It would have been the late, great Greta Garbo’s birthday today. Has one of my favourite actresses it’s only fair that I let you in on why I love her. So here is a few of the silents and talkies that made her famous.
Here’s a clip from the Waltz. You’ll see straight away from Garbo’s facial expressions how good an actress she was. She manages to look aloof and seductive at the same time while making the lack of talking work in her favour. She looks like she’s been acting for decades yet she’s only 21 in this film.
Anna Karenina (1935)
This is a talkie film. There’s been many adaptions- Vivien Leigh played her and most recently Keira Knightly has played the doomed lover. But no one will beat Garbo. LOOK AT HER EYES! The clip I’ve chosen for this piece is when she commits suicide. Gruesome I know but this clip may has well have been from a silent film. Nothing works better than the music and the expressions Garbo can express. She looks perfect for the role and finished the film off perfectly, just like in Leo Tolstoy’s original book.
Mata Hari (1931)
I couldn’t think of the perfect clip to put up for this so I chose the trailer. This is based on the real story of Mata Hari who was an exotic “sexy” dancer during World War I and was shot for espionage in 1917. Garbo plays Hari perfectly from the dancing and relationships to the ending scenes when she’s caught and charged. It’s an emotional film that’s quite different to most war films you may have seen. The story of Mata Hari is fascinating.
The Kiss (1929)
Maybe Garbo’s finest performance? If there’d have been talking in this film it really wouldn’t have worked. In today’s films it’d be a massive fight and argument. The Kiss shows how love can change and how it can destroy what you have. It brings in unhappiness and fear while showing the happiness that is available in other places. This clip shows Garbo’s decision.
Garbo was a screen goddess throughout her short career and is still remembered today for her on screen persona and later life shunning of the public. Have a look at her back catalogue of work. You won’t be disappointed.