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Greta Garbo: The Temptress and the Clown (1986)

Two part biography of Greta Garbo - 1. The Temptress 2. The Clown. Reminiscences of her early life in Stockholm, with excerpts from her films. Narrated by Bibi Andersson.


Dan Säll


Åke Whilney


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Credited cast:
Bibi Andersson ... Herself / Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Renate Brausewetter Renate Brausewetter ... Herself as Frau (archive footage)
Edward Connelly ... Himself as Pedro Moreno (archive footage)
Ricardo Cortez ... Himself as Don Rafael Brull (archive footage)
Greta Garbo ... Herself (archive footage)
John Gilbert ... Himself (archive footage)
Lillian Gish ... Herself (archive footage)
Louis B. Mayer ... Himself (archive footage)
Antonio Moreno ... Himself as Manuel Robledo (archive footage)
Victor Sjöström ... Himself (archive footage)
Mauritz Stiller ... Himself (archive footage)
Irving Thalberg ... Himself (archive footage)


Two part biography of Greta Garbo - 1. The Temptress 2. The Clown. Reminiscences of her early life in Stockholm, with excerpts from her films. Narrated by Bibi Andersson.

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Sweden | USA



Release Date:

1986 (Sweden) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Tepid bio of the famous Swedish actress...
18 September 2009 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Painfully slow Garbo biography is narrated in dull fashion, tracing her early years as a rather overweight young woman with teeth in need of straightening, to the young and more attractive slimmed down woman who decides to do some modeling and ends up doing film work.

What makes her a fascination for the slack-jawed admiration of men who stop dead in their tracks to stare at her, remains a mystery to me. I never found Garbo's type of beauty (thin lips, heavy-lidded eyes, mannish features) even remotely beautiful. But with great cameramen behind the lens, she eventually was discovered by MGM and brought to America.

It covers the on again/off again romance with John Gilbert--but Garbo runs hot and cold, never turning up for the double marriage ceremony supposed to take place uniting her with Gilbert. She remains an enigma then and now. No new insight into her psyche is given here--just a slow and torturous account of Garbo as the object of desire (the temptress) for many leading men. The public knew about her hot romance with Gilbert which made their films a "must see" at the time because of their screen chemistry.

"I have the amazing feeling that I've lived before. I'm a very simple person. I like the beach. I like to walk alone." These are quotes she gave in her only interview to Photoplay magazine. We never really get to know her at all. There's brief mention of her affair with a Russian woman writer and then we get to the advent of "talkies" and her talking debut in "Anna Christie." ("Give me a visky and don't be stingy, baby," she tells the waiter. "Should I serve it in a pail?" is his comeback).

The film clips at this point become more interesting. But still, it the sort of documentary that will appeal mostly to Garbo fans. Others will be less than impressed.

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