a tale of a siren who couldn't help attracting men, with an appended list of the fatalities...Miss Garbo as. Woman of the streets demonstrates a remarkable dramatic ability." Photoplay reviewed the performance of Greta Garbo in the film briefly, "The Ibanez story is forgiven and forgotten when Greta Garbo is in the cast. Greta is a show in herself." There is a report that M.G.M purchased the talking rights to both The Torrent and The Temptress in 1932. Bent Forslund adds,"Her first two films, The Torrent and The Temptress, both in 1926, were insignificant, but showed that she had appeal. The audience liked her." Motion Picture Magazine reviewed the film by noting, "It must be admitted that The Temptress is a bore. It would seem to be a story of a woman whom all men love and whose curious fate is to destroy all men who love her- but not through her own will but as an inevitable consequence of her fatal lure...She at length atones by destroying herself to save the one man she really loves...Greta Garbo as the unhappy temptress, has a role which required of her precisely nothing...Antonio Moreno's role calls for a little more." Motion Picture News included among the films Production Highlight the "atmosphere, settings and fine editing" Its Exploitation Angles included "Play up Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno and mention others of fine cast." Its review of the film read, "It may be defined as a tragic melodrama, one which is treated intellectually and with considerable imagination...Fred Niblo demonstrates again that he can be trusted to breathe in this type of story- one which is similar in outline to Ibanez's other story creation Blood and Sand...Moreover, it is splendidly cast with Greta Garbo as the sinuous siren and Antonio Moreno as her Spanish lover." Greta Garbo Greta Garbo Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo Greta Garbo and John Gilbert were to attend the premiere of Bardley the Magnificient (Vidor/Daniels,1926) together. Motion Picture magazine printed, "Hollywood is still talking. The newspaper wires still buzz everytime either telephones the other. Yet in spite of this, Greta Garbo and John Gilbert dare appear at openings and other Hollywood functions. During this screen writer Dorothy Farnum ran magazine advertisements announcing her having written the screenplay to the film Bardley the Magnificient and the portrait from the film of John Gilbert printed in Motion Picture magazine had been taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. 1926 was also the year that Greta Garbo, John Gilbert and Lars Hanson would film an adaptation of the novel The Undying Past, bringing its plotline to the screen untill its emotional concluding scene at the Isle of Friendship during Flesh and the Devil. Picture Play magazine during 1927 published what seems to be a seldom seem photograph of Greta Garbo and Jack Gilbert, their staring at eCh other across a table. In When Hollywood Discovered Bridge, the caption below the four playing cards read, "The Flesh and the Devil quartet- Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson, Jack Gilbert and Director Clarence Brown- more than once took time off during the production to play a hurried rubber. as may be seen, though, Greta and Jack, who are usually partners didn't give their full attention to the game." As posed, they are looking at each other with a sense of either impending doom, or a mutual consent that would soon decide to spring into action, as though the photograph were staged. Bainbridge quotes Clarence Brown as though Brown had contributed to the mythical quality of any romance between Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, adding celluloid, or perhaps, tinsel rather, to the publicity it had already acquired, " 'I am working with raw material,' Brown said rather breathlessly. 'They are working in that blissful state of love that is so like a rosy cloud that they imagine themselves hidden behind it, as well as lost in it.'" For Photoplay Agnes Smith in 1927 wrote the intrigue between John Gilbert and Greta Garbo, "He worked with her in a picture called Flesh and the Devil. He proclaimed his intention of marrying her. As for Greta she seemed to enjoy the rush. And then, when everyone was all set for another Hollywood wedding, Greta walked out...John Gilbert sticks to his story...She is a wonderful woman. A delightful woman And the most fascinating woman in pictures. 'She is,' says Mr. Gilbert, 'a mountian of a girl. She is a statue. There is something eternal about her. Not only did she baffle me, but she baffled everyone at the studio.'" Of her off-screen Clarence Brown romance with John Gilbert, Clarence Brown has been quoted as having said, "After i finsihed a scene with them, I felt like an intruder. I'd walk away to let them finish what they were doing." Brown has also been quoted as having said, "Those two were in a world of their own." Bainbridge quotes the director with, "Clarence Brown introduced them on the set of Flesh and the Devil, 'It was love at first sight,'and it lasted through many years.'" As a biographer, Bainbridge estimates the facets involved in the relationship, "her response to Gilbert's gaily insistent attention was quick, though it was not her nature that it should have been precipitous...Because of their work, Garbo and Gilbert spent all of their days together, and Gilbert took advantage of every oppurtunity to press his cause...Off the set, Gilbert and Garbo were also getting better acquainted. They often dined together, and the young actress became a rather frequent visitor a Gilbert's Tower Road mansion." This estimation reveals Gilbert's advance, "When Flesh and the Devil was finished, Gilbert asked Garbo to marry him- a proposal that he was to make more than once again." The account in Photplay written by Agnes Smith is very much like John Bainbridge's, "A great many stories have been broadcast concerning the romance of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. The scenario, according to Hollywood's most reliable gossips runs something like this. John met the beautiful Scandinavian and immediately started an impetuous courtship. He made no secret of his devotion to the lovely Greta. he accompanied her to all the parties. He lunched with her and dined with her." During the middle of 1927 Photoplay featured the two pictured together in the News and Gossip of the Studios section, "All bets are off on the Garbo-Gilbert wedding. For at least five days Hollywood was in a flurry of excitement. Jack and Greta, fairest of Fjordland, were rumored to have trekked to a neighboring hamlet and murmurred, "I do." A search of marriage license permits revealed nothing. There is bleak silence from the two." Bainbridge adds, "'Gilbert pleaded and begged that they should marry, but Garbo just did not want to,' the director Clarence Brown said recently." Picture Picture magazine during 1927 queries Is the Gilbert-Garbo Match Really Off? Prompted by journalist Dorothy Herzog. The accompanying portrait of Jack Gilbert was photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise with the caption, "There can be no doubt that Jack Gilbert is saddened by the unhappy turn taken by what promised to be his great romance". She began, "She is a thousand years old. She came into the world with all it's knowledge. She knows everything, and instinctively remembers everything.' 'and you love Greta Garbo?', we interrupted. Jack Gilbert's shadowed eyes swept our face swiftly, then looked away. 'She is. Wonderful girl. We were merely good pals,' he evaded, alertly on the defensive. 'is it true you were engaged to her?' 'We were never engaged.' ------ Back to Greta Garbo John Gilbert M.G.M.advertised Greta Garbo in 1927, it often taking full page magazine pages that mentioned several actors and actresses that were currently at the studio at any given time. Garbo had become, "The most sensational find in years, she clicked immediately in The Torrent, then in The Temptress and now Flesh and the Devil" Later it advertised, "Greta Garbo's amazing hold on the public cannot be duplicated anywhere in this industry. Flesh and the Devil is just a foretaste of the money she means for the theaters. " --------- Collen Moore must have read about or in fact contacted the Greta Garbo apparition; during 1928 she compared herself to Greta Garbo by coming to her aid in Motion Picture Classic Magazine, "most of the greatly beloved women of history- they have been possessed of the childish appeal, every one of them. Perhaps not so much childish as wistful, whimsical. Seems a funny thing to say, but Greta Garbo has it too. Really, she romps and plays it less than that worn-out term, vamp, than anyone I know. In its way, it gets across." In an interview during which she outlines her having met John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, as quoted by Ruth Biery in The Story of Greta Garbo, said, "When I finisihed The Temptress, they gave me the script for The Flesh and the Devil to read. I did not like the story. I did not want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures." The portrait of Greta Garbo that year had been photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise, the caption reading, "We are feverishingly waiting her performance opposite John Gilbert in Flesh and the Devil. By then, it was increasingly unnecessary to introduce her as a rising star. The photograph of Greta Garbo Ruth Harriet Louise published in Photoplay carried a caption referring to her as "the object of John Gilbert's fervant wooing". In regard to the direction of Clarence Brown, Motion Picture new reviwed the film during 1927 with, "And Clarence Brown, who has advanced so rapidly the past year, has brought out every point to build a story which fascinates in its paly of caprice and feeling. It is touched with sex- but sex never becomes rampant. It always remains a film of visual excellence...Early scenes project the development of the affair. What follows are the dramatic complications which culminate in a happy ending- the only flaw in the picture." Under the magazine's section on Explotation Angles, it advised: "Play up Gilbert and Garbo. Use stills. Cash in on title. Play up director. Go the limit." When the film was reviewed by Motion Picture Magazine the film was praised with, "Here is one of the best pictures reflected upon the screen in many a moon, the perfection of which is only marred by the ending, which appears tacked on, as an afterthought...Greta is a beautiful nymphomaniac...You never feel the chaos she causes exaggerated. she's attractive enough to wreak has ok in a man's world." Paul Rotha reviewed a what he deemed to be "a film of more than passing cleverness" directed by Clarence Brown, "Flesh and the Devil had some pretensions to be called a good film. The theme was sheer, undiluted sex,and Brown used a series of close ups to get this across with considerable effect. Notable also was his use of Ngles, different indeed from customary German and American method and the happiness with which he settled his characters in their environment." Back to Greta Garbo John Gilbert Greta Garbo and Jack Gilbert in Love Film Daily during 1926 sported two interesting entries. During September it wrote, "Marcel de Sarno, director, and Raymond Doyle, scenarist, returned to M.G.M. studios after a trip for research data for Ordeal, which de Sarno will direct with Greta Garbo and Lon Chaney. In November, Film Daily reported, "Clarence Brown, who has just completed the direction of John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil is preparing to direct Lillian Gish's next production, The Wind, screen adaptation by Frances Marion of Dorothy Scarborough's story. It seems either misprint or misquote that Exhibitor's Trade Review had earlier, during 1925, published, "Miss Alice Scully, a young scenario writer wrote the script for Stella Maris...since the first of the year has also written scripts for Parisian Love and The Undying Past for Victor Seastrom." Greta Garbo Greta GarboWed, June 17, 2015 - 4:52 PM permalink
Photoplay magazine reviewed Love, "Anna Karenina? Not so's you could notice it. But John Gilbert and Greta Garbo melt the Russian snow with their love scenes. Will it be popular? Don't be silly." The present author understably has every need to impart John Bainbridge's quoting of Bengt Idestam Almquist in its near entirety, "Greta Garbo has never been better. In her first American pictures she was something different than this: a sensual body, thin and wriggling like an exotic liana, plus a couple of heavy eyelids that hinted all kins of picturesque lusts. But gradually Miss Garbo has worked her way towards becoming a real actress with depth and sincerity." Kenneth Macpherson of Close-Up magazine reviewed the performance of Greta Garbo in the film, "As this is the rottenest possible film, it is clear that its success is due to the beauty of Greta Garbo, who has a Belle Bennett part of mother love. In twenty years they will be trying vainly to give her those parts for which her youth and beauty now make her suited. As I say, the film is just tripe and Greta's clothes are an abomination...but for the fact of Greta's lovliness and her utter inabilbity to look like anything but an overgrown adolescent dressing up for the school play." That year, for the same magazine, H. D. begged to differ, writing, "Let's put Miss Garbo out of it entirely and say that Greta Garbo, under Pabst, was a Nordic ice-flower. Under preceeding and succeeding directors she was an over-grown hoyden or a buffet Guiness-please-miss. The performance of Greta Garbo in that subtle masterpiece Anna Karenina (Love) was inexplicably vulgar and incredibly dull. It was only by the greatest effort of will that one could visulaize in that lifeless and dough-like visage a trace of the glamour, the chizselled purity, the dazzling, almost unearthly beauty...Greta Garbo in The Joyless Street...remained an aristocrat. Greta Garbo as the wife of a Russian Court official and mistress of a man of the world, diademed and in sweeping robes in the palace of Karenin, waa a house-maide at a carnival." The magazine The Film Spectator in 1928 highlighted the films editing, "There is one cleaver feature in Love, the close up debauch in which Metro presents Jack Gilbert and Greta Garbo. In the way it places the closing title to one sequence serves as an introductory tile to the sequence that succeeds it. There is a fade out after the title, 'Then I will see you at the grand Duke's ball;' and a fade in on the ball without any further explanatory title." During June of 1927, Motion Picture magazine reported, "Greta Garbo's week of sulking and refusing to appear at the Metro studios has availed her nothing. The immigration authorities decided that Greta would have to go to work or be deported...She will begin work on Anna Karenina, the story that story that caused her final tempermental guesture and her desertion of the studios is to be directed by Dimitri Buchowetski and Richard Cortez was signed after his recent break with Paramount, to play the male lead." Cortez at the time was married to Alma Rubens. Motion Picture News during 1927 announced that Greta Garbo had signed a five year contract with M.G.M., "Her first story is from the pen of Count Tolstoy. The star is not yet twenty one years of age, but has won considerable popularity both in this country and abraod." It claimed that Garbo was to be given the starring role in Anna Karenina, which was to be directed by Dimitri Buchowetzki, "also under contract at M.G.M." Author and curator Jan-Christopher Horak gives a fairly uncontested account of the replacement of directors on the film, "Buchowetzki went to M.G.M. where he directed Valentia (1927) with Mae Murray, all of them costume films. In February 1927 he was assigned to direct Greta Garbo and Victor Varconi in Love (1927), the film that proved to be his Waterloo. Given the fact that he was Russian and had directed several other films set in Imperial Russia, Buchowetszki was the logical first choice. While Garbo supposedly held out for more money and a different co-star (Richard Cortez eventually replaced Varconi), Buchowetski began production in April, shooting a substantial amount of footage with Cortez. In the first week of May Garbo called in sick and stayed that way at John Gilbert's house untill the studio gave in...the director's original had been scrapped in its entirety." If this is accurate, for all intensive purposes, although only one film starring Greta Garbo, The Divine Woman (Victor Seastrom, 1928), is presently lost, the fragment of Greta Garbo in Love that were earlier filmed rushes, can be added to that. Film Daily, during April of 1927 had printed Buckowets,I Starts Love, which slated Richard Cortez and Greta Garbo in the principal characters, "The cast includes Lionel BRrymore, Helen Chadwick, Zazu Pitts....Doeothy Sebastian. Lorna Moon adapted the screenplay." During May of 1927 it ran the announcement Goulding Directing Love, "Dimitri Buchowetski has been replaced by Edmound Goulding as the director of Anna Karenina, in which Greta Garbo will poetry the title role" John Bainbridge merely writes that Dimitri Buchowetsky was dismissed as director of the film because of an inability to remain compatible, or amicable, with his actors before having had been being replaced by Edmund Goulding, but the biographer then quotes a nameless source that had been present as part of the filming, "'(John Gilbert) wanted to show Garbo how clever he was. Every scene meant his interference with Goulding. He insisted on trying to direct the picture. Garbo insisted that she could not act if anyone watched her.'..Whatever the state of their private relations, Miss Garbo habitually deferred to Jack Gilbert on all professional matters. Whenever a question arose, her customary remark was, 'I ask Jack.'" Motion Picture News quietly reported during July of 1927, "Production of Love will be resumed shortly with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in the leads. The Picture was halted because of Miss Garbo's illness." Back to John Gilbert and Greta GarboWed, June 17, 2015 - 4:52 PM permalink
originally published at Greta Garbo
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originally published at The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: Film-Poem Novel
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originally published at Scott Lord
Greta Garbo (blog entry) I have heavily revised my writing on Greta Garbo, Victor Sjostrom, Danish Silent Film and Swedish Silent Film. You may have read this before, but this time it in fact is extensive. Please visit the following webpages.
scottlordsfi.blogs... read more
new erotic novel after divorce (blog entry) I like this blog, but my wife and i are no longer speaking and I feel the need to close it.
Please read my new novel and blog:
Fri, December 27, 2013 - 12:20 PM permalink - 0 comments
Fri, December 27, 2013 - 11:50 AM permalink - 0 comments
I have heavily revised my writing on Greta Garbo, Victor Sjostrom, Danish Silent Film and Swedish Silent Film. You may have read this before, but this time it in fact is extensive. Please visit the following webpages.Fri, August 9, 2013 - 11:17 AM permalink - 0 comments
Please view my revision of my webpages on the silent film of Greta Garbo.Fri, January 25, 2013 - 6:07 PM permalink - 0 comments
I like this blog, but my wife and i are no longer speaking and I feel the need to close it.Wed, May 19, 2010 - 3:35 PM permalink - 0 comments
Please read my new novel and blog:
Greta Garbo (blog entry) I have heavily revised my writing on Greta Garbo, Victor Sjostrom, Danish Silent Film and Swedish Silent Film. You may have read this before, but this time it in fact is extensive. Please visit the following webpages.
scottlordsfi.blogs... read more
new erotic novel after divorce (blog entry) I like this blog, but my wife and i are no longer speaking and I feel the need to close it.
Please read my new novel and blog:
<a href="http://scottlordsfi.blogspot.com">Scott Lord</a>
photo posted 03/10
originally published at Haunted Lighthouse -Scott Lord, Literary and Art