A Greta Garbo Centennial Tribute

Monday, October 17, 2005

Romance (1930) - 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 :
Inspiration (1931) - The Painted Veil (1934) - Conquest (1937) - Two-Faced Woman (1941)

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Romance was the 15th Garbo movie in only 5 years !! and her second talkie movie. Finally people have been able to hear her fabulous deep voice, a guttural contralto which reminds me of Kathleen Ferrier.
Her first talkie was one of her greatest movie: Anna Christie.

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Romance is supposed to be the less loved Garbo movie accccording to Barry Paris in his Garbo biography. Nevertheless, it's not that bad but i can't explain why. I guess i have a weak spot for the bishop character played by Gavin Gordon who falls in love with the teasing and really mischievous Garbo. Garbo wanted Gary Cooper for this part but sadly he wasn't available at the time !! He did Morocco instead with Marlene Dietrich.

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"What is love ? made of kisses in the dark, hot breath on the face, a heart that beats with terrible strong blows. Love is just a beast that you feed all through the night. And when the morning comes, love dies."

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The first day of the shooting, Gavin Gordon had a car accident. Garbo insisted to shoot first all the scenes where he didn't appeared to allow him to recover.

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"To me love is only a little warmth in all this cold. Just a little light in all this darkness. One little minute enlaced in the beloved's arms. One little minute to forget...And that's all."

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"When will you marry me ? - i never thought the end would come so soon."
I just love that line !!

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"I accepted it for what it was - nature's work of art ... She was the face and I was the camera. We each tried to get the best out of our equipment."
Clarence Brown.

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In their typical cynicism & madness MGM thought no better than to had her play in another weak and shallow movie named Inspiration the year after. Some have renamed it : Romance II.

"Young Harry is in love and wants to marry an actress, much to the displeasure of his family. Harry thinks that Bishop Armstrong knows nothing about love so Armstrong tells him the story of Rita and himself. Rita was an Opera Star singing in New York who was at a party given by Cornelius. Armstrong was a 28 year old rector. He fell for Rita when he saw her and after six weeks he wanted to marry her. Naive as he was, he thought that all of Rita's "relationships" were in the distant past, but Rita lives for the moment and knows that she can never marry Armstrong."
Tony Fontana @ IMDB

These frames are taken from a Broadcast on TCMFrance in october 2004.
Romance has been released on VHS by Warner Studios in december 1993.

bye bye now...
See you next friday for another Garbo movie : Inspiration .
In the meantime, any comments will be appreciated.


Anonymous Martin Kukuczka said...

Oh goodness! I love these pictures as much as I do the previous ones!

ROMANCE is not a very popular movie with Garbo. I must admit that I also haven't seen it so far (did not have an opportunity). Nevertheless, these screen captures encouraged me to look for it. Garbo looks gorgeous, particularly in the first 16 pictures - so intimate, feminine, and beautiful in the very meaning of this word.

Again, this movie proves one thing - every film with Garbo is worth attention. I have 12 movies in my gallery and will not rest until I have 25.

2:24 PM

Blogger Bix said...

I sooo love and adore this countrywoman of mine!!!! With her background and her life's story, her greatness becomes even more touching and astonishing. I so much see also the little girl's dreams, the young woman's struggle and pains in her artistry. It's really heartbreaking. I think few understand the pain she bore in her life, her great intelligence and the remarkable journey she did. Her mastery in expression of strong emotions should be read in contrast to the cold and poor country she was born in where feelings and pride wasn't a thing you wore on your sleeve. Her delicate expressions are the result of deep insight and training in expressing what really was forbidden in her native country. I think that resistance gave her the final edge and energy to perfect her artistry. A perfect economy, minimalism with maximum effect! The best of two worlds: passion and economy.

7:52 PM

Blogger philippe said...

martin, yes every garbo movie is worth attention as i try to proove it with this tribute.
bix : you're right. "A perfect economy, minimalism with maximum effect". that's the mystery of garbo.
i think it will keep people endless wondering. we'll never find out how did that happen.

10:00 AM


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