Understand Your Feminine Nature with these 2 Remarkable Garbo Films

Roxana Anton

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Photo Source: Greta Garbo Wikimedia Commons

Since the Pandemic started, I discovered Hollywood’s Golden era.

To me, watching one of the oldies is like entering a living museum.

It’s a life, habits, dressing, and manners we almost forgot about.

They can teach us so much.

Every time I see a remarkable production, I wonder: can we bring back that elegance and amazing style? Can we live like that again, please?

Can we go back to act and dress to emphasize our inner virtues?

Fred Astaire, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, James Steward, Grace Kelly, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe opened an ideal window, to a world of elegance and taste, together with sympathy and deep human feelings.

All of them played enjoyable characters in films that are a must-see for every generation.

In the past weeks, I started to see the best movies from the ’30s, and I “bumped” into Greta Garbo.

I had never seen her on-screen before. She was, of course, a surprise and something worth discovering.

She did some great roles, some seemed too “tasty” to resist, so I had to do a post about them, even if they are probably not what you expect.

Those titles are: “Mata Hari”, “Grand Hotel”, “Queen Christina”, “Anna Karenina”, “Ninotchka”, and “Camille”.

I choose to speak about the two that made a deep impression on me.

“For a brief time, she dropped her shyness. And I found behind the legend, the person. Warm, charming, intelligent. All the things I’ve been told by the people who had worked with her” — Hedda Hopper, "Marlene Dietrich vs Greta Garbo Documentary 2017"

1. “Queen Christina” or How to Discover Your Noble Feminine Nature. Would be a great watch for all women influencers out there, and for every man who claims he can’t understand women.

A pre-Code Hollywood biographical film, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1933, this is my all-time favorite Garbo movie.

If you want to understand the essence of Garbo’s acting, this is the one movie that, in my opinion, makes the difference.

What better match for the Swedish- born diva?

Garbo portrays the life of Queen Christina of Sweden, who became monarch at the age of six in 1632 and grew to be a powerful and influential leader.

Queen Christina is expected to marry a suitable royal figure and produce an heir.

However, she falls in love with a visiting Spanish envoy whom she is forbidden to marry because he is a Roman Catholic; she must choose between love and her royal duty.

The film was a major commercial and critical success in the United States and worldwide (source: Wikipedia).

What is remarkable about it, is Garbo’s capacity of giving life to a distinguished, noble, pure, and wise heart.

Raised like a man, destined to be king, queen Christina is forced to forget all about her feminine nature.

“Must we live for the dead?” — she asks, in a moment of tiredness of facing her monarch duties.

“For the great dead, yes, your Majesty.”

“Snows like a wide sea. One could get out and get lost. And forget the world and oneself”.

These were prophetic words, as queen Christina didn’t care about vain luxury and power.

All she cared about was staying true to herself and what she believed in, even in those moments when she had the entire Swedish people against her.

She showed terrific spiritual strength and absolutely no fear to face the Swedish people, who sometimes misunderstood her actions.

This type of female character is somehow forgotten in today’s cinema.

Later in the movie, Queen Cristina falls in love and listens to herself and her heart.

She provides a great lesson about what nobility really is: fighting for peace, ending useless wars, doing her best to serve Sweden’s interests, and also following all the moral principles she was taught.

Of course, she is misunderstood by the people of her court and by destiny itself.

Greta Garbo took the role of Queen Cristina, making it her own, and giving a beautiful lesson of feminism.

Her subtle message was that it takes a woman’s true heart, wisdom, courage, and knowledge to keep a country safe, prosperous, and out of useless wars.

She incarnated on the screen what a woman is really about.

Still, while I’m writing these words, I find it such an amazing character and such a must-watch to everyone out there.

2. “Camille” or the Sacrifice of a Woman’s Heart

We live today in a world of influencers.

Most are trying to tell us how to dress, but is any of them talking about how to dress in a way that speaks about our soul and identity?

This is one of the reasons I liked this film, beyond its story and beyond the fact that it is a mise en scène of the famous novel and theatre play La Dame aux Camélias, by Alexandre Dumas.

One of the ways I look at these films is from a costume point of view (I told you, it’s like visiting a living museum).

I love that the main character’s fabulous dresses underline her moral qualities, spirit, inner beauty.

Exterior beauty is about inner beauty.

In other words, it’s someone’s personality that makes the clothes, not the other way around. Maybe we need to remember that, a little bit.

That being said, La dame aux Camelias is the beautiful, tragic story of a “well-known” courtesan of Paris who sacrificed her happiness for the sake of the loved one, while being insulted and misunderstood by everybody in her time.

This is another role that Greta Garbo made hers forever, as film critics acclaim.

For the classic movies she did and the impact she had on people all over the world, Greta Garbo received an honorific Oscar (1954) for her career and remains forever a timeless Hollywood legend and cultural icon.

From 1942, at the age of 36, she decided to leave Hollywood and the screens forever. She turned her back on Hollywood, she never gave interviews, and never looked back.

In 1950, the magazine “Variety” named her “the best actress of the first half of the century”. (Wikipedia)

She died in 1990 in New York and is buried in Stockholm.

Watching her movies will teach you valuable lessons, together with a free acting, fashion, and elegance school.

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