A Greta Garbo Centennial Tribute

Friday, September 23, 2005

Susan Lennox (1931) - Robert Z.Leonard - Part 1

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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Susan Lennox is the 4th talking movie by Greta Garbo,
and another underrated one.
It is directed not that bad by prolific Robert Z.Leonard who will be more known for The Great Ziegfeld in 1936 and Ziegfeld Girl in 1941.

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Another beautifully shot by cinematographer Williams Daniels.
As i previously wrote, he almost shot every Garbo movie.

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"In Susan Lennox, mostly Garbo has the appearance of a somnanbulist who speaks like a ventriloquist's dummy". ????
Robert Payne in The Great Garbo. CooperSquarePress.

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More than a curiosity, Susan Lennox is another great melodrama just weakened by the shortness of its length (only 76 minutes) and the extravaganza of his plot. It has to be seen and re-evaluate.

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Robert Mamoulian who directed her in Queen Christina once said :
"The point is that with her intuition she was able to capture all sorts of emotional states. You did not have to tell Garbo to look like this or that, for this reason or that. No, you just had to tell her which emotion you wanted to have produced for the scene in question...She produced the emotion on her face, she produced it in her bodily movements - which is more than you can say about many actors."

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Susan Lennox is the only movie that Garbo will play with Clark Gable. He was 30 and this was his first year in Hollywood. He acted in 12 movies this same year !!! notably Dance, Fools, Dance with Joan Crawford and Night Nurse with Barbara Stanwyck.

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This was the first 29 frames i'll post of this movie.
Next monday you'll see the last 30.
In the meantime, any comments will be appreciated.


Anonymous Martin Kukuczka said...

Again Garbo looks beautiful, particularly in the pictures from 20 up and it must be another interesting role by her. Some people say that SUSAN LENOX is one of the weakest films in which Garbo played. There are opinions that there is no chemistry between Garbo and Clarke Gable whatsoever. Nevertheless, it is good to see for Garbo alone.

I have just came into one conclusion, every film with Garbo is worth seeing because she is unique in all of her roles.

11:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

good conclusion. Garbo was always luminous and intriguing. Take her out of almost any of her films and you have 'nothing'. I thought she and Gable were pretty good together. The problem I see between them is that he wouldn't let her be dominate and it's so frustrating to see him push her away in some love scenes. What an idiot! She does however get the upper hand in the very end scene, as she did in the cigarette scene in As You Desire Me; only Melvyn really appreciated her advances and had much better chemistry.

5:45 PM

Anonymous shauna grant said...

I am an avid collector of classic film, and believe it or not, this is one of my favorites. The very thought of Garbo running away from her persecutors by joining the circus(!!) and being befriended by a tatooed lady always sends my mind reeling!! And then, of course, she becomes a high class call girl just to gain vengence on Gable, and then becomes a low class hooker out of her love for him---how can this be beat. Every time I watch it, I spin off into a surreal nightmare. Love it!!! SG

8:31 AM

Anonymous Ricko said...

One of Garbo's finest performances, this film is often overlooked in her career. Next to The Temptress, it is probably the most surreal, although Wild Orchids might also be a good argument. Bravo Garbo!

8:06 AM


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