GARBO!

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

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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

Now, there you go, Larry! I never really thought about it that way. It would have been great. But, those crazy backers just didn't have the foresight to realize they would have been making HISTORY! All they cared about was money, and for some reason (I can't remember why.) they just didn't want to go through with it.

As for Garbo silents vs. talkies, I have to agree with everyone. For most of my youth, I never saw her in a silent. Maybe I saw Flesh and the Devil, but nothing else. I was bent on seeing all of her talkies. But, now that I have all of her silents, I would kill to see The Divine Woman. It just slays me that it got lost, but it was not the only one. I think one of Cooper's is lost, as well.

A still from The Divine Woman

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I'm one of those crazy people who likes Two Faced Woman. While Garbo didn't look the same, I think her performance was great.
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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

Well, you know, I have read that Two-Faced Woman was not as big a box office failure as most people think. "It grossed 1.8 million, which was not bad in a market deprived of Europe and Asia," reported Mark Vieria in his book Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy. Even with The Legion of Decency's complaints and all of the controversy over the film, the American public still went to see Garbo. I have also read that what really killed the film was its release just before Pearl Harbor. It was released on December 4th, and was edited due to all of the controversy to show that the husband, Melvyn Douglas, knew all along that Karin and her twin were one and the same. By the time the Legion released its approval on December 18th, nobody cared. Garbo was very hurt by the entire experience from beginning to end.
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Miss Retro
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Re: GARBO!

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I'm in the middle of watching The Saga of Gosta Berling there's something about Garbo in this that is far, far softer and feminine than her MGM films. The camera loves her, it's not possible to look at anyone else when she is on screen.

I have Mark Vieira's book, which is almost perfect, it's just missing her 2 European films, I'm sure there is a good reason for this but there inclusion would have made it a complete filmography. I'd still recommend that Garbo fans buy it.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

You know it's funny, I just started reading Mark's book again. I am in the second chapter on The Temptress when Stiller gets fired and moves on to make Hotel Imperial. There is a reference to the Department of Labor antagonistically checking into him, trying to deport him, because someone complained against his homosexuality. He must have had some secret rendezvous with someone who came out of it displeased. So, he was so upset he made Hotel Imperial "with a FERVOR the Hollywood Swedes had not seen since Gosta Berling." It was a tremendous hit.

But, you are right. The title of the book is A Cinematic Legacy. It would have been nice to have included Gosta Berling and Street of Sorrow. But, I suppose he would have had to travel to Sweden to get info on those. I haven't watch Gosta in a while, but I know what you are talking about. She was directly under Stiller's direction then. When she made The Torrent, he coached her in the evenings, which may or may not have had a similar effect, but by the time she made The Temptress, and Stiller was fired, Mark states that everyone noticed she became more independent and determined. That might have been the reason she lost some of her sweetness (and innocence).

The Saga of Gosta Berling:

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The Street of Sorrow

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Garbomaniac, I finished watching The Saga of Gosta Berling last night and started to Mark Vieira's book. I too have just finished the the chapter on The Temptress a movie I really like.

Mark Vieira recommends Karen Swenson's book on Garbo, I've got the book by Barry Paris, do you have a favorite?

My thoughts on The Saga of Gosta Berling, is that it's beautiful film, well acted and well scripted. It's easy to tell it's filmed from a novel because there are quite obviously missing backstories on some of the characters but Stiller did well with his adaptation. It does move a little slowly at the beginning but after that it gains pace. I would have liked to have seen a couple of more scenes between Gosta and Elisabeth before the race across the lake, to build up even more longing.Greta does shine so brightly in this, she's dressed in white and it's so becoming, lending her an innocence that is missing from her later pictures. Gerda Lundequist was the other female that stood out for me, a great actress. Lars Hanson played the title character very well, he shines here as he would in Hollywood in The Scarlett Letter and The Wind.

Reading the couple of chapters in Vieira's book concerning Maurice Stiller, one can feel a little sorry for Stiller, he had been brought out to direct and didn't direct Greta's first film, the he takes on the Temptress but he just didn't help himself. Directors in Hollywood weren't usually autocrats and if he'd have reigned himself in a little he may have been more successful. My favorite of his movies is Sir Arne's Treasure. Hotel Imperial is a very good Hollywood movie but I think by this time he had turned against Hollywood.

In the only other book I've read on Garbo (not Barry Paris's) this one claimed that Stiller was the one who was wanted in Hollywood and Stiller insisited on taking Garbo, of course this book also claimed that Stiller was Garbo's lover.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

Well, all my books on Garbo are my favorites. I have Swenson's and Paris'. The last three books I have read on her are The Private Life of Greta Garbo by Rilla Page Palmborg, which was the first book written about her in 1931. Then, I read Garbo by Norman Zierold, and am now in the middle of Loving Garbo by Hugo Vickers, which takes into account all who loved her, e.g., Beaton, de Acosta, Schlee, et al. I am anxious now to get back to those two books (Swenson's and Paris'). I usually read while my class takes an exam. They have no idea that while they are stuggling for the right answer, I am lost a world of Greta Garbo! Ha!

I don't know Sir Arne's Treasure. Is it American or Swedish? Silent or talkie? Oh well, if it doesn't star GG, I will probably never see it. And, like you, I feel sorry for Stiller. Poor guy, he just didn't adapt quickly enough. Garbo was forced to. It changed her.

Now, that I am reading Vieira's book again, back and forth with Loving Garbo, I had planned to watch each film to go with each chapter, but as life would have it, I have little time to do that. But, I do plan to watch The Torrent again soon followed by The Temptress.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Sir Arne's Treasure is Swedish, directed by Maurice Stiller and it doesn't feature Garbo, for me it is a finer film that Gosta Berling.

When Garbo died I bought my first book on her but it was so bad by Antonio Gronowicz or something, he claimed to have had an affair with her. It sounded like wishful thinking to me. I bought the book by Barry Paris because I knew him to be quite a good biographer.

Reading Mark Vieira's book it makes me want to rewatch some of her films. I have all the ones that have been released, the one perhaps I should see again is Mata Hari, it didn't make that good an impression on me the first time but I do remember watching it late on at night.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

Garbo made Mata Hari after Dietrich made Dishonored. Both were based on Mata Hari, but Paramount made a looser version after being turned off by the biography on Mata. This is detailed in Vieira’s book, as well. Garbo went into Mata Hari as a competition with Dietrich. MGM went all out to top Paramount’s version and beat Dietrich.

I just watched both films and they are both excellent. They both have their strong and weak points, however. I don’t care much for Victor McLaglen. He is ok, but I would have rather seen someone more dashing in the film. He was such a lug; it was hard to imagine him as the character. Likewise, I don’t care that much for Ramon Novarro. He was too weak for GRETA GARBO; it was hard to imagine her falling for him. Again, someone stronger would have made more sense.

Anyway, I enjoyed both films very much and after a suitable length of time, I will watch them both again. I am a BIG Dietrich fan. I discovered her because of Garbo. She was Garbo’s only rival, and she is magnificent in her own way.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: GARBO!

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I love Marlene, probably more than Garbo, I think possibly because she has more emotion. I like her voice more too. I've watched Dishonoured, I preferred it to Mata Hari but it might be because I saw it first. I agree about Victor McClaglen, although I think the chemistry with Marlene worked, she could have had a better costar. Cary Grant 8) hmm, that would be nice, sorry got off track there. It's in Dishonoured that Marlene works in disguise and she did look completely different dressed as a maid. I do need to see Mata Hari again, I'll wait until I get to that part in Vieira's book. I like Ramon Navarro but I can see your point, Garbo needed a Gilbert.

Marlene tops Garbo for glamour but Garbo can wear plain clothes and look absolutely stunning. Marlene was made for feather, lace and such embellishments.

What is your opinion of Robert Taylor in Camille? I found him a little weak but can't make my mind up if he should be or not.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Vecchiolarry
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hi,

OMG James, I am shocked, shocked that you "don't care that muchfor Ramon Novarro"......
Do you know how many people truly loved this man? Norma Shearer, Marion Davies, Dolores Del Rio, and later Sophia Loren...
And I know poor Pola Negri never got over his murder - - even in 1986, she was mentioning it!
Banish yourself to the cellar!! And, flog yourself with a wet noodle 40 times!!

I know what you mean, Alison, about Robert Taylor. But, I think he was supposed to be a naive dork and semi-country bumpkinish!!
George Cukor would have directed him differently, if he wasn't supposed to be 'under Camille's dominance'.... But, one does want to smack him!!

Larry
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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

OMG, Larry! You are so funny. Ok, ok, I don't really dislike him. He was great in silents. It is really just in Mata Hari that I found him a little weeeek! Ha! I would have preferred a really big star, not that Novarro wasn't big, but I mean someone like Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, or even Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Of course they all would have had to have been borrowed. Novarro was on the lot, and, therefore, an easy choice. It is funny, but even though Garbo was cast opposite major stars like Melvyn Douglas, Robert Montgomery, Clark Gable, George Brent, Herbert Marshall, Frederic March, and Rober Taylor, I really would have liked to see her opposite Cooper, Grant, Power, and even Spencer Tracy. I would have liked to have seen Tracy in the Herbert Marshall role in The Painted Veil with Gable as George Brent. It is always fun to recast these old films, and nothing against Brent or Marshall.

Now, Alison, as to Robert Taylor, he was MGM's answer to Tyrone Power. Power would have been magnificent in Camille as Armand Duval. But Taylor was very handsome and they looked good together; although, I feel the same way you do. I think my favorite combos are Garbo and Gable and Garbo and Barrymore. Another pairing which should have been magnificent was Garbo and Boyer, but it didn't work. He out shown her as the part of Napoleon was larger than life. She was relegated to a supporting role in that film. Sheeeez!

Here is one of my favorite glamour shots from Mata Hari:

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Vecchiolarry
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hello again James,

I know what you're thinking but you are thinking from a 2009 perspective.
Think back to 1931 and none of these males were stars yet (they were up & coming) but Ramon Novarro was a big star in the 20's and early 30's (right up to 1934)....
So, although Garbo did star with them later, in 1931 she had to go with Novarro....

I haven't seen "Mata Hari" in decades and cannot really recall Novarro's role, so perhaps you are right - he didn't really register as an equal in the long run. But, back then he was a "hottie"....
Many a woman would have thrown their undies at him (and did from what I've heard) but I think we all know that he would have thrown them right back!!! :oops:

Larry
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Garbomaniac
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Re: GARBO!

Post by Garbomaniac »

LOL! Now, that's funny!

Ok, I admit you have a point. I will take myself back to 1931! Wow, Ramon Novarro was really something! Well, I have to admit I haven't seen him in ANYTHING other than The Student Prince, Ben Hur, and Mata Hari. So, I looked him up and found that he also played Rupert in The Prisoner of Zenda, one of my all time favorite stories. And, I had no idea it was a silent. I have seen Fairbanks Jr. and Mason; now, I want to see Novarro.

And, actually, I have been ok with his performance in Mata Hari up until this discussion when I started reeling about the possibility of another actor. So, I will just go back to that frame of mind and love the film for what it is, Garbo and Novarro!
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