A Greta Garbo Centennial Tribute

Friday, September 16, 2005

As You Desire Me (1932) - Georges Fitzmaurice - Part1

To celebrate Greta Garbo's 100th birthday in September 18th 2005, every friday this month i will dedicate this blog to one of her Yet-To-Be Released-On-DVD movies. As i do in my other blog named : 24 Lies Per Second which is dedicated to "screen captures of old rare movies from vhs", i will focus on one of her movies in 24 frames taken from my personal collection. Before we begin, i want to thank TCMFrance for their nearly complete Garbo Retrospective in october 2004.
If you're living in the USA, be thrilled to know that Turner Classic Movies is broadcasting the same great retrospective this very september 2005 !!

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In 1932, Mercedes De Acosta, one of Garbo's great lover, wrote a script about Joan Of Arc for Greta Garbo. Unfortunately for us and for the history of Cinema, Irving Thalberg or was it Louis B.Mayer ? (MGM producer) thought otherwise and instead Garbo did a play by Luigi Pirandello named As You Desire Me directed by George Fitzmaurice. The year before Fitzmaurice directed Mata Hari, one of Garbo's great movie.

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"As You Desire Me went into production very quickly because Garbo's contract was about to end, and MGM wanted to squeeze another film out of her..." Paul Tatara - TCM in this month schedule.

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Robert Payne wrote in his book "The Great Garbo" (CooperSquarePress.1976) :
"Garbo has finally achieved the impossible. She is no longer beautiful. Instead, she is pasty-faced, a wooden stick wearing a white wig." Can you believe this when it's obvious Garbo have rarely been so beautiful and so modern (think some pale Gothic icon) with this Platinum Blonde Hair look ? But Garbo fans apparently disagree on this.
And she is really funny in this drunk-clown scene !! (Picture 7).

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Garbo wore several sexy outfits in the first part of the movie designed by the famous Adrian who has designed most of Garbo gowns.

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For once Garbo had a partner to her level in Erich von Stroheim. She insisted on having him in this part despite her producer Irving Thalberg who hated him. He had produced several movies by Von Stroheim notably one his most daring work : Greed. Thalberg is the one responsible for cutting the movie from 42 reels (8 hours) to 10 (2 hours) !!
Sadly it is one of the top ten "lost films" of the American Film Institute.

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One could only fantasize what could have been a movie with Garbo and directed by a real Master of Cinema like Eric Von Stroheim !!
Because it is a fact that most of Garbo Directors weren't up to her stature and that's a sad invaluable loss.

This was the first 22 frames i'll post of this movie.
Next monday you'll see the last 21.
In the meantime, any comments will be appreciated.


Anonymous Martin Kukuczka said...

Garbo does not look so great as a blonde. I think it is unnatural for her. However, she does not appear with blonde hair in the entire film, and that is good. Nevertheless, AS YOU DESIRE ME, though not a very popular film, is also worth seeing.

I think that these pictures encourage some people to see Garbo as a blonde.

Greetings to Phillipe and all who visit the site

9:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Phillipe, you have done a great job.
Garbo is immortal as the films themselves.
From a Brazilian fan.

5:52 AM

Blogger K. said...

Great site, Philippe! Merci.

But these pictures only makes me more eager to watch all her films!
I'm from Hong Kong, the TCM here only shows "Grand Hotel" or "Camille"...

How I wish I were in Sweden at this moment!

5:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garbo puts in a strong lead performance but this film suffered with poor support from Douglas and Von Stroheim. Douglas was particularily bad and Bruno comes across as absurd.

Garbo shows great range deftly transforming from drunken diva to reedemed believer in the power of love.

Garbo flubbed her line in the last scene at approx 1:07

"oooh Lena, help me! You must know? The others, the other woman women who were here that night. Who were they?"

7:55 AM

Anonymous May Candlewood said...

I believe Garbo was considered a blonde, just not a platinum blonde. It's interesting to see her hair looking so white for a change, and that pants outfit with the bare back is stunning.

Garbo has some very witty lines in the first part of the movie. The second part seems to take itself too seriously compared to the first. I blame that uneven quality on the direction and screenwriting rather than on the actors. When Garbo gives her speech at the end, I feel I am listening to the writer's philosophy rather than the character's own words. I never get this feeling when I watch "Queen Christina" or "Ninotchka."

5:40 AM

Anonymous Turquoise said...

How wonderful to see and hear Erich and Greta together! One of my favourite films.
Very nice blog:)

10:42 PM

Anonymous order lexapro said...

I was interested know about it.

9:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Garbo looks great with that wig! Very androgynous! And those costumes are very nice too. Pity I haven't watch the film already!


7:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks everyone. though this blog was created nearly 7 years ago ! it's nice to read your comments once in a while.
glad that you like it here.

can you believe that some of these movies are still unreleased on DVD ?

5:45 PM


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