GARBO!

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I think Gilbert would have been astounding in the role, if he'd made it through as a screenwriter and character actor, he couldn't have played it had he not found success in some for in talking pictures. Frederic March's portrayal is very Gilbert like, not as much James Mason's, I see James Mason as more of a serious actor whereas Frederic March is more of the matinee idol.

I'd read that David Selznick had to be very careful planning the film so that Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay didn't sue. Frank Fay did go back East and I think became a success again in later years, he might have been part of the model but wasn't the type to give in. I could believe that John Gilbert had the destructive streak in him that could have made suicide a possibility.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I finished reading Barry Paris's book on Garbo. I enjoyed it very much, he'd done a lot of research, spoken to a lot of people and not made assumptions. Garbo is an enigma, there's no doubt about that, a consummate actress with such disdain for her art, wanting to be alone, yet Paris's book would have us believe that it was a psychological state, a depression, an inability to deal with people. She was in some part lonely, disdainful of fashion or clothes. He doesn't try to put people in Garbo's bed or give credence to supposed affairs, the only two he gives credence to are John Gilbert and Cecil Beaton although to that I have to question, Beaton to me was not into women, Garbo might have been a trophy to him. Paris relies heavily in the latter half of the book on conversations recorded by Sam Green apparently with the full knowledge of Garbo herself, which are copied out. They give a window to Garbo's soul almost but I found it most puzzling that someone as private as Garbo would let someone record her conversations. I know why Barry Paris used them in his book but it almost feels like he stole her thoughts.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Tongiht I watched Conquest I'd read that in the Garbo cannon of films that Conquest was a disappointment for her fans. Ican't think why, she's utterly beautiful in this role, reminiscient of Gosta Berling's saga in the lovely empire line dresses that suit her figure so well. Her beauty in this movie is exquisite, her whole look utter perfection. Her perfromance, I forgot it was Garbo, which is often diifcult to do, she left the Garbo persona behind and became a woman in love, Marie Walewska. It might not be historically accurate but it's a beautiful picture.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
User avatar
MichiganJ
Posts: 1406
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm
Contact:

Re: GARBO!

Post by MichiganJ »

I, too, love Conquest and am puzzled that many Garbo fans don't. To me it's her best performance in a talkie after Queen Christina.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS
User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Yes, I'd agree with you there. I like her in Camille too. I'm surprised it bombed at the box office, it has a better storyline than most other Garbo talkies and two good leading actors. Perhaps historical epics, especially ones with Garbo just weren't fashionable at the time.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
User avatar
intothenitrate
Posts: 398
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 3:12 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Re: GARBO!

Post by intothenitrate »

sorry, this is a duplicate
Last edited by intothenitrate on March 26th, 2011, 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington
User avatar
intothenitrate
Posts: 398
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 3:12 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Re: GARBO!

Post by intothenitrate »

sorry, this is a duplicate also. I would delete it if I could.
Last edited by intothenitrate on March 26th, 2011, 6:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington
User avatar
intothenitrate
Posts: 398
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 3:12 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Re: GARBO!

Post by intothenitrate »

I don't own the complete Garbo canon, but I'm getting close. Painted Veil and Susan Lenox are my next planned acquisitions. Last night, I wanted to spend some quality time with my girl Greta, and picked out Romance (1930) to watch. During the first twenty minutes, I couldn't remember if I had even seen it before. Either my memory is getting poor or--perhaps equally likely--it's just not a very memorable film.

HOWEVER, like Garbomaniac writes earlier in this thread:
Garbomaniac wrote: "Of course, I don't mind anything she is in because I watch the film for Garbo--not the story, director, or anything else, although those things help.


On this viewing, I wasn't blissfully carried away by any suspension of disbelief. Instead, I was watching someone I am terribly fond of working their a** off trying to make a decent picture. According to the filmography on IMDB, this was her second talkie after Anna Christie. And I heard somewhere that Garbo, whose English still wasn't that great at the time, had to memorize her lines phonetically and deliver them without fully knowing what they meant. That would be hard enough, especially given that the dialogue of this particular film is littered with long, philosophical monologues about Life and Love. But there's more. In the story, the heroine is an Italian opera singer, and Garbo does her level best to sound Italian in the way she pronounces the English dialogue, modifying vowels and consonants, and throwing in brief flashes of Latin temperament and sensibility. In a silent film, if the intertitle says you're Italian, that's it--you're Italian.

I have to admit that the combination of early recording technology, her thick Swedish accent, and the Latinizing of a stilted dialogue in what was for her a foreign language...well, sometimes I didn't know what in the world she was saying. [There's a great moment when she calls out to an organ grinder in the street and carries on a brief conversation in Italian. I don't speak Italian, but it sounded pretty darn competent.] Given the sheer linguistic rigor of the thing, she didn't seem to have much left over for her trademark emoting--when everything is silent and you can witness the chain of feelings and associations playing across her face.

The story itself has some flaws. Gavin Gordon is a clueless clergyman who falls head over heels for her, only to discover in the last ten minutes that she has had *gasp* liasons. The Garbo character is then supposed to have some kind of bone-chilling remorse for not keeping herself "pure" for some puritanical bozo down the road. I'm pretty sure that this little tragic device rang as phony in 1930 as it would today, but Garbo does her best to "sell it," good soldier that she was.

The TCM "bumper" on my copy indicates that I recorded it during the 31 Days of Oscar programming, and a title card says that Garbo was nominated for Best Actress for this film. I don't know who actually won that year, but if the award were given for sheer mental and emotional labor, she should have won it hands down.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington
User avatar
moira finnie
Administrator
Posts: 8176
Joined: April 9th, 2007, 6:34 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: GARBO!

Post by moira finnie »

Just a note to remind others that two infrequently aired Greta Garbo silent movies are scheduled for tonight/early tomorrow (Sunday, April 2) on TCM. First up is The Kiss, Garbo's last silent that pairs her with Conrad Nagel (unfortunately, though not as disastrously as in 1928's The Mysterious Lady). A very young, 20-year-old Lew Ayres catches the eye of her neglected wife, who toys with him, like a panther playing with a mouse--not fully realizing the effect that she has.

The second is The Single Standard, which I've never seen but hope to enjoy, especially since Nils Asther is her co-star. I recently saw another film directed by John S. Robertson called His Greatest Gamble (1934) and was very impressed. Maybe this one is worthwhile too? If you have seen either of these, I hope you will comment:

12:00 AM ET
Image
The Kiss (1929)
A woman's generosity to an amorous youth leads to tragedy.
Dir: Jacques Feyder Cast: Greta Garbo , Conrad Nagel , Anders Randolf .
BW-62 mins, TV-PG,

1:15 AM
Image
The Single Standard (1929)
In this silent film, a free-spirited debutante tries to prove that women can love as carelessly as men.
Dir: John S. Robertson Cast: Greta Garbo , Nils Asther , John Mack Brown .
BW-71 mins, TV-PG,
Avatar: Frank McHugh (1898-1981)

The Skeins
TCM Movie Morlocks
User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by JackFavell »

Did you get a copy of The Single Standard, Moira?

I have seen The Kiss, but not The Single Standard, although I do have a copy of the second one here somewhere. Lew Ayres is far more interesting than Nagel in The Kiss, and it skews the entire movie, but I do like the way the story works it's way around. It's a shame she didn't have a stronger leading man.
User avatar
intothenitrate
Posts: 398
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 3:12 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Re: GARBO!

Post by intothenitrate »

I watched Garbo last night in The Mysterious Lady (1928). It's a very solid picture with lots of chances to admire Greta's ethereal beauty. Conrad Nagel holds up well as the love interest and Gustav von Seyffertitz still has the power to stress you out as Garbo's possessive mentor in the spy biz.

What struck me as remarkable this time around, something that I had appreciated but never quite became conscious of, was the way that Garbo -- as a 23 year old -- was able to convey the worldly awareness of a person many years her senior. That is, I never feel like I'm watching a young woman. When I think of a 23 year old playing a pithy role today, there's a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required. But with Garbo, she seems older and wiser than most of the other actors on the screen. Even when she shows uncertainty or vulnerability, it never comes from a place of callowness.

Still amazed.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington
User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by JackFavell »

Gosh, that's so true! I never think of Garbo as a 'young' woman, no matter how young she actually is. She is all woman, no little girl there at all, like most of today's stars. Heck, Jennifer Aniston must be at least 40 now and she's still playing a baby.
RedRiver
Posts: 4209
Joined: July 28th, 2011, 9:42 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by RedRiver »

I'm going to guess my precious Jen is about 42. I like Jen!
User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Garbo never played a young woman once she came to America, at least not in the films I've seen, even in her first silents, she might start off young but she ends up being worldly and conveying age. Only in Gosta Berlin's Saga do I remember her playing a girlish character.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
User avatar
intothenitrate
Posts: 398
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 3:12 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Re: GARBO!

Post by intothenitrate »

I recently got a copy of The Painted Veil, which I was pretty happy about. In that one, her character is a lot less worldly than usual. When the film opens, we see her living with her parents in (I think) Austria. She seems a lot like people described her in real life -- warm and uncomplicated. Later, after she marries the Herbert Marshall character and moves to China, she is pursued by a very unscrupulous George Brent.

Marshall is a workaholic, and Brent takes her around to see the sights. It's pretty clear what is on his mind, but she thinks he's just being nice. When he finally steals a kiss, it shocks her. Without seeing her performance, one might think, "How could she not see that coming?" but it isn't incongruous with the way she's playing the character. She was a somewhat sheltered, trusting person who had no defenses against a duplicitous and opportunistic bounder.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington
Post Reply