Thursday, April 12, 2018


The 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 Garbo 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 Sjostrom 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 Moviefone Photo Gallery.
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 Greta 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.
As part of the Toronto International Film Festival, in a series that concluded June 25,2005 with Greta Garbo in the film A Two Faced Woman (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.
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 camePra 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 birthday 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.
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. Along 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.
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." Mai 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 moral, 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.
By contrast, the value of the silent film that Greta Garbo made for Metro Goldwyn Mayer is sentimental. They are romantic melodramas made after Greta Garbo had been discovered by Pabst (The Joyless Street, Die freudlosse Gasse, 1925) and Stiller, with whom Greta Garbo went to the preview of The Torrent (Virveln, 1926 nine reels), the first of her films to be photographed by William Daniels and a film in which she was directed by Silent film director Fred Niblo. Included among them are The Temptress (Fresterskan, Mauritz Stiller-Fred Niblo, 1926 seven reels), Flesh and The Devil, The Mysterious Lady, A Woman of Affairs, and The Kiss, and they can in fact be seen only for the being reminded of having first seen each of the films. Greta Garbo often went to theaters and almost invariably saw each of her movies twice, although she seldom viewed the daily rushes. 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."
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 Garbo, a pensive, or longing Greta Garbo, or the ethereal Greta Garbo that brings us only to the beginning of her mystery.
In his book, Greta Garbo,A Cinematic Legacy, Mark A. Vieira relates his conversation with Clarence Sinclair Bull about the orginal negatives of of the portraits of Garbo taken by the photographer. Sinclair had used a code on the edge of each photo with the date of each session and from these the date of the shooting of each sequence in each particular film can be found. The author Mark Vieira was kind enough to e-mail two pages of photos scanned from these orginal negatives to the present author. Recently, Scott Reisfield has edited more than 100 photographs of Greta Garbo in the volume Garbo- Her Private Collection of Own Portraits. Riesfield is the grandson of Swedish film actor Sven Gustafson. Recently, she was interviewed on Swedish Radio fondly remembering her aunt and her interests. In Frankfurt, Germany, Scott Reisfield noted the development of Greta Garbo's technique as an actress as being attributable to her "poise in front of the camera" and her femininity. In a quote almost as fascinating as the Mysterious Lady we have become acquainted with through her film, Reisfeild addresses questions regarding the Greta Garbo known to those whom had seen her offscreen, "I knew her for years before I comprehended the importance of her career."

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. Ase Kleveland
Greta Garbo

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