Greta Garbo talar!The Ture Sjolander of 1971 began his photographic essay on Greta Garbo very differently than contemporary Richard Corliss, writing shortly thereafter, had began his. Sjolander very accurately writes, The stories, observations, descriptions, analyses and interpretations of Garbo are legends alone and contrast sharply with the lack of information from Garbo herself. Distorted by rumor, guess, error, or motive, the real Garbo remains silent and elusive...The truth about Garbo is in pictures." His biography of Greta Garbo follows her from her childhood home in Bickingatan, Stockholm to her third visit to Sweden in 1935 to later photos taken as the actress was living as a recluse, her briefly passing the camera and it allowing only a glimpse of her. His account includes mysterious excursions where Greta Garbo in between films travelled under the names Phyllis Smith, Beatrice Wille, Helene Morgan and Harriet Brown. While not publishing works of film cristicsm or history, Sjolander has in fact continued as a dynamic visual artist to the present. The private life of Greta Garbo, much to the contrary, escapes the slightest scrutiny of Richard Corliss, the earliest acting done by Greta 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 hI'm uman 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."