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Hi all, I'm going to get a lot of hate repleys for this but here goes. What was so special about Greta Garbo? Was she such a great actress? Well not in my book. I felt she overacted in all her films. Just because she always said "I Want To Be Alone" does'nt make her a superstar. Compared to Joan Crawford, or Bette Davis ect she does'nt come close. Well I'll await your repleys. Please no hitting, or yelling lol. thank you, Larry.

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I can't really state an opinion on this because I've only seen 3 of her movies, "Ninotchka", "Queen Christina," and "Anna Christie." Liked the first two, didn't like the last so much. I'm looking forward to watching them on TCM this month, just to see what all the fuss is about.

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I've seen every film she made outside of Peter the Tramp and The Saga of Gosta Berling and I do see how one could assume she overacted but I do believe Garbo was a breath of fresh air when she came along and that generally goes over big in Hollywood. Add to that tremendous beauty, individualism, mystique and all that jazz, and you got a fairly unique woman who entirely deserves to be remembered fondly for having to hold her dignity while appearing in silly, derivative vehicles again and again. If it appears she overacted, think of the scripts she was roped into making then re-examine the performances. Her work in Ninotchka, a fresh, original film for Garbo, is anything but overdone. Garbo was no dummy; she got out and stayed out when others suffered years of steadily declining crap. Garbo appeared in her share and that she holds the position she does for such generally melodramatic work is certainly something to be impressed by. Or maybe I'm just easily impressed.

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Thanks, Larry. Disagreements are what makes the world go 'round. I love 'em when they're good. Even I disagree with myself. I wrote that I've seen every film she made except the two stated. Oops, I forgot about the lost The Divine Woman, of which I've only seen the reel that TCM occasionally shows and will be included on the TCM Archives disc in the new boxed-set. I think my fascination with Garbo comes from my impressionable days of youth when awe stood in for developing powers of critical thinking. If I was presented the challenge of understanding Garbo's stature, or popular position, now, I'd probably wonder what all the fuss was/is about. Personally, I prefer Carole Lombard anyday...

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I'm 19 years old but am a huge fan of classic films, but because I'm so young I'm still learning about the great movies and actors/actresses out there. I am looking forward to see Greta Garbo's work this month! I haven't seen a movie of hers yet. However...I adore all the photos I have seen of her. I have been a big fan/collector of photographs of her for years but haven't seen any of her films...strange, huh? But I love her mysterious, artsy look. I find her unique appearance amazing and something different than the usual classic actress look. So I am excited to see her on the screen this month!

-Will

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Has anyone seen the new book on GRETA GARBO: A CINEMATIC LEGACY by Mark Vieira? I just purchased a copy. I know TCM is running a contest for this book, but I never win and didn't want to wait. Every one of her films is covered in depth by Vieira. This beautiful book is lavishly illustrated with many rare stills. A must have for anyone interested in Garbo and her films.

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I haven't seen enough of her movies to be a real judge. I think I have seen maybe two and a half. However I have always been more intrigued by her image and mystery then her movies. They are playing Ninotchka at a renovated theater that plays classic films and assuming I don't have to much studying to do by then I plan to go. That's really the only film of hers I really want to see (They are probably playing it on TCM this month but I haven't looked). I think after I see her in a different kind of role I will be better able to judge what I think of her as an actress.

 

Also as far as it seeming like she over acted because of the roles she had, I suppose that could be true but then I think about someone like Ingrid Bergman who was in a lot of films that could have come of melodramatic but didn't because of how she played them. But like I said I haven't really seen enough to judge. Maybe by the end of the month I will have a better appreciation for her ability

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I will preface my remarks by saying I love Garbo.

 

That said, I think her silents films are her better films and that her acting style was more suited to them. She did do some good films in the 30's but love her in silents. And she was a beautiful woman (with unfortunate hair styles.)

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after watching the documentary I think I am inclined to agree with you about the silent. They looked pretty good. I was also intrigued by Camille. I have always been attracted to Garbo's image so if I can find some films of her's I really like I think I could be a fan.

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Wow. My daughter and I (she's 11) watched "Flesh and the Devil" last night and We had a blast putting words in the players mouths. It was a lot of fun. We're planning a silent movie night with my sister and we're going to watch all the Garbo silents they played last night.

 

As far as Garbo's greatness is concerned, I guess I see what the fuss was about. Sort of. Funny though--even though Garbo was the evil **** (loved her face when she was trying to decide--"Bracelet, true love...bracelet, true love..." wonderful) she came across better than John Gilbert, who either looked like a deranged lunatic or a poleaxed ox.

 

 

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I went to my corner Best Buy store yesterday to buy the Garbo Signature collection of DVDs. This Best Buy is the biggest one in NYC and you'd think the clerks there would be smart as a whip. Not so. When I couldn't find the Garbo movies I asked a clerk for help. He went to the computer and said, "How do you spell Gabbo?" I said: "It's not Gabbo. It's G-A-R-B-O. Greta Garbo!" He typed and typed and said; "Nothing's coming up. Is Gabbo a director or movie star?" That was too friggin' much. I left this moron and this morning brought my Garbo movies at a different Best Buy. Also--and this has nothing to do with Garbo--I also brought the Bela Lugos Franchise Collection and the Hammer Horror Studios Collection. All I can say is--thank God for credit cards!

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Im a BIG fan of CAMILLE, ANNA KARENINA & QUEEN CHRISTINA.

 

Last night, I watched FLESH & THE DEVIL. Gilbert was good, but he had on way too much makeup. He overplayed his scenes, while Garbo underplayed hers.

 

Also, in her films, Garbo always had an intriguing "look". I don't know if it was her expressions, or her face, but "it" was there in her silents & talkies.

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That's funny, patypancake! Hope you are enjoying the Garbo dvds. I am (anxiously) waiting for my Garbo Collection to arrive from Amazon.com. I'd also like to say that as far as the original post by xxmass is concerned, in which he asks what was so special about Garbo, well, if you can't see it, then it would be hard to convince you of her mystique and astounding screen presence and depth. If one were to pick Five actors/actresses in film history with the most allure onscreen, many film fans would have Garbo on their list. I'm not saying she was even one of the greatest screen actresses, although I love her work. But she had an undeniable mystique and watching her onscreen is almost like watching some enigmatic creature from another species....meant in the best possible way. She was, in a word, sublime. She had an ethereal glow that literally jumps off the screen. There were depths to Garbo that we have rarely seen since, and certainly not in recent years.

 

As you can tell, I'm definitely a fan of Garbo, but perhaps she is an acquired taste. Some people could never get past her accent (which I love). But that's what's cool about this thread. There seems to be mixed opinions about Garbo's legacy and that's OK. I, for one, am glad that TCM is at least giving viewers the chance to see so many of her films, so they can judge for themselves. I have a feeling that somewhere, Garbo is smiling........

 

 

 

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Keith, you're so on target about the magic of Garbo. Just watching her move across the screen is like watching a mystical goddess. That's why I've always loved her in "Mata Hari" where Adrian dressed her to the hilt in jewels, sequins, furs, hats, cloaks, etc. And William Daniels lit her scenes with extraordinary care. I can just imagine how this affected all those audiences in the 20s and 30s who beheld her in those old-fashioned movie palaces, many of them perfumed with incense, and an orchestra played background music. I've been fortunate to see most of her movies on the big screen here in NYC at one of the old revival houses--the Regency--where Garbo hypnotized all of us 'young'uns.'

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As previously noted and extraordinarily obvious, Garbo is probably the most fascinating figure in film history. But what I think is the most interesting part of the legend is that the allure and mysticism that we associate with Garbo was grafted onto Garbo by the big MGM machine that transformed a young Swedish girl with bad teeth and crazy hair into a 'goddess' placed worlds apart from the Renee Adorees of the period. Photographs of Garbo in athletic-wear and with sports-teams and animals in 1926 gave way to those classic Clarence Bull shots of just a few years later when the personality was squarely in place. Watching Hollywood leap over new 'types' and always attempting to emulate them is a historically fun thing to do. In Victoria Price's book on her father, there's a photo of Vincent that you could swear was Errol Flynn. That Garbo's success influenced Paramount to haul Dietrich here, Goldwyn to valiantly try to make a go of Anna Sten certainly registers Garbo as an important stepping-stone is film history, but what is generally not noted often is the contempt audiences developed for Garbo as her films became more and more maudlin and stepped far outside the mainstream needs Depression audiences needed. What we're left with now is just over a score of films, slickly done, half of them virtual repeats of others with Garbo cruising through them on auto-pilot waiting for the next time she could take a break and go home. I'm absolutely transfixed by Garbo but, as others here have noted about other personalities at MGM in different threads, it's a crying shame the 'creative' forces at MGM could only come up with the same 'mysterious lady' plot again and again and again. The inspired casting of von Stroheim and Garbo falls anywhere short of entertaining; watching Garbo attempt to convince us she's in love with Robert Montgomery is pretty close to hilarious; and even with Gable she seems she'd rather be taking a bath. I've always slightly loathed MGM for the stupid stuff they forced on talented individuals over and over again because if a formula works once and makes money, then history should repeat it. I applaud Garbo more than anyone else in Hollywood history for turning her back on it when she was handed Two-Faced Woman in an another attempt to make lightning strike twice. Interestingly enough, the performance I find the most satisfying is her German-language version of Anna Christie. Thank Heavens it survived to show how slack the domestic version is. It's fascinating to see interpretations by a new generation exposed to the legend for the first time. She's always been there, and always will, in spite the superficial nonsense of Inspiration, Romance, The Painted Veil, The Single Standard, and even the notion of beauty applied to Garbo by MGM, William Daniels, Clarence Brown, whoever. As Keith noted, the depth in her eyes is what makes one come back to her. I get those little goose-bumps even time I see the ending of Queen Christina or the 'remembering-the-room' sequence. What a magnificent lady! And what a rant for a rainy morning.

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Greta Garbo always has been a special "icon" to me. Her face was one of the very first I watched on TV, when I was a little boy; her final scene in "Anna Karenina" left a mark on me forever, just as Kate Hepburn's walk towards the scaffold at the end of "Mary of Scotland".

 

When I grew up, I "discovered" new actresses to admire: Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert, Norma Shearer, Gene Tierney, etc, and for many different reasons, but still Garbo remained the "icon"...above Marilyn, Dean et al.

 

It's true that sometimes her acting-style can struck as dated or overacted, for example in "Grand Hotel", I found Crawford's acting to be much more convincing, "fresh", or maybe more "contemporary"...but on the other hand, after all Garbo was interpreting a world-weary Russian ballerina who had triumphed during the last years of the Russian Empire...

 

I always thought, at least when it comes to her Talking pictures, that her "aura" and screen persona was better suited for "period" films (i.e.: "Camille", "Anna Karenina", "Marie Walewska", etc.) than to "contemporary" movies. Her acting style shone brighter in that kind of films.

 

I think that this "Sphinx" of the Seventh Art, this Divine Swede, achieved immortality, mainly because of that perfect, wondrous, flawless face of hers (her close-ups are priceless), and her genuine triumph, from what I've read, is that in spite of her humble background, her shyness, her "average" intelligence, her lack of a great acting technique/ability (told by people who saw her acting in person, in the flesh), the camera LOVED her, because when she was onscreen nobody could take her eyes off her, like if she were an enchantress...she was transfixed into this divine, aloof, unattainable creature: GARBO.

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I'm with xxmass on this one. I've never understood the fascination with her at all. She was a mediocre actress, only marginally attractive, and I think the urban legend that's engulfs her is rather absurd given her limited abilities. I don't get it. Never have, never will.

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Hi Nodgnoc, Well at least I'm not alone. I'ts good to have someone who agrees with you. I still don't understand why Garbo is so well liked? As I stated in my last post, there were so many other great actress's in her era. Too this day I will never understand why so many people think Grabo was a Superstar? Well to each his/her own. I know that writeing this post I will most likely get alot of hate mail{posts} but all I can say is bring it on lol.Again Nodgnoc thank you for your post.Always, Larry

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Well, had you expressed that it is your 'opinion' that Garbo were these things I could understand you. But you say it as though it were fact. I say, 'to each his own.' And there are many many books and magazines who declared Garbo as the standard by which other actresses were measured. She was 'The Face of the Century', 'Divine',was in the Guiness Book of World Records as the most beautiful woman in the world, adored by camera men and photographers and compared to Duse and Bernhardt. She was the favorite of most legends as Kate Hepburn , Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, and many more.

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Hello Will:

 

Looks like you're being sucked into the 'divine vortex'. ha.

I too became a Garbo fan before I even saw a film. Wait until you see her silents! She's enchanting. CAMILLE is her greatest film IMHO. When you watch a Garbo movie, you usually have to look past the movie itself and just enjoy watching her luminescence and her subtle acting. Garbo is a study. I didn't really appreciate her acting until I watched her in recent years. She is magic.

 

 

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Have you seen CAMILLE or QUEEN CHRISTINA?

 

Garbo was the great tragedienne of the cinema. One thing I've noticed about Greta's suffering. She never whined. A lot of women whine on screen. Garbo had a great nobility about and her suffering as her love making was almost spiritual. She evoked deep emotion, but she was sublime. The only performance I consider her a bit over the top was in Grand Hotel, but as someone pointed out to me, and this person was a ex ballerina, that Garbo's performance was true to the personality of her character; a tempermental prima donna.

 

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Dear Luvsgarbo, I just read your post{all of three of them}. as in one of your post "to each his/her own". What I said was not a fuss, nor written in stone. This is my opinion,and my opinion only. I have seen Camille, and Queen Christina many times trying to figure out what's so special about Garbo. Each time I watch one of her films I always think to myself "am I missing something, could I be wrong??} Look I love film. I own over 6,ooo movies, and will continue to watch, and collect weather it's VHS or DVDs. I will still stick to my guns and avoid Garbo films. Always, Larry.

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Don't know why you would start a thread on Garbo only to trash her, xxmass, but earlier in this thread, you state that you don't know why so many people think she was a superstar. Well, xxmass, it was because Garbo WAS a superstar! In her prime, there weren't many stars who were as popular, or shined brighter than Garbo. That's just a fact. If you don't like her acting, that's merely a matter of taste. But in her time (and still today), many people enjoy her work and we are celebrating her films long after she stopped making them. That says a great deal to me.

 

Again, if you don't understand why so many people, myself included, love her work, then there's no way we can explain it to you. If you want to avoid her films, well, that's your choice. This isn't meant to be spiteful, or as you say, "hate mail," but there IS a reason TCM is celebrating her life and work this month, and sorry, nodgnoc, but to state that Garbo was a "mediocre actress" with "limited abilities" is pretty bold. Based on what standards? Illuminate me......

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