Budapest bar entertainer Zara is a discontented alcoholic who is pursued by many men but lives with novelist Carl Salter. A strange man (Tony) shows up on Salter's estate claiming that Zara... See full summary »
Erich von Stroheim
Queen Christina of Sweden is a dominant European ruler in the 17th century, and has never thought of romance. However, she accidentally and secretly falls in love with an emissary from Spain, even though a marriage between the two seems out of the question.Written by
Greta Garbo initially requested that Laurence Olivier play the male lead, Don Antonio, since she was impressed by his performance in Westward Passage (1932). In July 1933, the press announced that Olivier would take the part. However, when they did the rehearsals in August, Garbo and Olivier had no chemistry, and he was released, although MGM Studios honored his negotiated salary of $1,500 a week for four weeks minimum. Garbo requested that John Gilbert be cast in the role instead. See more »
In the famous final shot, the wind blowing Garbo's hair is moving in the opposite direction from the wind that is powering the ship's sails. This was no doubt deliberate, as to have done it correctly would have meant her hair would be blowing across her face. See more »
Spoils. Glory. Flags and trumpets. What is behind these high sounding words ? Death and destruction. Triumphals of crippled men. Sweden victorious in a ravaged Europe. An island in a dead sea. I tell you, I want no more of it! I want for my people, security and happiness. I want to cultivate the arts of peace. The arts of life! I want peace and peace I will have!
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This is a movie with several good points, but "Queen Christina" is most of all notable for the outstanding performance by the great Greta Garbo, in a role that is perfect for her. There are good settings and a good story, with the rest of the cast also mostly performing well, but Garbo's terrific performance grabs the viewer's attention and holds it for the entire film.
The story is very loosely based on the historical Queen Christina, who ruled Sweden in the mid-1600's. The historical character was interesting in her own right, but the movie adds a clandestine love affair with a Spanish ambassador that serves as a catalyst for questions about Christina's identity, duty, and perspective. It's a fine character study that makes ideal material for Garbo, and she is thoroughly convincing when portraying the queen's dilemmas, desires, and decisions. While the historical context is important, many of the things that the queen agonizes over are also timeless concerns, making the portrayal even more memorable. The story itself is also good, with a memorable climax.
This is a fine classic, recommended not only for those who enjoy older films, but also for anyone who can appreciate a great performance by a great actress.
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