|”Love?” She laughed softly, ”Of course I have been in love. Love is the last and first of a women’s education. How could you express love if you have never felt it? You can imagine, but its not like the feeling- who hasn’t been in love?”
Greta Garbo- Photoplay magazine
Greta Garbo talar!
”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”. 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 ailent 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.”
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 Garbo
While 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. 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.” 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.
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. 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.’” On 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. The announcement in New Movie Magazine may seem odd to this century, ”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.” 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. 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.” Film Daily tersely, perhaps succinctly, announced during 1932, ”Greta Garbo, who gets more publicity by trying to avoid it, is reported due today with intetentions of sailing on the liner Grispholm for Sweden. At the M.G.M. home office yestersday, 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. 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.” 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. John Gilbert would make only one film after having been reunited with Greta Garbo in Queen Christina, The Captain Hates the Sea (1934). There is one account 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. 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.” 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.” 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 tommorow 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.” 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 portait of Greta Garbo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull, a caption read, ”And on her return from Sweden, she may do Camille.” 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 graced the palaces of the Russian Czars, but which have adorned Brown’s (Californian) ranch home are used as props in the picture.” The magazine went on to explain that brown was a collector and had a letter in his library that was ”the basis for one of the dramatic highlights of the vehicle,” it having been written by a dying French Soldier. Of the script, Richard Corliss later wrote that it was, ”a model of civilized wit, which Clarence Brown direct with a rigorous lack of style that seems almost personal. But there is little of Garbo to comment upon untill the last scenes.” The production of Camille (George Cukor,1937) included screenwriter Frances Marion. Film Daily reported during 1936, ”Greta Garbo has spent three full days this week in Adrian’s studio going over designs for the costumes of her new starring production, Camille. During 1936, Photoplay related that Robert Taylor during the first week of filming had been without any contact with Greta Garbo, that he hadn’t yet glimpsed her, his having been told that she was ”making tests and couldn’t begin work”. Later that week, after his finally appearing on the set without out her, Photoplay directly quoted the actor, ”‘I thought this Garbo thing was a myth,’ he mumbled.” Later, it featured a two page fold of on the set photographs, ”With these pictures, taken at the closely guarded set of ”Camille”, Photoplay proudly presents to you for the first time Garbo in color- and how lovely she is….Behind Cukor is Bill Daniels, Garbo’s only camerman. Bill was rushed to the hospital twice during the shooting, but Garbo serenely waited for him. She will have no one else shoot her pictures.” Later during 1936, Photoplay added, ”At M.G.M. we discover that Garbo and Robert Taylor are still making Camille- still on a sound stage that is hermetically sealed against visitors.” Ruth Waterbury writing in 1938 for Photoplay added interest to the unreachable, nonavailable Greta Garbo, an untouchable star in the firmament, he having scheduled with M.G.M. make up man Jack Dawn, ”First of all, he didn’t think much of the way my hair was done…a grand girl named Olga came along to do something about that…I had heard she was Garbo’s hairdresser so while she worked on me head, I worked on Olga trying to get Garbo information from her…well, she got further than I did.” During 1938 Motion Picture Daily printed the announcement, Garbo-Stockowski to Wed, ”Greta Garbo and Leopold Stokowski will be married,” the location was planned as being in Europe. ”It was stated her today by the M.G.M. office and Wallace Berry will be the best man. No date was given.” Within weeks it recanted with, ”Garbo today denied to the press that she was married to Leopold Stockowski or intended to marry him.” Garbo Unhurt in Mishap drew the eye of the reader of Film Daily during 1938 to a report received from Stockholm by newcable. Leopold Stockowski apparently had been behind the wheel with Greta Garbo when the vehicle overturned while skidding. ”After righting the car, the couple resumed their journey.” Richard Corliss writes that there were discussions about Greta Garbo starring in the film Tristan and Isolde with Stockowski, which was upon his suggestion, but that when their ‘affair’, or involvement, had concluded, so did plans to put the film into production. Jim Simmons claimed to have talked with Greta Garbo after having chased her limosine with his car and published I Won’t Marry Stokowski says Garbo in Photoplay which dispelled accounts that to two were to be wed, ”‘No,’ she told me, ‘No, I will not marry Mr. Stokowksi.’ It was one of the rare interviews ever obtained by anyone from the glamorous star herself. The only one in which she openly discussed current romance rumors concerning herself.” Motion Picture Daily in 1938 announced, ”Delaware Asks Garbo for Historical Film. Greta Garbo is likely to make a film based on the life of Argmegot Printz, daughter of Johan Printz, an early govenor of Delaware, it has been disclosed here…Sigfried Edstrom, chairman of the Sweden Tercentenary Commission in Stockholm has sent word here that he has talked with Miss Garbo on the subject. She will be more than willing to undertake the film if it can be arranged with M.G.M. Edstrom reported.” Similarly, Film Daily during 1940 had been privileged to the Metro Goldwyn Mayer program for the coming year, and predicted the ”Stellar Arrangements made”, which included Greta Garbo in ”Madam Curie, based on the biography by Eve Curie, the scientist’s daughter.” It had earlier reported in 1938 that ”Sidney Franklin has become a producer for Metro Goldwyn Mayer….Franklin’s second film will be Madame Curie, starring Greta Garbo.” The magazine noted that there was to be ”a new screenplay now being written by Aldous Huxley.” The magazine recapitulated by noting that Garbo was in fact allowed to be loaned out to other studios while remaining with M.G.M, ”Warner Bros. are reported negotiating for the services of Garbo in a picturization of Mr. Skeffington….It is understood that Metro has shelved Madame Curie in which Miss Garbo was to star.” Motion Picture Daily during early 1939 included the film under ”Titles Announced” and prognosticated the filming of ”Madame Curie by Eve Curie starring Greta Garbo and Ninotchka directed by Ernst Lubitsch.” Motion Picture magazine during 1940 printed the article ”Will Garbo marry Hauser?” with the caption, ”The Greta Garbo- Gaylord Hauser romance is still going strong after six months. She may take the plunge.” The sentiment about Greta Garbo last film was crystallized by The Film Daily with ”Hub Won’t See Garbo Pic”, which read, ”The Garbo picture Two Faced Woman definitely will not allowed to be shown anywhere in the Metropolitan Boston area.” Motion Picture Daily during 1941 elaborated on the ”Condemned List” of the National Legion of Decency and their explanation of the film The Two Faced Woman having been placed on it and the ensuing debates on its censorship. ”The Legion gave as the reason for the classification its belief that the picture is ‘immoral and un-Christian in its attitude twoard marriage and its obligations; imprudently suggestive scenes; dialogue and attitudes; suggestive costumes.’” A revised version of the film that otherwised would not have been released was shipped by train, du to their being a ban on shipping the film by air. The revision involved, ”elimination of certain items of dialouge and scenes. It is learned that the effect of the changes is to show that the husband who did not detect the wife’s disguise untill late in the original version discovers it early in the revised version.” This resulted in a reclassification from ”C” to ”B” in the Motion Picture Production Code. If members of her audience do wonder why Greta Garbo disappeared from the screen, for lack of a definitive autobiography written by the actress, Richard Corliss has written, ”Two Faced Woman was never meant to be the end of Garbo’s career. She didn’t think so and neither did M.G.M. There was always intriguing projects being mentioned as her comeback vehicles.” Greta Garbo visited James Mason in 1949 while they were planning to film La Duchesse de langeais, an adaptation of the novel Thirteen, written by Balzac. Bainbridge writes that Greta Garbo, after having made screentests, had learned the script, ”one postponement followed another, through the producer’s finacial difficulties, and at length, through no fault of Garbo’s, the project was reluctantly abandoned.” One would hope that one of the reasons that Greta Garbo had attempted to begin this film was that she had reportedly been interested two years earlier in portraying on screen the novelist George Sand. The directors of Greta Garbo Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller. Silent Film Scott Lord: Swedish Film