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Greta Garbo-Silent GarboGreta Garbo-Silent Garbo
Silent Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo banner designed for Scott Lord by Ulrich in Berlin, Germany. Color tints to Greta Garbo banner added by Cindy and Amy in California. Silent Greta Garbo.

Greta Garbo

By contrast, the value of the silent film that Greta Garbo made in Hollywood is sentimental. They are romantic melodramas made after Greta Garbo had been discovered in Europe by G. W. Pabst (The Joyless Street, Die freudlosse Gasse, 1925) and Silent Film director Mauritz Stiller, with whom Greta Garbo went to the preview of The Torrent (Virveln, 1926, nine reels), the first of her films to be photographed by William Daniels and a film in which she appeared with Gertrude Olmstead under the direction of silent film director Monta Bell. Included among the silent film of Garbo are The Temptress (Fresterskan, Mauritz Stiller-Fred Niblo, 1926, seven reels), Flesh and the Devil (Atra, Clarence Brown, 1926, nine reels), The Mysterious Lady (Den Mystika kvinna, Fred Niblo, 1928, nine reels), A Woman of Affais (Grona Hatten Clarence Brown, 1926, nine reels), and The Kiss (Kyssen, Feyder, seven reels, 1929) one of her most beautiful in that it is one of her most melodramatic, it beeing that each film in fact can be seen only for the being reminded of having first seen each of the films and the darkened room where the decades from the long past can flicker into intrigues and adventures.

Greta Garbo often went theaters and almost invariably saw each of her movies twice, although she seldom viewed the daily rushes.

Biographer Norman Zierold has written Garbo's plasticity made it possible for her to reflect the fantasies of her screen audience; in this sense she functioned as a recepticle for the emotions of others." These emotional structures are created within each particular film, often by subject and spectator positioning, the viewer and the film's other characters in relation to the body of the actress, as when the movement of her body within the frame creates space between two characters in front of the camera, isolating them near a paticular visual motif, or when Garbo briefly moves into the emotion of solitude.


Greta Garbo had only begun going to theaters during 1920, where she would begin watching the films of Clara Kimball Young, Charles Ray and Thomas Meighan- it was also that year that she would espy the actor, soon to become director, Sigurd Wallen at a performance of his, there also being an account of her having had a brief conversation with the actor Joseph Fischer. Appearing on the screen in Sweden in 1920 in the film Bodakungen (Gustaf Molander) was Franz Envall, who Greta Garbo mentioned in a 1928 photoplay interview with Ruth Biery. "Then I met an actor...It was Franz Envall. He is dead now, but he has a daughter in stage in Sweden. He asked me if they would let me try to get into Dramatic School of the Royal Theater in Stockholm." Greta Garbo had seen the film Erotikon before her having met Mauritz Stiller.

In the United States, Clarence Brown directed his first film in 1920, The Redeemer (five reels), it starring Marjorie Daw and John Gilbert. 1920 was also the year that actor Lowell Sherman , who appeared with Greta Garbo in The Divine Woman began in film in 1920 Yes and No(Roy William Neill, seven reels) with Norma Talmadge. In a film that would almost seem a yardstick for many of the films that would comprise the rest of the silent film period, Douglas Fairbanks during 1920 starred with Marguerite De La Motte under the direction of Fred Niblo in the eight reel film The Mark of Zorro; he has again to reprise the role in 1925 starring with Mary Astor and Warner Oland in Don Q, Son of Zorro (Donald Crisp, eleven reels). The first film in which the model Greta Gustafsson was to appear was in 1920, (Mr. and Mrs. Stockholm Go Shopping) Herrskspet Stockholm ute ink op having been the first of three advertising films in which Greta Garbo appeared directed by a screenwriter that had written under the director Maurtiz Stiller, Ragnar Ring. Also in the film are Olga Andersson and Ragnar Widestedt.

During 1921, Greta Louise Gustafsson appeared in the short advertising films Our Daily Bread (Bageriet Hantverkaregaten 46) and Reklamfilm PUB Greta Garbo filmed by Ragnar Ring.

During 1922, Greta Garbo appeared in the film Peter and the Tramp (Luffar-Peter, five reels) with actresses Gucken Cederborg and Tyra Ryman. Appearing with them in the film is its director, Erik Petschler. Also listed as being in the film Luffar Peter is Mona Geifer-Falkner. Erik Petschler himself gives an account of his having given Garbo the address of Mauritz Stiller and of her having not only having tried to see him twice before they were to meet at the Royal Dramatic Academy, where she was to study under Gustaf Molander, but of his having arranged a third meeting where Stiller had asked for her telephone number. Petschler had then introduced Garbo to the director Frans Enwall. Before directing Greta Garbo, Eric Petschler directed the film Getting baron Olson Married (Gifta ort Baron Olson, 1920), starring Gucken Cederborg and Varmlanningarna (1921), the first film in which Rosa Tillman was to appear.

Greta Garbo had met Julius Jaenzon on a train to Rasunda, Sweden after a screentest for Stiller. While waiting for the director to arrive for the screentest, Swedish cinematographer Julius Jaenzon had told Garbo, "You're the loveliest girl I've ever seen walk into the place." She and Mona Martensson were to film The Saga of Gosta Berling (ten reels). During its filming Greta Garbo and Mona Martensson stayed in the same hotel room together. The beauty of Mona Martensson is miraculous, a deep beauty that can only be seen as wonderous.

Peter cowie writes of a voice that was described to vilgot sjoman as being "so nice and gentle" it having "a quite huskiness that makes it interesting."

"Yes, this is Stiller's room, I know for sure."

After Greta garbo took off her glasses to show Ingmar Bergman what she looked like, her watching his face to measure the emotion of the director, she excitedly began discussing her acting in The Saga of Gosta Berling. When they returned to the room, one that had been also been used by Molander, Bergman poeticly studied her face.

Sven Broman has quoted Greta Garbo as having said, "We sat in a lovely drawing room and Selma Lagerlof thanked me for my work in Gosta Berling's Saga and she praised Mauritz Stiller...She also had very warm and lovely eyes."

After The Saga of Gosta Berling was shot, Greta Garbo briefly returned to the Royal Dramtic Theater before being brought to Berlin by Stiller for its premiere- Stiller was also with Greta Garbo for the premiere of The Joyless Street. In a Berlin hotel room, Stiller had said to Greta Garbo, "That's better. Put your feet on that stool. You're tired. A film star is always tired. It impresses people." And yet biographers have noted that Greta Garbo's first feature film in Sweden had in fact catapulted her to where she would begin in Hollywood as a leading lady, irregardless of her insisting that she be given different roles.

Before travelling to Turkey to be filmed on location, Greta Garbo returned to Stockholm, appearing on the Swedish stage in the play The Invisible Man, written by Par Lagerkvist. There would be a letter from Greta Garbo to Vera Schmiterlow sent from Constantinople. Stiller had written the script to the film Odalisque of Smolny, leaving Berlin with Garbo, bringing Einar Hanson, Julius Jaenzon and Ragnar Hylten-Cavallius to Turkey, only to have the film be left unmade. In the film, Garbo was to portray a harem girl; there were rehearsals held of an exterior where Garbo was to meet her lover. There is a reference to the film Greta Garbo made in a 1928 interview for Photoplay Magazine, "'We never started on that picture. The company went broke. Mr. Stiller had to go back to Germany to see about the money which was not coming. I was alone in Constantinople. Oh, yes, Einar Hansen,' she paused,'the Swedish boy who was killed here in Hollywood not so long ago- was there too. He used to play with me in the picture. But I did not see him often.'"

Stiller had told Greta Garbo, "Pabst has seen Gosta Berlings Saga so many times that he knows everything about you." During the shooting of Greta Garbo's second feature film, Pabst invited Stiller to the studio to give him technical advice; it was Stiller who added the giving of a fur coat to Greta Garbo's character in the plotline. During the film, Pabst often holds Garbo in close shot, as when he builds the structure of the film by cutting back and forth between her close shot and its accompanying point of view and reaction shots. While in Germany she deepened the aquaintance she had made with Swedish actress Gerda Lundeqvist; it would be Asta Nielsen of whom she would claim that it was to whom she owed her carreer. Garbo was to have made a second film for Pabst, but declined.

Roman Novarro is quoted as having said, "It wasn't enough for her to satisfy the director. Often- despite his OK, she asked for a scene to be retaken because she didn't think she said she had done her best." Greta Garbo director George Fitzmaurice (Mata Hari, As You Desire Me) in 1924 directed one of the first films to include a Technicolor sequence, Cytherea. Garbo director Edmund Goulding would begin directing in 1925 with the Sun-Up Sally (six reels), a film in which he brought silent film actor Conrad Nagel to the screen and to awaiting theater audiences. Clarence Brown in 1925 directed Rudolf Valentino in the film The Eagle, which is notable not only for its introduction of the pullback shot, a tracking shot moving away from its subject similar to the zoom-out, but it was also one of the first films for which Adrian had designed the costumes, the other that year having had been being Her Sister From Paris.

Glimpses of the Greta Garbo of 1924, a year when in the United States Viola Dana and Jetta Goudal were starring together in the film Open All Night (six reels), can be seen in the letters between her and Swedish actress Mimi Pollock authenticated by authro tin Andersen Axell, letters which comprise the background for one of his most recent books. Leaving us again with something mysterious, the letters written to Pollack to Greta Garbo have been unssen by the public and are thought to be currently included in the collection of Scott Riesfield. King Vidor in 1924 paired John Gilbert and Aileen Pringle in two films, Wife of the Centaur, with Kate Lester and His Hour. Monta Bell that year directed Gilbert in The Snob (seven reels)

When refilmed, Greta Garbo's Hollywood screentest would be shot by Stiller, and was purportedly spliced into the rushes of The Torrent, a script based on the novel Among the Orange Trees by Vincente Belasco-Ibanez, and then seen by director Monta Bell, who then insisted that the role be given to Garbo. Garbo's second screen test had been shot by Henrik Sartov. Lillian Gish relates a conversation between her and Sartov about Greta Garbo where Gish had asked him in he could photograph a screentest of Garbo, "'She had such a lovely face'", wrote Gish, "Garbo's temperment reflected the rain and gloom of the long dark Scandinavian winters." Henrik Sartov, who had been Billy Bitzer's assistant under Griffith, later explained that the earlier test had lacked proper lighting and that a lens he had devised had allowed him to to articulate depth while filming her. Cmaerman William Daniels had photographed the earlier test. At first Garbo was reluctant to accept the role in the film, although it was a large role that had been considered for Nora Shearer, Stiller, who was on the set of the film during its first day of shooting, having advised, "It can lead to better parts later." to which Garbo replied, "How can I take direction from some one I don't know." Monta Bell had directed Shearer in After Midnight (1921). The production still of Greta Garbo during the filming of The Torrent were photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise.

Author Charles Affron writes that it may have been Stiller's keeping Greta Garbo on the screen and in front of the camera that had been among the reasons for his being replaced by Fred Niblo on the set of The Temptress. Swedish Silent Film author Bengt Forslund only writes that he "was, people felt, a nuisance". One biographer notes that the shooting of the film itself may have been taking too long. Greta Garbo had related her dismay when told that Mauritz Stiller would be replaced after two weeks (ten days) of shooting. "I was broken to pieces, nobody knows." He had reportedly shot about a third of the film. In her autobiography, Pola Negri writes that before Niblo had been given the film, "Stiller had completed most of her scenes, guaranteeing that she would emerge as a great star. During this tragic period, we would often meet, knowing that in each other we would find understanding and consolation." Among the scenes that Greta Garbo had filmed with Stiller that were reshot by Fred Niblo was a scene that had in the rushes included a white horse, it having been replaced by a scene in silhouette of a masked ball. The scenes themselves were to be entirely rewritten and Niblo and Daniels included a dollyshot shot filmed by using a hand-held camera on a moving platform. The photplay of the film was based on the novel The Earth Belongs to Everyone, by Vincenet Belasco Ibanez.

Begnt Forslund writes, "Her first two films, The Torrent and The Temptress, both in 1926, were insignificant, but showed she had appeal- the audience liked her". Charles Affron particularly looks to the entrances that Greta Garbo makes during the opening scenes of her silent film and notes that Fred Niblo, after taking the helm upon siller's leaving the filming of The Temptress, studies garbo's beauty, her ethereality, by adding a second screen entrance of his own where Garbo, clasping flowers, is exiting a carriage- he then illustrates its use in the later film, The Mysterious Lady, where Garbo, in the middle of watching an opera is seen by Conrad Nagel as he is making his entrance and then by the first person omniscient camera in a profile shot; in the sequence, the camera is authorial in accordance to the action of the scene, Garbo's look momentarily uninterrupted as Nagel, almost an interloper, is introduced into the scene by his entering the frame and by the camera nearing her as she is motionlessly surveying the proscenium. The fictional theater in the film becomes a self-reflective public sphere of address that envelopes its characters, her act of watching both the subject of cinematic address and the object of both Nagel's and the audience's interest with the positioning of subjectivities.

Author Mark A. Vieria was asked by Turner Classic Movies to provide audio narrative commentary to the film The Temptress for its The Garbo Silents collection, his on occaision quoting the actress during the film as weel as his quoting from her correspondence. The Temptress begins with a blue-tinted exterior shot, Fred Niblo then cutting what seems to be an opera house during which there are lights from the cieling that sway back and forth across a costume dance. During the next scene Garbo inb an evening gown that is folded like a robe enters a drawing room where there is a visitor that has been invited to dinner. During the dinner, there is a pullback shot over a table that is elaborately included in the scene, it having been designed almost as though the scene from a pre-code film in the plunging necklines of its tight clinging evening gowns in contrast to most of the films that seem bookended between the beginning and the end of the film. After a series of exterior shots filmed by assistant director H. Bruce Humberstone, Lionel Barrymore is introduced in the film, Greta Garbo shortly thereafter reintroduced as the camera cuts away from her befroe it is finished panning up, it cutting back after an interpolated shot to finish panning from her wiast upward, the camera slowly reflecting upon the unexpectedness of her being reunited with the other characters. In a scene where Garbo is shown in an extreme close up sitting with Lionel Barrymore, author Mark. A Vieira choses to discuss what that whereas previously closeups had often been used in silent film as being concerned with a different plane of action as other shots filmed from other camera distances, Niblo seems to include closeups into the characterization through a use of lighting and diffusion while filming. Irregardless of this, later in there film there is an extreme close up of Garbo that is abruptly cut almost on a reverse angle right before her and her lover are about to kiss. The character movement of the two nearing each other is held, if only briefly, Garbo near stunning as the camera only briefly contains her within the frame. There in the film is a scene with a rainstorm and flood that, and although it was more than quite concievably added to the plotline for its excitement, is almost a haunting acknowledgement of the camerawork of either Mauritz stiller or Victor Sjostrom in Sweden and the role of nature in Swedish silent film, in this instance an exterior in the mountains, alone with her lover in a series of close shots, her then only being only briefly seen in profile during the thunder and lightning and then again in one of the most beautiful evenings gowns of the film, her shoulders bare as she is reading a letter.

Norwegian actress Greta Nissen would star in two films directed by Roaul Walsh during 1926, (The Lucky Lady and Lady of the Harem. Also that year Nissen appeared in The Love Theif (John McDermott) with Norman Kerry and The Popular Sin (Malcom St Clair). Greta Garbo photographer William H. Daniels in 1926 was cinematographer to the films Altars of Desire (seven reels) under the direction of Christy Cabanne, it having starred the actresses Mae Murray and Maude George, and Bardleys the Magnificent, under the direction of King Vidor. Greta Garbo and John Gilbert were to attend the premiere of the film Bardleys the Magnificent together.

While Garbo was finishing The Temptress, Stiller was at Paramount, where he had written the script for Hotel Imperial (1927, eight reels), which he began shooting after the script department had reworked its plot; Greta Garbo went to a preview of the film. "Stiller was getting his bearings and coming into his own. I could see that he was getting his chance." The conversation between the two actresses related in retrospect by Pola Negri may almost seen eerie, her account begining with a telephone call from Mauritz Stiller, "May I be permitted to bring along a friend? She does not know many people here yet. Greta Garbo" After dinner Negri gave Garbo advice in creating for herself a unique personna, something individual, her going so far as to say ,"Never be aloof or private" with Garbo adding a rejoinder without noting that they were both actresses that had worked abroad that they were in fact both remaing private while in Hollywood and Negri telling Garbo that she would soon have to film without Stiller. "She held her head high. A look of intense interest was spreading over that perfectly chiseled face, making it the one thing that one would not have thought possible: even more beautiful." In a letter to Lars Saxon, Greta Garbo wrote, "Stiller's going to start working with Pola Negri. I'm still very lonely, not that I mind, except occiasionally." Stiller during 1927 directed Pola Negri with Clive Brook in the film Barbed Wire (seven reels) and with Einar Hanson in the film The Woman on Trial (six reels). In 1927 alone, Einar Hanson appeared in the films The Lady in Ermine (James Flood, seven reels), The Masked Woman (six reels) with Anna Q. Nilsson, Fashions for Women (Arzner, seven reels) with Esther Ralston and Children of Divorce, (Frank Lloyd, seven reels), with Clara Bow.

In 1927 Greta Gabo had written, "I could not believe that what I saw when I was first taken to the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer lot was a tudio. I found that it covered acres and acres of ground and bosted some twenty stages, each one of which was larger than our entire studio in Sweden." The quote is from an article printed in Theatre Magazine entitled "Why I am a Recluse." and it either smooths out the extratextural discourse surrounding her on-screen sphinx-like image or was only partly written by Garbo for the studio publicity department; she had earlier renounced her "vamp roles" in order to film melodrama- in any evernt Greta Garbo herself relished reading fan magazines no matter how taciturn she had been. In the article, she explains the difficulty involved in acting in the United States, "My country Sweden is so small. It is also so quiet...During my first picture, Ibanez's Torrent, it was exactly as if I had to learn the making of motion pictures all over again. I was just beginning to learn the language...Now of course, things are easier for me. The second picture, The Temptress, I found less hard. The Flesh and the Devil fairly spun along, and now Love is going easier still. The studio does not seem as large as it did."

The essayist Lucy Fischer quotes Greta Garbo as having written, "They don't have a type like me out here." Although Greta Garbo may or may not have anticipated Pre-Code Hollywood in her expressing that she did not want to play vamp roles, the online author of Amy's Classic Stars Page insightfully added a description of the later roles given to Greta Garbo before the advent of sound film, "In her six remaining features Garbo co-starred with Gilbert once A Woman of Affairs but she continued to shine opposite other leading men (Nils Asther, Conrad Nagel) as the woman who must pay for her extramarital affairs, as in her last three 1929 films, the lush Wild Orchids (Vilda Orkideer, Sidney Franklin, 1925, eleven reels) The Single Standard (En kvinna moral, 1928) and Hollywood's last major silent The Kiss." Greta Garbo had declined a role in the 1927 film Women Love Diamonds (seven reels) directed by Edmund Goulding, which was to star Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lionel Barrymore and Owen Moore, it not having met with her approval. Biographers attribute it to her not wanting to continue in the role of a vamp or seductress. Scott Reisfield writes, "Garbo's correspondence with Mimi Pollak indicates that she recognized the weakness of the production but shed neither withdrew from the film not capitulated to MGM." In fact, after a fortnight, it had gotten tow where production had stopped untill Garbo had gained script approval. Reisfield contiues, "Often they were adaptions of classic or properties that were provocative for their time." There are accounts that if she were to have been having an affair, at that time it would not have had been being with Mauritz Stiller, but with John Gilbert, who would return to the screen after having appeared in what was by its 1927 release in theaters titled Love.

Of her off-screen romance with John Gilbert, director Clarence Brown, who had introduced the two to each other, had said, "After I finished a scene with the 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 alone in a world of their own." Bengt Forslund notes that the filming of an adaptation of the novel Anna Karenina had at first been thought of or actress Lillian Gish, who Greta Garbo had seen in the film The White Sister while in Sweden. Basil Rathbone, who co-starred with Garbo under the direction of Clarence Brown, wrote of his aquaintance with her in his autobiography, In and Out of Character. "I first met Miss Garbo in 1928 when Ouida and I were invited to lunch with Jack Gilbert one Sunday." Rathbone and his wife had been present at the premiere of Flesh and the Devil. He continues, "Gilbert was madly in love with Garbo, a love it was said she was hesitant to reciprocate." On his starring with her in Anna Karenina, he wrote, "And so upon the morning previously arranged I called upon Miss Garbo. The house, a small one, was as silent as the grave. There was no indication it might be occupied." Rathbone had earlier appeared in the silent films- Trouping with Ellen (T. Hayes Hunter, 1924, seven reels), The Masked Bride (Christy Cabanne, 1925 six reels), starring Mae Murray and The Great Deception (Howard Higgin, 1926,six reels).

Charles Affron writes, "Garbo withdraws herself but truly shows more of that self when acting. She makes film a contemplative art. Her contemplation is integrated into the love scene." He mentions this in regard to shot legnth, the camera keeping her in frame during shots of longer duration; film technique positioning the subject in a relation to the spectator, specifically through the use of shot structure, in order to develop character.

There is an account of Victor Sjostrom's shooting the exterior scenes to the 1926 film The Scarlet Letter, in which during the film he climbed down from a platform after Swedish Silent Film Mauritz Stiller had announced that he was there, Stiller then saying, "This is Garbo." Greta Garbo had asked that Victor Sjostrom direct her, as had Lillian Gish earlier. Of Greta Garbo, Sjostrom had said, "She thinks above her eyes. Certain great actors posses what seems to be an uncanny ability to register thought- Lon Chaney was one- Garbo is another. They seem to literally absorb impressions...Garbo is more sensitive to emotions than film is to light, (and) you see it through her eyes." Greta Garbo had been slated to film Ordeal with Chaney under the direction of Marcel de Sano, it having been left unmade. Lon Chaney, who in 1928 had appeared on the sets of Laugh, Clown, Laugh (Herbert Brenon) with Loretta Young, While the City Sleeps (Jack Conway, eight reels) with Anita Page and two films ditected by Tod Browning, The Big City (seven reels)with Betty Compson and West of Zanzibar (seven reels) with Mary Nolan, is quoted as having said, "I told Garbo that mystery served me well and it would do as much for her." He added, "She is a clever woman and she adopted my policy of never having portraits made except in character and never giving interviews- and look where it carried her." The Divine Woman, En Gudomlig Kvinna, Victor Seastrom, (eight reels), one of the three films directed by Victor Sjostrom in 1928, was photographed by Oliver Marsh, who had photographed the silent film Camille using panchromatic film. The earlier films of Greta Garbo had been filmed on orthochromatic film. Based on Starlight, a "static play loaded with dialouge" (Bengt Forslund), by Gladys Unger, whom had also written an early revision of the screenplay, the script had been transferred between several writers ,including Edmound Goulding, before its final rewrite was given to Dorothy Farnum. The titles to the film were to be written by John Colton and the film was edited by Conrad Nevrig. The overture of the film's music had been selections from The Student Prince. Of his having directed Greta Garbo, Silent Film Director Victor Sjostrom had remarked after filming, "I and Metro's own scriptwriter, Frances Marion, wrote the story eight times before it was accepted. By that time nothing remained of the original material." Fritiof Billquist quotes Sjostrom as having said, "She never once came to the set without having prepared herself thoroughly down to the last detail, and if one gave her directions, she accepted them gladly, even though she was a big star even then."

The fragment of Greta Garbo in The Divine Woman showcases the interior editing of Victor Sjostrom. Garbo and Lars Hanson are filmed behind a dining table in a stationary medium fullshot, a brief insert shot of a clock included during the sequence. The insert shot of the clock acquires the qualities of similie and trope as it is repeated, much like the isolated metaphors in Wild Strawberries and Cries and Whispers. It is not the Swedish landscape that the characters find themselves in relationship to, as in the silent film that Sjostrom had filmed in Sweden, but the metaphors of the background which is the context within they are placed. They are then filmed in a series of alternating closeups while seated at the table. On Garbo's later deliviering the line of dialougue, "I'd give up the whole world for you." Sjostrom, in the fragment we have, dissolves to another insert shot a a clock, using the filmed object within the frame, the motion provided by an inanimate object held in closeup. to punctuate the events unique to, if not driven by, both characters in the scene. Sjostrom superimposes a fullshot with a medium close shot of the two together.

John Bainbridge wrote that the film had been "well recieved", that Sjostrom spoke "glowingly" of Garbo's work in the film and also of Stiller's having had an interest in directing the film. Bengt Forslund hints that the script itself had been Stiller's idea as a way for him to return from directing at Paramount.

One rewrite of the continuity script has the name of the title character as "Marah", who is introduced by a dollyshot, her apparently having arrived in Paris by coming from the province of Auverone. For Greta Garbo in the title role of Marianne, it is not a choice between Lucien (Lars Hanson) and Legrande (Lowell Sherman). Legrande, her mother's lover, brings Marianne to acclaim on the stage when Lucien has to return to his conscription. Despondent, she leaves the theater, Lucien then finding her again (similar to the script to The Rise and Fall of Susan Lennox). He takes her to South America where they can begin again. Also in the film are Polly Moran, Dorothy Cumming and John Mack Brown. While there are several interesting accounts that have been written by biographers in regard to the synopsis of title film, and those only adding to the mysterious eroticism of Greta Garbo having been in the title role, Bengt Forslund notes that there was further revision after the completed script was approved and that the ending was made more tragic, the film belonging to the silent film of Greta Garbo in its being romantic melodrama, again their value needing only to have been their having had been being sentimental- the script itself now a lingering ghost as Garbo flirts with the movement of onscreen shadows. When reviewed in the United States, it was deemed that, "Mr. Seastrom reveals in sharp contrasts...When the actress tries to end her life because of her love for Lucien, Mr. Seastrom introduces the idea of having a group of sympathizers, some with a bouquet of flowers, filling a doorway while Marianne is unconscious on her bed." In Victor Sjostrom: His Life and Work, Bengt Forslund writes, "One recognizes that the story could not be helped, but clearly Sjostrom was trying to do something different with Garbo, to make her a softer, more easy going woman that she had appeared in ealier films." The film had taken six weeks to shoot.

To end the silent era two months before Greta Garbo's last film The Kiss, Clarence Sinclair Bull became her gallery photographer. Author Mark A. Vieira writes, "She liked him because, like Clarence Brown, he spoke softly, if at all."

The screenplays to both The Kiss and Wild Orchids were both written by Hans Kraly during a year in which he had written the scripts to Eternal Love (Lubitsch, nine reels), Betrayal (Lewis Milestone, eight reels), The Garden of Eden (Milestone, starring Corrinne Griffith and Lowell Sherman, and The Last of Mrs Cheyney.

There is a two minute print in an unidentified film not only thought to be Greta Garbo crossing the Atlantic, but thought to be her possible inclusion in the 1928 film, or the rushes to the 1928 film, En december dag pa Atlanten, photographed by Gustav Berg and directed by Ragnar Ring. There is an account of Greta Garbo and Ragnar Ring having spoken to her while crossing the Atlantic and his having greeted her. It does not recount their conversation in regard to his filming her as a cameo or later while in Sweden.

While in Stockholm, Greta Garbo had visited the set of Triumph of the Heart (Hjartats triumf, 1929 Molander) with Carl Brisson and Anna Lindhal. Behind the camera during its filming was Julius Jaenzon. She had given actor Carl Brisson a rose before her having entered movies; Brisson apparently later claimed that he, rather than Gustaf Molander, had introduced Greta Garbo to Stiller. While in Sweden, she had come across actress Vera Schmiterlow, whom she had known well and whom she had hoped would venture to Hollywood and also while in Sweden she renewed her acquaintance with the actress Marte Hallden.

It was also there that she had first met Gosta Ekman, who greeted her by saying, "But you're so ordinary." Later she visited Ekman's dressing room to thank him for the use of his seat at at theatrical play that Stiller had directed when it had first begun its run. Ekman was purportedly in hope of sharing the Swedish stage with her in a theater run of Grand Hotel.

Along with the films he made with Greta Garbo, before his returning to Sweden, Lars Hanson in the United States appeared in the films Captain Salvation (eight reels), photographed by William Daniels, and Buttons (George Hill, seven reels). On returning to Sweden, Victor Sjostrom would reunite with Lars Hanson and Karin Molander to appear in a short beauty contest film, Froken, Ni linknar Greta Garbo (1931) where Eivor Nordstrom was chosen to be the most like Greta Garbo. Its photographer was Ake Dalquist.

It was in Sweden that Greta Garbo had agreed to appear in the film The Painted Veil and it was there where she had first read the script to Queen Christina.

In The Perfect Murder (Det Perfekte Mord), directed by Eva Isaksen, the extremely beuatiful Anna-Lena Hemstrom believes herself to be Greta Garbo, or rather the characters portrayed on-screen by Greta Garbo; the extratextural discourse omits the reclusive Greta Garbo of screen magazines, but includes the fictional characters from various time periods within the modern context of romatic intrigues, the woman that was seemingly alone is found in bed with her various fantasy lovers, the costumes of each drama unfastened during a carnality that had been seemingly left unspoken. During the making of a film, Anna-Lena Hemstrom enacts particular scenes from Garbo's films each time she is off the set and between film shoots, becoming the on screen Garbo in her bedroom while making love, which is the theme that the plot is centered around, the actress on screen becoming the spectator within the film through an identification with the action of the film actress, the idealized appropriated into the dramaturgy of the erotic-- the movements are those of Garbo in character-- the only way to become authentic is to be the absolute object of her look, and only then by becoming her paramour. Subteley interwoven into to the plot is the interior opening establishing shot and an undercurrent of the suspense of Garbo reuniting with Gilbert, the unknown of whether she and Gilbert would marry, it building only through a disclosure during the story. The erotic transfigurations of the film are designed so that there is viewer identification with the female protagonist's romantic fantasy of her being Greta garbo the erotic object and simultaneously an identification with the female gratification of her fulfilling a secret constructed poeticlly erotic self during the visual instances of the erotic act while she is cloistered in the bedroom in between going to the set to film as an actress. The continuity of the film provides an erotic appropriation within two intercut fantasyscapes, the visual expostition bringing and objectification of the romantic love through which the female seeks sexual pleasure and an objectification of the female body seeking climax. Interestingly, the fabula of the film, the events of each particular scene, and its syhuzet, the presentation of its plot line, merge as its characters encounter each other, as she entices each lover toward the sensual, the causal chain of the former abruptly leaving each lover affair a mystery after it has been brought to sexual satisfaction. Visually, the film represent the act of love as being both abstract and concrete: it only depicts the actress during sex in as much as each instance, and the accompanying dialouge, is particularly connected to the narrative, there being a specificality within each of the scenes upon which the plot line is dependent, one in which the actress is convinced that she knows each of her lovers from a particular Greta Garbo film and that she has to make love to them according to the juncture of events that comprises the scene in the film. She is an actress entertaining the fantasies of the actress Greta Garbo and yet, although there are no abstract shots during the film, their being shown in the bedroom uninterrupted by cut in shots that would add meaning to the scene, sex aquires something that is metaphoric in that she is Garbo, there being the lietmotif of each film having a different title character that she as Garbo has to portray and each Garbo character being emerged in a different melodrama, and that as Garbo, she is unattainable; for each of her lovers it can only be fantasy and for the female viewer it can only be from one fantasy to the next. During the film, it becomes intangilbe at the very moment of sexual climax to where the corporeality becomes unknowable, particularly in the way in which the film is directed, to where it is is know only by Garbo- there is an objectification of the actress as garbo and it is her tragic beauty that has validity, her making love as the Garbo she has portrayed on the screen that carries her to the next lover from a different, later Garbo film, it kept as a suprise which Greta garbo film will be added next, sex becoming a metaphor for Garbo's elusiveness and her intertextual star quality. The female fantasizing viewer becomes an aesthetic observer, one that goes to the movies, and the aesthetic distance is relegated to her being postitioned in front of a subject that is acquiring each successive lover that cannot posses her. The film could almost adressess the possibility of Nils Asther and Stiller both having remarked upon Greta Garbo having been shy, the film establishing the narrative on two levels, that of the actress that can play a character on the screen other than herself, a modern actress much like the extratextural Greta Garbo that later retired as a recluse and invites the director of the film she is making to her apartment and that of the actress Garbo in front of the camera positited as though reincarnated years later with several modern lovers with whom she believes she is co-starring and with whom fulfillment can only be known through being conjugal and the elusive encountering Garbo as a mystery, as the Swedish Sphinx; the erotic tension central to the film is between the actress and the director, each subplot adding to the pace of the film as it brings a similar conflict of who Garbo is untill later the director and actress can at last make love. As an aesthetic object, Garbo is a contemplated object in the subjectivities of each successive co-star, contemplated as an aesthetic love object as the offscreen actress by the director who is passionately pursuing her and is seduced by her being the not-impossible-she, or unattainable object of worship.

Early in the film, Anna-Lena Hemstrom portrays an actress in the audience of the on-screen Greta Garbo, watching her role seducing John Gilbert in Queen Christina on television, "How can one surrender oneself so completely. The one line of dialouge acts as though it were the last sentence of a novel, it not summarizing the denoument, but connecting characterization to narrativization. From there, in a white bedroom and white nightgown symbolic of post-coital solitude, she introduces an eroticism of both reclusiveness and of sphinx-like mystery, of Greta Garbo in character and only in character and of Anna-Lena Hemstrom as Garbo, in character and only in character whispering, "Not now." "Not now"

Fredrick Sands writes about having interviewed Greta Garbo in 1977, "The Garbo I met still recoils at the sight of strangers...her shyness is not feigned." She spoke fondly of Sweden and her hope that she might return. "She spends her days mostly walking, reading, waiting- "I don't know what for." It is in keeping with ealier biographies that Sands mentions that her acquaintances would ask not to be quoted after having been interviewed. Sands gives the account that , "Garbo never answers the telephone at all unless she expects someone she wishes to call her at a prearranged hour. Even then at a prearranged hour. Even then, she cannot be said to 'answer' the telephone: she simply picks up the reciever and waits for her caller to speak."

There is something, no matter how unintentional, that can metaphorically connect the character portayed by Liv Ullmann in the film Pesona, directed by Ingmar Bergman, and our image of Garbo, the reticient Greta garbo that had fascinated the world at a distance, that had fascinated it sexually both on screen and after her having left Hollywood. (The island that is the background in the film Persona is in fact remote, it serving her as a metaphor for isolation and withdrawal.) There is a mystery to the erotiicism of Greta garbo. Writing in 1974, Richard Corliss concludes his volume Greta garbo with a brief section about her retirement from film, claiming that neither she nor the studio had expected it. About her being reclusive and her need for solitude, he writes, "she became the chief curator of her film image by staying completely as possible out of the public eye." objectively, it is the author's interpretation of a legen, written before garbo had begun to again give interviews, particularly the conversation published in Bunte Illustierte, a magazine from west germany, and yet, still, in the chapter it is almost as though the author writes to Garbo, "the woman she is today."

And yet, not only was Greta Garbo an actress, a figure of shadow sauntering across the screen, gracefullness moving as image in the cinema of the silent photoplay, a cinema that had long developed from the brazen act of display where motion itself was a sexual act of display in a cinema of attractions itself ready to quickly yeild to the pictorial and the editing of early narrative and scene to scene camerawork- not only an actress within the flicker of intertitled dramas where the photoplay waited for each facial expression, each glance- a cinema of gaze and the female look insofar as it was entirely silent, hanging upon the next word from the actress in a cinema that was pre-sound, the character given to Garbo not only centering the narrative and driving its plotline, but giving it its mood and emotion in between its brief inserted dialougue intertitles- insofar as she was sought after she was also a model, particularly when photographed by Arnold Genthe, Ruth Harriet Louise, George Hurrel, Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, or Garbo at her most mysterious, by Nickolas Muray. Not incidently when Garbo had visited Genthe's studio, Stiller had accompanied her. Actress and director Mai Zetterling has said, "I don't have Garbo's austere tragic beauty." An enigmatic Greta Garbo during 1951 was photographed by George Hoyningen-Heune for a collection that appeared in Harper's Barzaar Magazine in 1952. Recently, Scott Reisfield editied more than 100 photographs of Greta Garbo for the volume Garbo, Her Private Collection of Own Portraits. Reisfield is the grandson of Swedish film actor Sven Gustafsson. Greta Garbo had visited her brother while in Stockholm. Swedish actor Edvin Adolphson was behind the camera to direct Sven Garbo in the 1930 film When Roses Bloom (Na Rosorna sla ut). Gray Reisfield has recently been interviewed on Swedish radio fondly remembering her aunt and her interests. In Frankfurt, Germany, Scott Reisfield noted the development of Greta Garbo's technique as an actress as being attributable to her "poise in front of the camera" and her feminity. In a quote almost as fascinating as The Mysterious Lady we have become acquainted with through her film, Reisfield addresses questions regarding the Greta Garbo known to those whom had seen her offscreen, his adding to the extratextural discourse that had created The Swedish Sphinx of photoplay magazine and the Greta Garbo who had been seen as a recluse during retirement, "I knew her for years for before I comprehended the importance of her career.". Greta Garbo, Her Private Collection of Own Portraits, is, like Greta Garbo, A Cinematic Legacy, a biography of the actress and includes a costume study for Flesh and the Devil photographed by Clarence Sinclair Bull and his Sphinx Collage double exposure. The biography regarding Garbo as chronologically being in Sweden is written by Reisfield; the period covering her movies filmed in the United States is penned by Robert Dance.

In his book, Greta Garbo, A Cinematic Legacy, Mark A. Vieira relates his conversation with Clarence Sinclair Bull about the original negatives of the portraits of Greta Garbo taken by the photographer. Sinclair had used a code on the edge of each photo with the date of each session and from these the date of the shooting of each sequence in each particular film can be found. The author Mark Vieira was kind enough to e-mail two pages of photos scanned from these original negatives to the present author. The second letter was just as unexpected as the first and had read, "More for you to have fun with."

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Still photograph of Greta Garbo from the shooting of film The Painted Veil scanned from the original negative and sent via e-mail to the present author by author Mark A Vieira, Greta Garbo A Cinematic Legacy.

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Brining the photosession between Greta Garbo and Clarence Sinclair Bull to life, while still complimenting the actress on her unprecedented "ability to pose in extreme close-up with such calm and certainty", author Robert Dance notes that during the portrait session to Inspiration there was a twenty second interlude between each photo where, not only did the photographer align his camera within inches, thereby reframing Garbo, but where Garbo would have to keep in the same position as he was waiting, the nuances of her body movement shown to the lens. He notes that each session between the two of them could often result in as many as eighty to ninety portraits being photographed. Still photographs of Greta Garbo from the film Inspiration scanned from the original negative and sent to the present author via e-mail by author Mark A. Vieira, Greta Garbo A Cinematic Legacy.

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"Garbo and Bull had their greatest success shooting portraits for Mata Hari. The session was divided into roughly equal parts, the first a series of costume studies that would document Adrian's thrilling designs." Robert Dance, author Garbo, Portraits from her Private Collection. Still photographs of Greta Garbo from the film Mata Hari scanned from the original negative and sent to the present author via e-mail by author Mark A. Vieira, Greta Garbo A Cinematic Legacy.

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Still photographs of Greta Garbo in As You Desire Me (Som du vill ha mig (1932) scanned from the original negative and sent to the present author via e-mail by author Mar A. Vieira.

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Still photographs of Greta Garbo from the film Camille (Kameliadamen, George Cukor, 1937) scanned from the original negative and sent to the present author by Mark A Vieira, Greta Garbo A Cinematic Legacy via e-mail.

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Still photographs of Greta Garbo from the films Romance (Romantik), The Painted Veil and Inspiration scanned from the original negative and sent to the prsent author by Mark A Vieira, Greta Garbo A Cinematic Legacy via e-mail.

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