Greta Garbo

Monday, August 3, 2015

Greta Garbo in Atra (Flesh and the Devil, Brown/Daniels, 1926)

Greta Garbo Greta Garbo and John Gilbert were to attend the premiere of Bardley the Magnificient (Vidor/Daniels,1926) together. Motion Picture magazine printed, "Hollywood is still talking. The newspaper wires still buzz everytime either telephones the other. Yet in spite of this, Greta Garbo and John Gilbert dare appear at openings and other Hollywood functions. During this screen writer Dorothy Farnum ran magazine advertisements announcing her having written the screenplay to the film Bardley the Magnificient and the portrait from the film of John Gilbert printed in Motion Picture magazine had been taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. 1926 was also the year that Greta Garbo, John Gilbert and Lars Hanson would film an adaptation of the novel The Undying Past, bringing its plotline to the screen untill its emotional concluding scene at the Isle of Friendship during Flesh and the Devil. Picture Play magazine during 1927 published what seems to be a seldom seem photograph of Greta Garbo and Jack Gilbert, their staring at eCh other across a table. In When Hollywood Discovered Bridge, the caption below the four playing cards read, "The Flesh and the Devil quartet- Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson, Jack Gilbert and Director Clarence Brown- more than once took time off during the production to play a hurried rubber. as may be seen, though, Greta and Jack, who are usually partners didn't give their full attention to the game." As posed, they are looking at each other with a sense of either impending doom, or a mutual consent that would soon decide to spring into action, as though the photograph were staged. Bainbridge quotes Clarence Brown as though Brown had contributed to the mythical quality of any romance between Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, adding celluloid, or perhaps, tinsel rather, to the publicity it had already acquired, " 'I am working with raw material,' Brown said rather breathlessly. 'They are working in that blissful state of love that is so like a rosy cloud that they imagine themselves hidden behind it, as well as lost in it.'" For Photoplay Agnes Smith in 1927 wrote the intrigue between John Gilbert and Greta Garbo, "He worked with her in a picture called Flesh and the Devil. He proclaimed his intention of marrying her. As for Greta she seemed to enjoy the rush. And then, when everyone was all set for another Hollywood wedding, Greta walked out...John Gilbert sticks to his story...She is a wonderful woman. A delightful woman And the most fascinating woman in pictures. 'She is,' says Mr. Gilbert, 'a mountian of a girl. She is a statue. There is something eternal about her. Not only did she baffle me, but she baffled everyone at the studio.'" Of her off-screen Clarence Brown romance with John Gilbert, Clarence Brown has been quoted as having said, "After i finsihed a scene with them, I felt like an intruder. I'd walk away to let them finish what they were doing." Brown has also been quoted as having said, "Those two were in a world of their own." Bainbridge quotes the director with, "Clarence Brown introduced them on the set of Flesh and the Devil, 'It was love at first sight,'and it lasted through many years.'" As a biographer, Bainbridge estimates the facets involved in the relationship, "her response to Gilbert's gaily insistent attention was quick, though it was not her nature that it should have been precipitous...Because of their work, Garbo and Gilbert spent all of their days together, and Gilbert took advantage of every oppurtunity to press his cause...Off the set, Gilbert and Garbo were also getting better acquainted. They often dined together, and the young actress became a rather frequent visitor a Gilbert's Tower Road mansion." This estimation reveals Gilbert's advance, "When Flesh and the Devil was finished, Gilbert asked Garbo to marry him- a proposal that he was to make more than once again." The account in Photplay written by Agnes Smith is very much like John Bainbridge's, "A great many stories have been broadcast concerning the romance of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. The scenario, according to Hollywood's most reliable gossips runs something like this. John met the beautiful Scandinavian and immediately started an impetuous courtship. He made no secret of his devotion to the lovely Greta. he accompanied her to all the parties. He lunched with her and dined with her." During the middle of 1927 Photoplay featured the two pictured together in the News and Gossip of the Studios section, "All bets are off on the Garbo-Gilbert wedding. For at least five days Hollywood was in a flurry of excitement. Jack and Greta, fairest of Fjordland, were rumored to have trekked to a neighboring hamlet and murmurred, "I do." A search of marriage license permits revealed nothing. There is bleak silence from the two." Bainbridge adds, "'Gilbert pleaded and begged that they should marry, but Garbo just did not want to,' the director Clarence Brown said recently." Picture Picture magazine during 1927 queries Is the Gilbert-Garbo Match Really Off? Prompted by journalist Dorothy Herzog. The accompanying portrait of Jack Gilbert was photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise with the caption, "There can be no doubt that Jack Gilbert is saddened by the unhappy turn taken by what promised to be his great romance". She began, "She is a thousand years old. She came into the world with all it's knowledge. She knows everything, and instinctively remembers everything.' 'and you love Greta Garbo?', we interrupted. Jack Gilbert's shadowed eyes swept our face swiftly, then looked away. 'She is. Wonderful girl. We were merely good pals,' he evaded, alertly on the defensive. 'is it true you were engaged to her?' 'We were never engaged.' ------ Back to Greta Garbo John Gilbert M.G.M.advertised Greta Garbo in 1927, it often taking full page magazine pages that mentioned several actors and actresses that were currently at the studio at any given time. Garbo had become, "The most sensational find in years, she clicked immediately in The Torrent, then in The Temptress and now Flesh and the Devil" Later it advertised, "Greta Garbo's amazing hold on the public cannot be duplicated anywhere in this industry. Flesh and the Devil is just a foretaste of the money she means for the theaters. " --------- Collen Moore must have read about or in fact contacted the Greta Garbo apparition; during 1928 she compared herself to Greta Garbo by coming to her aid in Motion Picture Classic Magazine, "most of the greatly beloved women of history- they have been possessed of the childish appeal, every one of them. Perhaps not so much childish as wistful, whimsical. Seems a funny thing to say, but Greta Garbo has it too. Really, she romps and plays it less than that worn-out term, vamp, than anyone I know. In its way, it gets across." In an interview during which she outlines her having met John Gilbert, Greta Garboas quoted by Ruth Biery in The Story of Greta Garbo, said, "When I finisihed The Temptress, they gave me the script for The Flesh and the Devil to read. I did not like the story. I did not want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures." The portrait of Greta Garbo that year had been photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise, the caption reading, "We are feverishingly waiting her performance opposite John Gilbert in Flesh and the Devil. By then, it was increasingly unnecessary to introduce her as a rising star. The photograph of Greta Garbo Ruth Harriet Louise published in Photoplay carried a caption referring to her as "the object of John Gilbert's fervant wooing". In regard to the direction of Clarence Brown, Motion Picture new reviwed the film during 1927 with, "And Clarence Brown, who has advanced so rapidly the past year, has brought out every point to build a story which fascinates in its paly of caprice and feeling. It is touched with sex- but sex never becomes rampant. It always remains a film of visual excellence...Early scenes project the development of the affair. What follows are the dramatic complications which culminate in a happy ending- the only flaw in the picture." Under the magazine's section on Explotation Angles, it advised: "Play up Gilbert and Garbo. Use stills. Cash in on title. Play up director. Go the limit." When the film was reviewed by Motion Picture Magazine the film was praised with, "Here is one of the best pictures reflected upon the screen in many a moon, the perfection of which is only marred by the ending, which appears tacked on, as an afterthought...Greta is a beautiful nymphomaniac...You never feel the chaos she causes exaggerated. she's attractive enough to wreak has ok in a man's world." Paul Rotha reviewed a what he deemed to be "a film of more than passing cleverness" directed by Clarence Brown, "Flesh and the Devil had some pretensions to be called a good film. The theme was sheer, undiluted sex,and Brown used a series of close ups to get this across with considerable effect. Notable also was his use of Ngles, different indeed from customary German and American method and the happiness with which he settled his characters in their environment." Back to Greta Garbo John Gilbert Greta Garbo and Jack Gilbert in Love Film Daily during 1926 sported two interesting entries. During September it wrote, "Marcel de Sarno, director, and Raymond Doyle, scenarist, returned to M.G.M. studios after a trip for research data for Ordeal, which de Sarno will direct with Greta Garbo and Lon Chaney. In November, Film Daily reported, "Clarence Brown, who has just completed the direction of John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in Flesh and the Devil is preparing to direct Lillian Gish's next production, The Wind, screen adaptation by Frances Marion of Dorothy Scarborough's story. It seems either misprint or misquote that Exhibitor's Trade Review had earlier, during 1925, published, "Miss Alice Scully, a young scenario writer wrote the script for Stella Maris...since the first of the year has also written scripts for Parisian Love and The Undying Past for Victor Seastrom." Greta Garbo Greta Garbo Greta Garbo

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Greta Garbo in Love (Anna Karenina, Edmund Goulding, 1927)

Greta Garbo Greta Garbo Photoplay magazine reviewed Love, "Anna Karenina? Not so's you could notice it. But John Gilbert and Greta Garbo melt the Russian snow with their love scenes. Will it be popular? Don't be silly." The present author understably has every need to impart John Bainbridge's quoting of Bengt Idestam Almquist in its near entirety, "Greta Garbo has never been better. In her first American pictures she was something different than this: a sensual body, thin and wriggling like an exotic liana, plus a couple of heavy eyelids that hinted all kins of picturesque lusts. But gradually Miss Garbo has worked her way towards becoming a real actress with depth and sincerity." Kenneth Macpherson of Close-Up magazine reviewed the performance of Greta Garbo in the film, "As this is the rottenest possible film, it is clear that its success is due to the beauty of Greta Garbo, who has a Belle Bennett part of mother love. In twenty years they will be trying vainly to give her those parts for which her youth and beauty now make her suited. As I say, the film is just tripe and Greta's clothes are an abomination...but for the fact of Greta's lovliness and her utter inabilbity to look like anything but an overgrown adolescent dressing up for the school play." That year, for the same magazine, H. D. begged to differ, writing, "Let's put Miss Garbo out of it entirely and say that Greta Garbo, under Pabst, was a Nordic ice-flower. Under preceeding and succeeding directors she was an over-grown hoyden or a buffet Guiness-please-miss. The performance of Greta Garbo in that subtle masterpiece Anna Karenina (Love) was inexplicably vulgar and incredibly dull. It was only by the greatest effort of will that one could visulaize in that lifeless and dough-like visage a trace of the glamour, the chizselled purity, the dazzling, almost unearthly beauty...Greta Garbo in The Joyless Street...remained an aristocrat. Greta Garbo as the wife of a Russian Court official and mistress of a man of the world, diademed and in sweeping robes in the palace of Karenin, waa a house-maide at a carnival." The magazine The Film Spectator in 1928 highlighted the films editing, "There is one cleaver feature in Love, the close up debauch in which Metro presents Jack Gilbert and Greta Garbo. In the way it places the closing title to one sequence serves as an introductory tile to the sequence that succeeds it. There is a fade out after the title, 'Then I will see you at the grand Duke's ball;' and a fade in on the ball without any further explanatory title." Greta Garbo During June of 1927, Motion Picture magazine reported, "Greta Garbo's week of sulking and refusing to appear at the Metro studios has availed her nothing. The immigration authorities decided that Greta would have to go to work or be deported...She will begin work on Anna Karenina, the story that story that caused her final tempermental guesture and her desertion of the studios is to be directed by Dimitri Buchowetski and Richard Cortez was signed after his recent break with Paramount, to play the male lead." Cortez at the time was married to Alma Rubens. Motion Picture News during 1927 announced that Greta Garbo had signed a five year contract with M.G.M., "Her first story is from the pen of Count Tolstoy. The star is not yet twenty one years of age, but has won considerable popularity both in this country and abraod." It claimed that Garbo was to be given the starring role in Anna Karenina, which was to be directed by Dimitri Buchowetzki, "also under contract at M.G.M." Author and curator Jan-Christopher Horak gives a fairly uncontested account of the replacement of directors on the film, "Buchowetzki went to M.G.M. where he directed Valentia (1927) with Mae Murray, all of them costume films. In February 1927 he was assigned to direct Greta Garbo and Victor Varconi in Love (1927), the film that proved to be his Waterloo. Given the fact that he was Russian and had directed several other films set in Imperial Russia, Buchowetszki was the logical first choice. While Garbo supposedly held out for more money and a different co-star (Richard Cortez eventually replaced Varconi), Buchowetski began production in April, shooting a substantial amount of footage with Cortez. In the first week of May Garbo called in sick and stayed that way at John Gilbert's house untill the studio gave in...the director's original had been scrapped in its entirety." If this is accurate, for all intensive purposes, although only one film starring Greta Garbo, The Divine Woman (Victor Seastrom, 1928), is presently lost, the fragment of Greta Garbo in Love that were earlier filmed rushes, can be added to that. Film Daily, during April of 1927 had printed Buckowets,I Starts Love, which slated Richard Cortez and Greta Garbo in the principal characters, "The cast includes Lionel BRrymore, Helen Chadwick, Zazu Pitts....Doeothy Sebastian. Lorna Moon adapted the screenplay." During May of 1927 it ran the announcement Goulding Directing Love, "Dimitri Buchowetski has been replaced by Edmound Goulding as the director of Anna Karenina, in which Greta Garbo will poetry the title role" John Bainbridge merely writes that Dimitri Buchowetsky was dismissed as director of the film because of an inability to remain compatible, or amicable, with his actors before having had been being replaced by Edmund Goulding, but the biographer then quotes a nameless source that had been present as part of the filming, "'(John Gilbert) wanted to show Garbo how clever he was. Every scene meant his interference with Goulding. He insisted on trying to direct the picture. Garbo insisted that she could not act if anyone watched her.'..Whatever the state of their private relations, Miss Garbo habitually deferred to Jack Gilbert on all professional matters. Whenever a question arose, her customary remark was, 'I ask Jack.'" Motion Picture News quietly reported during July of 1927, "Production of Love will be resumed shortly with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in the leads. The Picture was halted because of Miss Garbo's illness.
That year Photoplay Magazine had included a Photoplay caption beneath a portrait of Greta Garbo That read, "Latest War Bulletin from the Firing Line: Greta starts peacefully to work on Anna Karenina. Some changes to the title Love, Greta goes home pleading illness. She says she's not temperamental." the next photo caption read, Greta Garbo does not think she bill go home. Greta positively enjoys her work in Love now that John Gilbert is definitely cast as her leading man. here is the first photograph of Greta Garbo as Anna Karenina and John as Vronsky." Back to John Gilbert and Greta Garbo Greta Garbo Greta Garbo