Thursday, May 14, 2009

Greta Garbo

Swedish Film

Greta Garbo banner designed for Scott Lord by Ulrich in Berlin, Germany; color tint added by Amy in Southern California.

scottlord Greta Garbo: den har sida i Svensk

Greta Garbo

Greta GarboThe 100th birthday
of Greta Garbo was a perfect time to recognize the efforts of Ase
Kleveland, if only to introduce her as a proponent of classic film and the
viewing of film with an interest in film history; she during September
2005 at the Cinemateket Filmhuset not only introduced Greta Garbo to
Swedish audiences, but marked the love for the actress throughout
Scandanavia. In an e-mailed correspondence to the present author, she
wrote, "Many thanks for your greetings. I can assure that the Garbo
celebrations was a great success indeed." Both Stockholm and Goteborg
screened the Greta
film Camille
(Kameliadamen, George Cukor, 1937) on September 16, 2005, the
former at the Biografen Sture, the latter at the Biografen Svea. The film
co-stars Robert Taylor and Henry Daniell. Just as the films of Victor
have toured the United States, the Greta Garbo Centenary is
marked by screenings of films representative of the body of work the
actress appeared in on screen before her retiring. Among the films being
shown near her birthday, and into early December of 2005, are a four minute print of Greta Louise Gustafson in Luffar-Petter and a two minute print of her crossing the Atlantic from Stockholm to the United States in an unidentified film that would seen to more than a number of dedicated Garbo viewers to be footage from the film En decemberdag pa Atlanten, directed by Ragnar Ring and photographed by Gustav Berg, there being an account of Garbo and Ring having spoken to each other while crossing the Atlantic.

Greta Garbo.

In the
United States, during the summer of 2005 the Niles Essany Silent Film
Museum added a film to its June schedule in which Greta Garbo is at her
most beautiful because it is one of her most melodramatic, the silent film
The Kiss (Kyssen, Feyder, 1929, seven reels) with Conrad
Nagel. An emailed thankyou-newsletter from the San Fransisco Silent Film
Festival not only announced the opening of the Edison Theater of the
Silent Film Museum in Niles and its series of films for the summer in its
listings of upcoming events, but added among its listings a week long
screening of films of Greta Garbo at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto,
during which the Silent Garbo film A Woman of Affairs (Grona hatten,
Clarence Brown, 1928, nine reels), starring Lewis Stone and John Gilbert
and including Johnny Mack Brown and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was screened on
September 21, 2005. A Woman of Affairs flickered across the
silverscreens of the Filmhuset in Stockholm, Sweden to begin the month of
October, 2005 and inside the screening rooms of the Garbo Society in
Hogsby, Sweden on November 14, 2004. Accompanied by the Hogsby exhibition, the film later was introduced by Kevin Brownlow during a January, 2006 screening in Erlangen, Germany.

Greta GarboAs part of the Toronto International Film Festival, in a series that
concluded June 25,2005 with Greta Garbo in the film A Two Faced
(George Cukor), there was a screening of not only Part I + Part
II of The Saga of Gosta Berling, an entire 183 minutes, but also of
a ten minute print of The Divine Woman (Victor Sjostrom, eight reels, 1928) and
a four minute print of Reklamfilm Pub Greta Garbo (1921, Ragnar
Ring. The silent Garbo film Flesh and the Devil (Atra, Clarence Brown, 1926 nine reels), starring Lars Hanson and John Gilbert, The
Mysterious Lady
(Den mystika kvinna, Fred Niblo, 1928 nine
reels) and the A Woman of Affairs were projected onto screens in
Finland at the Forssa Silent Film
Festival, August 27-28, 2004. The Forssan Elavienkuvien Teatteri was open
from 1906 to 1930 before being reopened in 2001. The Divine Woman, directed by Victor Sjostrom and starring Greta Garbo was featured on YouTube in a 2007 listing and could be viewed as a fragment of the lost film over the internet; it has since been relisted and can still currently be viewed in a 2009 listing on Google Video-You Tube.

The silent film of Greta Garbo is featured in the Kevin Brownlow documentary Trick of the Light narrated by James Mason and is
presently offered online in Windows media, divided into two parts and
including the silent film documentary Hollywood
Trick of the Light pt. 2, by Greta Garbo visited James Mason in 1949 while they were planning to film La Duchesse de Langeais, an adaptation of Balzac's novel The Thirteen.

Greta Garbo Kevin Brownlow is
the director of the biographical documentary Garbo (2005), a film
which quickly after having been aired was mentioned in the e-mailed posts of members that
correspond using several different Yahoo mailing list groups in the United States and which
was also screened at the Filmhuset as part of the Swedish Film Institute's
marking Garbo's 100th birthday. Not all of the posts having had been being on mailing lists specificlly dedicated to the actress Greta Garbo, in an e-mailed correspondence to the present author, John Gilbert biographer Leatrice Gilbert Fountain, wrote, "I hoped you watched the Garbo documentary on Sept 6 on TCM. I run through a lot of it and am very pleased the way they handled my father. Perhaps you can watch for a rerun." In the documentary she introduces Flesh and the Devil, describing the actor and actress during a sequence that is spliced with a segment of film of the director Clarence Brown; while describing Greta Garbo as having been independent of other people. Brown in the film praises Greta Garbo for her work in from of the camera and her work during retakes by noting that behind the camera he was at a distance from her and that her acting translated into movement what he wanted to appear on the screen. Interviewed in the
documentary are Greta Garbo author Karen
Swenson, Greta Garbo, who is more Garbo like in her providing an emotional rather than detailed account of the actress, and author Mark Vieira, who introduces cameraman William Daniels and The Torrent. In that the documentary begins to address the extratextural discourse that accompanied the characters that were to be portrayed on screen by Greta Garbo, it begins with footage of the city Stockholm and the two visits Greta Garbo made to the city, as well as brief footage of Sjostrom and Stiller bookended by footage of Swedish actress Mimi Pollack. Near to the 100th bithday of Greta Garbo, Mark Vieira emailed members of a Yahoo group announcing that his forthcoming book will be about Irving Thalberg and that it will include many photographs of Norma Shearer and Jean Harlow. The daughter of Norma Shearer, bookstore owner Katherine Thalberg, died in the beginning of January, 2006.

Two of the brief scenes introducing Sunday Silent Nights on Turner Classic Movies are from the silent films of Greta Garbo. A scene from the film Flesh and the Devil with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert dancing together is used in the introductory sequence, and later in the sequence a scene from The Kiss with Greta Garbo in close up is used. The scene with Lillian Gish peering out at the storm is from The Wind, directed by Victor Sjostrom. The other silent films in the Turner Classic Movies introductory sequence, all of which were filmed in the United States, include two scenes from Our Dancing Daughter (1928, Beuamont), one which is a room full of balloons and the other an actress in front of a mirror, The Big Parade (Vidor), with John Gilbert kissing a leading lady, The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse with a brief scene of Rudolf Valentino smoking, two scenes from Greed (von Stroheim), one with actress Zazu Pitts in a hat and the other to conclude the sequence with Gibson Gowland, Noah's Ark with Goerge O'Bien looking into the rain, The Crowd with actor James Murray smiling, Show People with Marion Davies using a handkerchief as a prop and a brief clip from Keaton's The Cameraman that shows his eyes.

Greta GarboThe Associated Press marked the 100th birthday with Jan-Erik Billinger having announced the opening of a new library at the Swedish Film Institute, one that includes film magazines from the United States from the early silent film period. Jan-Erik Billinger, who remarked the it was mostly coincidental that the library was ready in time for Garbo's centenarry, is the Head of the Information Department at the Swedish Film Institute. Soon there will be a display at the Swedish Film Institute; when
Pictures of Greta (Bilder av Greta), a collection of photographs,
is finished being viewed at the Stura Cinema in Stockholm, it will be
transferred to the Film House.

Swedish Film-GarboAlong with it will be shown costumes the
actress wore while filming The Saga of Gosta Berling with director
Mauritz Stiller, her private correspondence as well as her personal
belongings from childhood. Of the film that first paired Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson, one webpage author on the internet, Hazel, in her latest update reviews the onscreen performance of Greta Garbo, "Already in her first movie, Garbo gave a nuanced and mature performance." An e-mailed newsletter during April of 2006 from Kino Video announced the release on DVD of the first movie in which Greta Garbo appeared, The Saga of Gosta Berling, along with the release two other films directed by her first director, Mauritz Stiller.

Greta Garbo

Still photograph from the film Wild Orchids scanned from the
original negative and sent via yahoo e-mail by author Mark A

In The Perfect Murder (Det Perfekte Mord),directed by Eva
Isaksen, Anna-Lena Hemstrom believes herself to be Garbo,or rather the characters
portrayed by Greta Garbo. During the making of a film, she enacts
particular scenes from Garbo's films, in her bedroom before making love,
the actress on the screen becoming the spectator within the film through
an identification with the action of the film actress, the idealized
appropriated into the dramaturgy of the erotic;her movements are those of
Greta Garbo in character- the only way to become authentic is to be the
absolute object of her look, and only then by being her paramour.
Intringuingly, the fabula of the film, the events of each particular
scene, and its syhuzet, the presentation of its plotline, merge as its
characters encounter each other, as she entices each lover toward fantasy,
toward the sensual. Visually, the film represents the act of love as being
both abstract and concrete: it only depicts the actress during sex in as
much as each instance, and the accompanying dialouge, is particularly
connected to the narrative, there being a specificality within each of the
scenes upon which the plotline is dependent, one in which the actress is
convinced that she knows each of her lovers from a specific Greta Garbo
film and that she has to make love to them according to the juncture of
events that comprise the scene in the film. She is an actress entertaining
the fantasies of the actress Greta Garbo and yet, although there are no
abstract shots during the film, their being shown in the bedroom
uninterruped by cut in shots that would add meaning to the scene, sex
acquires something that is metaphoric in that she is Garbo and for each of
her lovers it can only be fantasy, it becoming intangible at the very
moment of sexual climax to where their very corporeality is unknowable,
that in fact quite possibly known only by Garbo as well- there is an
objectification of the actress as Garbo and it is her tragic beauty that
has validity, her making love as the Garbo she has portrayed on the screen
that carries her to the next lover from a different, later film of Greta
Garbo, sex a metaphor for Garbo's elusiveness and her star quality. Early in the film Anna-Lena Hemstrom is in the role of an actress in the audience of the on-screen Greta Garbo, "How can one surrender oneself so completely." From there ,in a white bedroom and white nightgown symbolic of post-coital solitude, she introduces an eroticism of both reclusiveness and of sphinx-like mystery, of Garbo in character and only in character and of Anna-Lena Hemstrom as Greta, in character and only in character whispering, "Not now." "Not now."
Zetterling has said, "I don't have Garbo's austere tragic beauty." Just as
the film establishes the narrative on two levels, that of the actress that
can play a character on screen other than herself and invites the director
of the film she is making to her apartment and that of the actress as
Garbo in front of the camera, only known through the fulfillment of their
being conjugal, Garbo herself was described by Nils Asther, who starred
with her in Wild Orchids (Vilda orkideer, Sidney Franklin,
1929, eleven reels) and The Single Standard (En kvinnas
, 1929, eight reels), as being shy, while Lon Chaney is quoted as
having said, "I told Garbo that mystery served me well and it would do as
much for her." Norma Shearer had said, "She was very cordial with me- and
then, after clasping my hand, she was suddenly gone." In his Film Essays
and Criticism, a valuable introduction to film theory, Rudolf Arnheim
gives Greta Garbo only a two page "portait", but it is from 1928 and may
be more than what is a cursory glance, his writing, "On cat's feet, her
coat pulled tightly about her and her hands folded in her lap, Greta Garbo
passes censorship." Arnheim sees Greta Garbo as erotic, as an erotic object.
The Perfect Murder has been aired in the United States on The
International Channel. Eva Isaksen newest film is currently being
unspooled in Norway.

Kerstin, a Swedish writer from Stockholm, was among the first of several Swedish bloggers to notice that Greta Garbo, the actress and the mystery, will be portrayed by Anna-Karin Eskilsson in the film Garbo, Svenska Dagbladet having announced during September of 2008 that the film, a biography, was slated to be lensed by Budd Bregman and screened to audiences during 2010.

Greta Garbo-Flesh and the Devil.

Louise Brooks (Diary of a
Lost Girl, Das Tagebuch Einer Verlorenen
Pabst, 1929 nine reels) had
written, "Garbo is all movement. First she gets the emotion, and out of
the emotion, comes the dialouge."

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

And yet, not only was
Greta Garbo an actress, a figure of shadow sauntering across the screen,
gracefullness moving as image, but she insofar as she was sought after was
also a model, particularly when photographed by Arnold Genthe, Ruth Harriet Louise, George Hurrel, Edward Steichen or Cecil Beaton- Garbo
brought had with her the quality of being a model long after the last
publicity photo of her in studio costume. It was the quality of being a
model that is particularly shown by three photographs by Nickolas Muray,
whether it is an ebullient Greta
, a pensive, or longing Greta
, or the ethereal Greta
that brings us only to the beginning of her mystery.

Greta Garbo

The Nordic Museum (Nordiska musset) in Stockholm, on Djurgarden, recently shown an exhibition of photos of herself owned by the actress Greta Garbo, which began June 2, 2006 and ran September 3,2006. Present during the exhibition was Derek Reisfield. Included in the exhibition are portraits taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull during the filming of Romance (Romantik, 1930), Mata Hari (1931) and Som du vill ha mig (1932). The year 2007 marked the Centennial of the museum.

"The Truth about Garbo is in pictures." The year 2006 also marks the online publication by Ture Sjolander of Garbo, his 1971 biography of Greta Garbo. It follows Garbo from her childhood and her home at Blekingatan, in Stockholm, to her third visit to Sweden in 1935, to photos taken while the actress was living as a recluse, her briefly passing the camera and allowing it only a glimpse of herself.

Greta Garbo

And yet, before Garbo,it seems Swedish cinema was established by a
director who later came to the United States to direct Lillian Gish in
screenplays by Frances Marion, Victor

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check out the Greta Garbo swicki at

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