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In Czarist Russia, Anna Karenina falls in love with the dashing military officer Count Vronsky and abandons her husband and child to become Vronsky's mistress. Tragedy ensues when Vronsky ... See full summary »
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[For 9 minute surviving fragment] Lucian, a soldier in Paris, is to ship out for Algiers at 9 that evening. He stops by for a last meal with his love, Marianne. He may be worried that when ... See full summary »
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 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 »
Christina's musket pistol did not make a cloud of smoke. See more »
[on the street protests about her private life]
Evidently my people, who are said to love me, do not wish me to be happy.
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I sometimes think that films should be ranked rather like golfers, with a seniors' section for the over 50s. It is often difficult for the inherent quality of a film to shine through the grainy black and white, crackly sound, stagey sets and ludicrous back-projections. One test of a classic film is: if you went and saw it at your local multiplex tonight, would you enjoy it. Maybe Casablanca, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon...and, surprisingly, Queen Christina looking as modern and sexy today as when it was made in 1933. The main thing that makes it stand out from the crowd is its literate and thoughtful screenplay. The subject matter is new to most people who, like myself, have only the sketchiest of knowledge about 17th century Swedish history. Garbo is magnificent as an intelligent, liberated queen. She spends most of the film in men's clothes and thigh-length boots. I'm always rather incredulous of the Shakespearean convention where the heroine only has to put on a pair of trousers and everyone assumes she is a boy. Queen Christina delightfully pokes fun at this convention. Garbo, dressed as a boy, finds that she has to share the last room at the inn with John Gilbert, the Spanish envoy. In a scene that radiates sexiness, Garbo only has to take off her jacket for Gilbert to realise that she is all woman.
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