A Greta Garbo Centennial Tribute

Friday, October 28, 2005

Conquest (1937) - Clarence Brown

To celebrate Greta Garbo's 100th birthday in September 18th 2005, every friday in September i have dedicated this blog to one of her Yet-To-Be Released-On-DVD movies from the MGM period 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 now keep on focusing on one of her movies in several frames taken from my personal collection. Before we begin, i want to thank TCMFrance for their nearly complete Garbo Retrospective in october 2004 without who i would never have the priviledge to own this collection. If you're living in the USA, Turner Classic Movies has broadcasted the same retrospective in september 2005 !!
I will now capture a new Garbo movie twice a week : every friday & every monday. These are all the MGM Yet-To-Be Released-On-DVD movies that's left for me to capture :
Two-Faced Woman (1941)

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Conquest aka Marie Walewska was at the time the more expensive sound movie. The producer Bernard H. Hyman wanted it to be "the best Garbo ever made". There were a total 17 writers for the script and the film ended to be "merely a surface show. It goes no deeper than the images its screen reflects. One can watch it and study it as academically as we would watch a procession of ants underneath a magnifying glass...We view the destiny of both (Napoleon & Marie Walewska) with interest but not with compassion".Frank S.Nugent - The New York Times.

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"It seems so strange living in the same world with him and not see him"

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"What soft hair, like a child. I love this face".

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"Perhaps i am born of a snowflake after all..."

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This time, Garbo found a leading men to her stature in Charles Boyer whose latest movie Mayerling has made him a star.

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"There were so much i had to tell you but i can't tell you now."

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"Just that look will lighten up all the darkness that is ahead."

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Even the great german expressionist cinematographer, (he did Metropolis for instance) Karl Freund couldn't do a thing to make it work and MGM lost a lot of money. So Garbo will wait 2 years to play in another movie (her longest time between movies so far) : Ninotschka by Ernst Lubitsch.
She was only 32.

"During a 1807 visit to Poland, Napoleon encounters the Countess Marie Walewska. Asked by the Polish government to visit the dictator to get his aid in making their country independent, the Countess reluctantly agrees. Of course she has an affair with him, is divorced by her husband (Henry Stephenson), and becomes Napoleon's mistress. She longs to be his wife, but when Talleyrand (Reginald Owen) arranges Napoleon's marriage to Marie Louise (Jean Fenwick), her hopes are dashed even though she has born the future Emperor a son (Scotty Becket)."
Lawrance M. Bernabo. Amazon reviewer.

These frames are taken from a Broadcast on TCMFrance in october 2004.
Conquest has been released on VHS by Warner Studios in november 1990.

bye bye now...
See you next monday for the last Garbo movie : Two-Faced Woman (1941).
In the meantime, any comments will be appreciated.


Anonymous Martin Kukuczka said...

These screen captures are at last the quintessential of who Garbo was, how lovely her films were. CONQUEST, the last of the seven films she made with the director Clarence Brown, is an extraordinary movie, a wonderful historical saga with wonderful cinematography and great, magnificent performances. It's a must have in my film gallery. The film cost the studio a fortune and I consider it strange that it has not been released on DVD yet.

I think that there is noone who may doubt the beauty of Garbo in this film. She is overwhelmingly beautiful in the role of a Polish countess, Marie Walewska. Charles Boyer also fits quite well to her leading man, Napoleon. There were few men who did a good job by the side of Garbo, the ultimate talent. This was John Gilbert, Robert Taylor, and Fredrick March. However, Boyer's performance is worth attention as is the whole movie.

Great film, great direction, and foremost great Greta Garbo!

3:43 PM

Anonymous E. Gruzinskaya said...

Dear Philippe, thank You!
It's a wonderful present for me - all these images of the Great Garbo. I've seen almost all her films - and I know almost everything (that is possible to know) about Garbo, but I find your collection absolutely breathtaking.
Thank You - for you've really celebrated her centennial!


Moscow, Russia
January, 30

11:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is now available on DVD in France in a lovely transfer -


7:04 AM


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