Thursday, April 21, 2011

Garbo Was a Silent Screen Goddess (Note: Silent)

In addition to the ridiculous number of films discussed here, we also watched, in our endless Cabinet viewing party, a couple of Greta Garbo films, namely: Mata Hari and Camille.

Well, I fell asleep halfway through Camille.

To be honest, I've never really gotten Greta Garbo. She seems so mannered and her films are a little dull. But then I realized that she is a silent film actress, or maybe a supermodel. But a sound actress she is not. Talking diminishes her.

You look at her, and she's all cheekbones and mystery. And then she starts to talk and she becomes literal and the spell is broken. At right she wears that extraordinary ensemble by that genius Adrian. I could stare at her wearing it all day. But then some sort of prosaic dialogue happens and I'm less interested.

I can't think of anyone else, probably because the overlap between successful sound and silent performers was minimal. I think if I lump her in with Lisa Fonssagrives or Dovima or Stella Tennant I understand her a little better.

I mean, look at that face:

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