Greta Garbo: The Temptress And The Clown
1986 ~ Documentary
This two-part Swedish documentary takes an art film approach to the career and life story of the reclusive screen goddess. The film was made for Swedish television with help from MGM. It features an abundance of Garbo footage, including a number of rarely seen clips and stills. Part 1: The Temptress, follows Garbo from childhood, through her early Swedish films, to Hollywood where, after only three pictures, she rose to stardom. Garbo was born Greta Gustafsson on September 18, 1905 in Stockholm, Sweden. Her family was not well off, and from early childhood, Garbo dreamed of a better life. These dreams included the desire to escape into the fantasy world of films. At age five she reportedly said, "when I grow up, I'm going to be a famous movie star." She studied up on famous directors, and at age 12, convinced two classmates to accompany her in approaching director Mauritz Stiller for an audition. Unfortunately, the group got lost and had to turn back home. Part 2: The Clown is less about the private Garbo and more about her film career; the movie clips and the films speak for themselves. There's "Gilbert and Garbo in Love" (1927), an adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. In real life, Gilbert continued to propose to Garbo but she could never commit to a firm yes. She commented, "of course I've been in love. Marriage? I don't know. I like to be alone. Not always with the same person." According to the documentary, Garbo and Gilbert would argue, she would run to Stiller, only to return to Gilbert once things had cooled. As for Stiller, he had hopes of directing Garbo in The Divine Woman (1928). But MGM had other ideas. They hired fellow Swede Victor Sjostrom for the picture and released Stiller from his contract. Stiller was ill and returned to Sweden, only to die soon after in 1928, reportedly clutching a picture of Garbo at the time of his death. 2 hours.
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