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Garbo Dies!


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Antar--are you a Garbo fan? I am and it's hard to find people who want to talk about her. One thing that always sticks with me about Garbo that I find extremely amusing is that she collected those little troll dolls with the fuzzy hair. Supposedly she hid them under her couch and around the house when she knew people were coming over. Not many people know that about her--unless they've read certain bios on her. It's quite intriguing to think of this ultra-sophisticated, transcendant beauty collecting those ugly little dolls. Just a tidbit for non-Garbomaniacs to think about :)

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Excellent topic antarcticexile! I've always ranked Garbo as the single greatest actress ever in cinema! (NOTE: Even legendary OSCAR Champ: *KATE HEPBURN also agrees!) The camera loved her-face, like nobody else. That is one of the major reasons she quit! She was worried about that unbelievably stunning face, aging. She did attempt a comeback, I've seen the screen test. Around l948 & in color. I think one of the main reasons for her persona, staying-power,etc is the reason she only made B & W films.

The ACADEMY however, was, up-until around late l930's, known to be pretty currupt & controlled by the men whom formed it. L.B. Mayer-(l885-l957) despised her, but needed her $$$ & her never winning the OSCAR, is one of the all-time OSCAR-highway robberies!? But expected, when one sees the entire of it. *FRANK CAPRA'S-(l897-l99l) famous clean-up of the ACADEMY, when he became president helped. But for this amazing creature, her greatest roles were behind her by then! She had 3 noms. "Anna Christie"/ "Camille" & "Ninotchka" But l933's "Queen Christina," is likely her most legendary role. & '35's "Anna Karenina" also. NY Film Critics did'nt ignore her though! They gave her Best Actress for: "Anna K" & "Camille." But she was mostly concerned about her eyes/wrinkles,etc. One of the reasons for the sunglasses in later yrs. For fans of Garbo! For many, well since her death, at 84 in l990. Her ashes were kept by her niece. Until a couple years ago. They had an actual burial of them in Stockholm, Sweden. & You'd have to vote for the sound/Garbo. Although, I agree with Leonard Maltin, on possibly her most seductive role being: l927's "Flesh and the Devil."

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Silent or Sound? That is definately a difficult decision where this lady is concerned (if it were anyone else I could make my mind up easily). You've gotta love Garbo's low, throaty voice, but to see her emoting without a sound in all those silents is something to behold. She just does it for me either way. I like HER in both, but if I had to choose, I'd go for the sound, because the movies just seem better (maybe??). Oh, I don't know...

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It's a hard decision to make. She developed her voice so well for the 30's, but I love how haunting she is when you can't hear her.

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Let me refine the question: silent Garbo/Gilbert or "Queen Christina"? Don't think in terms of how great any movie is compared to another, just their on screen chemistry.

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Garbo to me is one of those classic screen personas that you can't help but like. I have never met anyone who didn't like her. She just captures you. I think her best was "Queen Christina," and I also enjoyed "Anna Karenina." In reply to silent or sound Garbo, I'd have to say I enjoy more of her sound films.

What I find most fascinating about her is that she became a recluse to the general public, but chose New York as her home. And on top of that, she took her walks every day - living and walking around the greatest metropolis in the world is not the best way to stay out of the public eye. I think she enjoyed it to a degree - a Garbo sighting was something to talk about, and I'm sure she knew that.

All in all she was an amazing woman. To the day she died, she never lost the allure that she possessed in her films.

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I definately prefer the silent Garbo/Gilbert films to "Queen Christina". There was so much more passion between them then--maybe because they were actually in love off screen. And I'm always wondering what they were really saying to eachother in some of those intimate scenes in "Flesh and the Devil"!

In response to moviejoe about Garbo living in NY--one of the funniest things I read that she said was, "I don't have to live in New York...I could be in Hell." And I think the fact that NY IS such a metropolis is the reason she was able to get lost in the crowd, amoung people who are so busy and hurried, she could take her walks and generally not be bothered. She also loved to "people watch" and what better place to do that?

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My last question was a pretty blatant attempt to get you to swing in favor of her silent films, at least to some small degree. But of course "Queen Christina" is an amazing movie. A few months ago I played it for a friend of mine who really isn't any kind of movie fan and had never heard of Garbo before and he was genuinely impressed by the magnitude of her presence and her mystique.

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I hate to admit this, but I followed the Great Garbo one afternoon years ago during a cold October afternoon. A fellow Garbo addict and I were determined to spot the great one. We watched her leave her apartment building in the mid-50s in mid-Manhattan. The building, even now, is terribly unpretentious--the type that actually means money. She wore the usual dark glasses, a floppy, wide-brimmed hat and a very over-sized coat that came down to her ankles. She sported tennis shoes. She window shopped but after an hour of this, my friend and I had left her alone. Up close, she was like any other wrinkled, elderly woman you see around Manhattan. She wore no make-up. There was no trace of that surreal beauty. Her hair was lank and gray and pepper. But--she did have that curious, long-stride gait that I remembered from her movies. It was like meeting some of the other screen legends--Orson Welles (1950), Judy Garland (1951), Bette Davis, Crawford, Lucille Ball, etc. It's a real shock to see these legends are mere human beings. The only screen queen i refused to see in order to keep my illusions was Liz Taylor when she starred in "The Little Foxes." My buddy told me that of all the movie greats he's seen in person, she actually surpassed her screen beauty.

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Paty - I must say, I am terribly impressed with the roster of stars you have had the priviledge of meeting. If you feel inclined to, please feel free to share your experiences of meeting them.

 

And to Lolmstead - I agree with your statement that Garbo probably felt that she could fit in easily in a big metropolis such as New York, but I do think she was aware of the attention that she got, especially since she always wore the sunglasses, hat, and dowdy clothes.

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You're right moviejoe. Garbo was well aware of being recognized. Another story (and this could have happened once or on several occasions, I'm not sure) is that she was walking and saw that someone recognized her and while she past him, she simply held her finger to her lips as if to say, "shh". He just smiled and let her go.

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Although I don't appreciate Garbo like I probably should I admire the lady for her mystic. She walked away at a time when jucier films were being offered at the studios and never looked back. I believe she became more popular and admired as a mystery woman than a star. Who knows what would have happened if she continued making films?

I do hope that she enjoyed her "I want to be alone" life

since apparantly that's what she wanted.

A beautiful woman in her prime and a naturally aging phenomenon in old age. Great stuff!

 

Mongo

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I'm going to tell one more true-life sighting of Garbo and then I'll shut my big mouth. But if some of you are as Garbo obsesesed as I am, you might appreciate it. In l979, the wonderful old Regency Theater here in NYC held three month festival of true, genuine movie queens: one week of Louise Brooks, one of Kay Frances, two weeks of Bette Davis, two of Garbo, etc. The night I went with a friend to catch "Queen Christina" and "Love" the theater was jammed. There were incredible, huge posters of the Great Diva lining the lobby walls. The movies were beautifully restored. At the end, as we left, we noticed a lone woman sitting at the very rear of the theater. What made her stand out was that she wore dark glasses, a floppy, wide-brimmed hat and she held a handkerchief up to her face where she'd been crying. Everyone whispered: "My God, it's her!" No one approached her and after she got up and left, my buddy and I went up to the maanger who was in the lobby. We asked him: "Was that her?" He nodded his head. "She always sits in that same rear seat. We never bother her. She wants to cry alone."

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Just to know I'd sat in the same theatre at the same time as Garbo would have been enough for me!

 

What thoughts does this crowd have toward Garbo's performance in NINOTCHKA, the movie touted as "Garbo Laughs?"

 

And just for the record, I prefer the aura of mystery that the silent Garbo provided.

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Pretty please, paty...I'll make the popcorn, put another log on the fire, and cue the mood music. Look, we're all gathered around to listen to your recounting--I'd love to hear all, bud!

 

Alix, I know what you mean about Garbo in the silents. When I think of her in my mind's eye she's an inscrutably romantic, reflecting on her heartbreak, beyond words...ahh, Ninotchka's fun, especially since it gave Melvyn Douglas a chance to play in a clever script---but I could've lived without ever hearing her laugh.

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