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The films of Greta Garbo

Anna Christie (1930)

"Gimme a whiskey."

My DVD just shipped in a few hours ago and I sat down to watch my first Greta Garbo movie. This was her first talking picture, coming off the silent movies, and as an added bonus the screenplay is an adaptation from the one and only Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie” - it actually has a similarity to the character of Sadie Thompson from the movie “Rain” with Joan Crawford, but I really liked this better. The film is like another breed of filmmaking, every screenwriting teacher or book tells ALL writers to avoid overly long dialogue scenes - and they deem it as “boring”. But this film which was made in 1930 is a living testament that they are dead wrong! The film is packed with witty dialogue, in fact there isn’t even any fancy camera work, it’s basically two shot scenes and the characters talking back and forth, it’s real acting - more like the “theatre du filme” genre that Joseph Mankiewicz perfected with A Letter To Three Wives and All About Eve. These films are all dialogue - but the power of the word is so captivating, it’s just as strong as the visual imagery that film should purportedly be all about. I urge anyone to see this film, I bought a book on Eugene O’Neill - and read part of Under Helms which was made into a movie as well with Sophia Loren, and the guy is one of the finest dialogue writers of all time.

Greta Garbo is really one of the finest actresses I’ve ever seen, I mean in this film alone she just completely wowed me from start to finish - she’s the real first lady of film, judging by this film alone. I have my Grand Hotel dvd around, I’'m seeing that very soon. Great film, I loved it. Oh, and there was this one racy joke that I laughed so hard at, here:

Greta meets a sailor who she has fallen in love with and they are at a carnival. There’s this game where you blow on a hose until a balloon pops - well you get the gimmick.

Sailor: "Sure I have much chest in me to blow up a balloon."

Greta: "I don’t doubt it."

Sailor blows for a few seconds then stops. Lokks her hard in the eyes.

Sailor: "What do you mean you don’t doubt it?"

Greta laughs

Greta: “I’m just kidding”.

Haha, They actually wrote a cock sucking joke. ;D

That’s awesome ;D

She’s gorgeous!

So no more Bette?

So no more Bette?

It’d be cool if he tryed somebody else out for a little bit. There’s so many great actors.

Yes, I’m still watching her films. I’ve already seen 19 Bette Davis movies and most of them were her best work. I’m watching Ninotchka and Grand Hotel next.

In my second viewing of Anna Christie, I found the film to be even better. From start to finish you can’t help but to admire the power of a great actor, I imagine acting is a lot like pitching in baseball, great actors sometimes - very rarely have the ability to carry themselves and perform wonderfully, but in order for them to do that they need a great pitching coach to mentor them. Clarence Brown is really an actor’s director - it’s the first Clarence Brown film I’ve ever see, so I wouldn’t know much about his latter work - but i just can’t help but to admire his uncanny ability to cast the right people and mentor their performances in such a way. The dialogue scenes are sometimes over fifteen minutes long! In this day and age a director has problems maintaining a two minute dialogue scene! And the unseen force of the film is of course the sea, just like the tide, all of Anne Christie’s problems are washed away. It’s really a powerful picture in my opinion, and timeless, - one thing that Eugene O’Neill (playwright) was famous for was writing great characters with precise dialect, the capturing of the 30s New York harbor was amazing - and there’s even a shot of the buildings - it was very beautiful. I really gotta see more Clarence Brown movies, I think he worked with Joan Crawford as well.


I saw the opening Act of the film and enjoyed it, but I had to go and I never got to see the entire film - until later, I will. The film is quite humorous - it’s about Soviets who are dealing rich jewels which were confiscated from a duchess and then the whole affair begins from there - and that’s where I left off. Greta Garbo made six films with director Clarence Brown and she admitted in her latter years, when she retired very early from her acting career that Erns Lubitsch was her favorite director, and this is the only film they made together I believe. It’s available on youtube, but I’m still ordering the DVD for formatting purposes. The movie is in great quality.