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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
One of silent cinema's greatest pairings, Greta Garbo and John Gilbert starred together one last time in Queen Christina. Gilbert's career was in tatters by 1933 after a string on failures, and Laurence Olivier had already bailed from the role, but Garbo insisted on Gilbert. And he is wonderful as the Spanish envoy. He looks great and gives a sly performance with plenty of wit. This is also one of Garbo's best talkies. Together they light up the screen. This film also boasts some of the most gorgeous close ups of Garbo you've ever seen. Solid historical drama of Swedish queen who abdicates for love. Good supporting cast includes Lewis Stone, Reginald Owen, Akim Tamiroff, Ian Keith as the slimy Magnus, C. Aubrey Smith, Elizabeth Young, and David Torrence. Beautiful film with solid performances and, dare I say, very feminist in its view. Gilbert's performance in this film and Downstairs (1932) should have put him back on top. What a shame. Norma Desmond was right when she said, "They took the idols and they smashed them. The The Gilberts, the Fairbankses, the Valentinos."
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