Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo (* 18. September 1905 in Stockholm; † 15. April 1990 in New York; native Greta Lovisa Gustafsson) was Swedish one - American film actress.

As “the Göttliche” Garbo is considered as onethe largest film legends, which Hollywood brought out ever. After its large time as a silent movie star it was then particularly in the 30's successful with films such as Mata Hari , queen Christine or Ninotschka.

Table of contents


Greta Garbo in the year 1924, admission of Henry B. Goodwin
Greta Garbo in the year 1924, admission of Henry B. Goodwin
Greta Garbo, illustration from Meyers lightning encyclopedia, Leipzig, 1932

asDaughter of a sailor buildup Greta Garbo, which was called still Gustafsson at that time, in ärmlichen conditions. After the death of the father she had to work with 14 years as a shop assistant in Stockholm department stores, over its living costs, that the nut/mother and theirto secure two brothers and sisters. It was active for the department store also as Model and arose in two publicity films. Their talent recognizing began it training at the play school of the dramatic theatre in Stockholm. There Greta Garbo of the Swedish becameDirector Mauritz of quiet discovers, which promoted its career and her this soundful artist names gave. After some successful films in Sweden and Germany, under it the much-considered strips Gösta Berlings Saga (1924) and the freudlose lane (1925), they went 1925 both togetherafter Hollywood to MGM. The actress never turned for another Studio.

The Studio did not know first exactly, how it should use the Swedish actress. In the first films the Garbo is to be usually seen as a man-devouring Vamp. Andbut it succeeded to Greta Garbo to fill out even impossible roles as in The Torrent /tides of the passion or The Temptress /the dead dance of the love with lives. The critics discovered immediately the extraordinary talent and praised measure Garbo as sensational discovery.Fate detention for the further process of its career was co-operation with cameraman William Daniels. He understood fast that the beauty of the Garbo best into extreme close-ups became effective. Photographs in the total one are since then rather a rarityin Garbofilmen.

After the first films were relatively successful, the break-through succeeded as a superstar 1927 with Flesh and The Devil / it was, which used the Garbo again as Vamp. But chemistry between John Gilbert and it transformedthe triangle history, which was based nominal on a piece of Hermann Sundermann, into a classical author. Director Clarence Brown and cameraman William Daniels caught the erotische attraction between the actors in scenes, which work today still strong and innovatively.

The sensationalSuccess of the film let call the public after a new Garbo film, let after producers a new Garbo film call and let the Garbo all calls after a new Garbo film reject. The actress was with their weekly fee of $ 500dissatisfied and struck until the Studio increased its content to $ 5,000. Immediately after it it turned a watered version of Leo Tolstois Anna Karenina with John Gilbert. The film was renamed and with the simple Slogan - Gilbertand Garbo in Love - applied. Most silent movies, which the Garbo still turned, were far to become classical authors of the category. But they played the manufacturing costs and a profit still also in addition.

MGM left itself, asall its Topstars, much time, to use the Garbo in a Tonfilm. Only as recording technology, dared one, the actress in a speech role was improved to presents. The choice for the debut fell, relatively originally, if one the previous appearances as more glaouröserVamp thinks, on the role of the forbidding thirds, alcohol-ill Swedish stämmigen prostitutes Anna Christie in the piece of the same name from Eugene O'Neill. The Garbo hated the role, since she meant, it those Sweden would insult. If it, after well one quarter of an hour, the sceneenters, being silent puts themselves and then its first dialogue set speaks:Don't stingy, boy, one states Gimme A pointing key and with astonishment that she has rather a English-Swedish as a American-Swedish accent. The film was very successful. ThoseActress turned also a German version, from which she stated, it to it its best achievement would at all have supplied.

Followed among other things with Mata Hari, Susan Lenox - ago case and giant / Helgas case and ascent and Grand hotel / Humans in the hotel further films, which were financially successful, which did not bring in front artistic development to the actress however.

To the more interesting, also to to few well-known films of the Garbo from this time As You the Irish ME belongs however at the same time / Like you me wish, a relatively free adaptation of the piece of the same name of Pirandello. Garbo carries film in the first half as Cabaretsängerin of the Zara a platinum-blond Kurzhaarperücke and trousers suit. Their entire representation is according to opinion of many critics onesubtle caricature of the roles of Marlene Dietrich. This interpretation receives additional food by the circumstance that the character of the Garbo is subjected to the strict regiment of their Impresario, represented by Erich von Stroheim, completely. It quite is possible, therein an allusion on the bottom plate Dietrich - to see from star mountain to.

The Garbo was by far more successful already at that time in Europe than in America. In Germany was it in such a way likes that its films as only Hollywoodproduktione even still1938 to be specified were allowed.

1932 terminated the actress their current contract and left Hollywood for some months. It returned 1933 with a new, lucrative contract, which gave it nearly complete artistic liberty. As a first MGM star she got the right,to base an own production company. The first film under the new conditions was Queen Christina / queen Christine. The film over the life of the Swedish Königing was produced very aufwändig, brought however world-wide enough in, around a small profitto prove. The scene is unforgettable, in which the Garbo touches itself as induced to the clock of a Metronoms slowly by the area and all articles tenderly, which remind it of the past night with the loving. Also the conclusion scene, in thatonly the perfectly calm and empty face of the actress the canvas takes, belonged to the large moments of the cinema.

The Painted Veil / the multicolored veil, freely after Somerset Maugham, was not in the year following on it a success andeven money lost. The actress left thereupon the next strips of David O. Selznick produce. Co-operation in Anna Karenina was successful and brought in for the actress the honor as a best actress of the yearly of the New York Time .

Thattoday still most well-known film became Camille / the Kameliendame from the year 1936. Greta Garbo was nominated for the OSCAR, lost however for general surprise at Luise Rainer.

In the next year Greta Garbo got fee of $ 275,000for Conquest / Marie Walewska, which cost at the end nearly three million dollar and only a fraction again brought in.

Last artistic success became co-operation with Ernst Lubitsch in Ninotchka, which provided 1939 for full cinemas. Thatsimple Slogan Garbo laughs was sufficient to attract the people. When its second comedy, Two Faced Woman / the woman with the two faces, became 1941 however a flop, the actress was disconcerted about the further process of the career. The Studiono heavy food wanted to produce in the middle and refused turning madame curie with the Garbo in the war.

Stattdesssen ran the preparations to use the actress in The Girl from Leningrad as Russian Widerstandskämpferin. Querelen in the Vorwege prevented the execution andthe notoriously unpowered actress withdrew itself ever more into the private life. It was not missing in the next decades at attempts, also on the part of the Garbo to start a comeback. But most roles did not please her.

Their retort was legendaryon the offers by David O. Selznick to offer to her alternatively the main roles in The Paradine Case /the case Paradine or I Remember mummy: No mummies, no murderer inside the roles went at Alida Valli and Irene thinness.

The Garboif a serious Anwärterin even was on the role of the Blanche Dubois in A Steetcar Named the Irish / last stop longing, could not at the end however aufraffen itself to assume the complex role.

Sample photographs in color exist from the year 1947of the actress in connection with the production of “the duchess of Langeais”.James Mason would have become their CO star, James Wong Howe the cameraman. There were however problems with the financing and the strips was never turned.

1954 received GretaGarbo, which was never considered for its schauspielerischen achievements with a Academy Award, an honour OSCAR for their life's work. Up to its death in the year 1990 it lived withdrawn in their New Yorker dwelling and avoided each public appearance.

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the grave Greta bad at the Skogskyrkogården cemetery in Stockholm

silent movies

  • 1921 Mr. och Fru Stockholm (Sweden) - advertisement film for Stockholm department stores the PUB direction: Captain Ragnar ring (length approx. 5 minutes)
  • of 1922 Konsumtionsföreningen Stockholm medOmned (Sweden) - advertisement film for the bread and confectionery department of the consumer combination of Stockholm and environment direction: Captain Ragnar ring (length approx. 8 minutes)
  • of 1922 Luffar Petter (Sweden) - Kurzfilm, direction: Eric A. Petschler (length 37 minutes)
  • 1924 Gösta Berlings Saga (Sweden) direction: Mauritz of quiet
  • 1925 the freudlose lane (Germany) direction: G.W. Pabst; with Werner Krauss, Asta Nielsen
  • 1926 tides of the passion / The Torrent - direction Monta Bell; with Ricardo Cortez
  • 1926 dead dance of the love / The Temptress,Direction Mauritz of quiet, Fred Niblo; with Antonio Moreno
  • 1926 it was / Flesh and the Devil - direction: Clarence Brown, with John Gilbert
  • 1927 Anna Karenina / Love - direction: Edmund Goulding; with John Gilbert
  • 1928 thatgöttliche woman / The Divine Woman - direction: Victor Sjöström; with Lars Hanson. GG is announced for the first time as an exclusive star over the title and plays its first “sympathetic” role, after she was before always used as Vamp. Ofonly a scarcely zehnminütiges fragment exists to the film.
  • 1928 the war in the dark / The Mysterious lady - direction: Fred Niblo; with Conrad nail
  • 1928 lady of the love / A Woman OF Affairs - direction: Clarence Brown;with John Gilbert. The film be based nominiell on the novel The Green has.
  • 1929 savage Orchideen / game Orchids - direction: Sidney Franklin; with Lewis Stone and Nile branch ago. Originally the film the title Heat should (thus Heat) carry. But the announcement - Garbo in Heat - could have caused ambiguous implications.
  • 1929 invisible chains / The single standard - direction: John S. Robertson; with Nile branch ago, John Mac Brown and Douglas fair bank Jr.Thosefirst contemporary role for GG. The occupation of GG and was made branch ago due to the positive resonances on the common appearance in game Orchids.
  • 1929 the kiss / The Kiss - direction: Jacques Feyder; with Conrad nail. The filmwas the last pure silent movie, which MGM produced.


  • 1930 Anna Christie - direction Clarence Brown; with Marie Dressler
  • 1930 Anna Christie (German version) - direction: Jacques Feyder. The representation of the Garbo is around muchmore relaxed and more controlled than in the American version. Their German is from admire-worth clear diction, whereby it speaks with less minted Swedish accent than in English.
  • 1930 romance / Romance - direction: Clarence Brown
  • 1931 Yvonne / inspiration - directionClarence Brown; with Robert Montgomery
  • 1931 Helgas case and ascent / Susan Lenox - ago case and giant - direction: Robert Z. Leonard; with Clark Gable. Altogether less than 14 film script authors did not work on the script. The Garbodid not like the film, however an amazingly calm representation supplied in the first half of the strip. The Studio considered at short notice, both star in talks again Dust to begin. The role went finally at Jean Harlow.
  • 1931 Mata Hari - Direction: George Fitzmaurice; with Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore. The strip became one of largest financial successes of the Garbo.
  • 1932 Grand hotel - direction: Edmund Goulding; with John Barrymore, Joan Crawford. Originally should Clark Gable the role baron take over. Then of an occupation of the role with John Gilbert one thought. Joan Crawford and Garbo do not have a common scene. It exists however a condition photo of the entire film crew, on the Garbo left and thoseCrawford right from the director to to see are.
  • 1932 like you me wish / As You the Irish ME - direction: George Fitzmaurice; with Melvyn Douglas, Erich von Stroheim. Erich von Strohheim became when desired the Garbo and against thatexpress will of of Louis B. Mayer obligates. Since from straw home due to mental problems was often ill, the Garbo always put its own Indispositionen on the same days, so that from straw home could get no annoyance with the Studio.
  • 1933 Queen Christine / Queen Christina - direction: Rouben Mamoulian; with John Gilbert
  • 1934 the multicolored veil / The Painted Veil - direction smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Boleslawski; with George Brent
  • 1935 Anna Karenina - direction: Clarence Brown; with Fredric March
  • 1936 The Kameliendame / Camille - direction: George Cukor; with Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore
  • 1937 Marie Walewska / Conquest - direction: Clarence Brown; with Charles Boyer. As is the case for nearly all productions of the Garbo there was one in the Vorwegealmost unclear search for the suitable title. In the discussion were thereby The Road ton of Waterloo, The Road ton of Destiniy, Marie, Marie Walewska and star Crossed.
  • 1939 Ninotchka - direction: Ernst Lubitsch; with Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire. A criticits opinion summarized as follows:Stalin won't like it.
  • 1941 the woman with the two faces / Two Faced Woman - direction: George Cukor; with Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett. As usual, MGM could itself only heavily on oneTitles for the film unite. In the discussion Anna and Anita, ago Naughty Sister, was Naughty Today - Nice Tomorrow, ago Wicked Sister and so on. Before the film came into the rental business, there were substantial problems with the censorship. On pressurethe catholic church had a scene to be after-turned, from which clearly it results that Melvyn Douglas checks up the intention to deceive of his wife, who him in shape of its alleged twin sister enticed wants. Thus the institution of the marriage should be protected reduction.The film came briefly to the attack on Pearl Harbour into the national cinemas and became from the critics unison tore. The strip, such an applied representative of the press, is like that pushing off, as if one sees its own grandmother drunk.


  • Franz lead among other things: Greta Garbo. In: This.: Mae west - Greta Garbo (row film volume 16). Carl Hanser, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-446-12498-5
  • Stefan Boell man: Cult women. Greta Garbo, Romy cutter and others Goldmann, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-442-44331-8
  • Michaela Krützen: The most beautiful woman on the screen. The fabrication OF the star Greta Garbo. Long, Frankfurt/M. 1990, ISBN 3-631-42412-4
  • Jean Lacouture: The great Garbo. La lady aux caméras. Levi, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-548-35720-2
  • Robert Payne: Thegreat Garbo. Cooper Square press, New York 2002, ISBN 0-8154-1223-1
  • Barry Paris: Garbo. The biography. Ullstein, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-548-35720-2
  • Scott rice field (text), Robert thanks (photo): Greta Garbo. The private album. Henschel publishing house, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-89487-514-3
[] Web on the left of

oldest ones

| | * Literature of and overGreta Garbo in the catalog of the DDB



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