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Garbo Talks (1984)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  12 October 1984 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 977 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 4 critic

The son of a woman dying of a brain tumour tries to fulfil his mother's last wish - to meet Greta Garbo.

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Title: Garbo Talks (1984)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Estelle Rolfe
...
Gilbert Rolfe
...
Lisa Rolfe
...
Jane Mortimer
...
Walter Rolfe
Howard Da Silva ...
Angelo Dokakis
Dorothy Loudon ...
Sonya Apollinar
...
...
Elizabeth Rennick
Richard B. Shull ...
Michael Lombard ...
Mr. Morganelli
Ed Crowley ...
Mr. Goldhammer
...
Claire Rolfe
Maurice Sterman ...
Dr. Cohen
Antonia Rey ...
Puerto Rican Nurse
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Storyline

Estelle is a one-person protest army: she goes to jail over grocery prices, shames construction workers for catcalls to passing women, and won't cross a picket line for her son's wedding. She also loves Garbo films: when she learns she has a brain tumor and six months to live, she decides she must meet Garbo. Her dutiful son Gilbert, a Manhattan accountant named for Garbo's co-star, hires a paparazzo to show him Garbo's flat, stakes it out, gets a job delivering food there, seeks her on Fire Island, and tracks her to a Sixth Avenue flea market. As his obsession distances him from his wife, he's drawn to a struggling actress he meets at work. Can he find Garbo; if so, will she talk? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you can catch a star...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 October 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buscando a Greta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second film in which Anne Bancroft and Steven Hill play a married, or once married couple, the first being the The Slender Thread (1965). See more »

Goofs

The construction worker (Mr. Electric Tongue!) has his pop can in his right hand and a sandwich in his left. In the next shot, they are each in the other hands. See more »

Quotes

Estelle Rolfe: You know, I know everybody's gotta die, but I really thought I was gonna be the first exception.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 2003 DVD issued by ILC Prime the usual MGM lion is there but with the words DIAMOND JUBILEE arced over it's head, with SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT across the bottom of the screen. See more »

Connections

References Anna Christie (1930) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Movie Lover's Companion to the Bookworm's 84 Charing Cross Road
4 August 2011 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

Here is a cute, under-the-top little small-fry could be the minorest of Lumet's minor works, but in some way like 84 Charing Cross Road, which this film's star would tackle a few years later, it is its benign slightness that is its own charm. Anne Bancroft is so good as the anarchically rational Estelle Rolfe in this movie, that there are literally moments when nothing else matters to us, or the film, but what she's saying or doing, how she's saying it and how she's doing it. Estelle isn't afraid to spend time in the clink over grocery prices, makes a scene at one point embarrassing construction workers by scolding them for jeering passing women, and won't go to her dutiful son Gilbert's wedding if it means being a protest scab. She also worships films starring Greta Garbo, whose move from silent films to her first talkie made lots of racket in advertisements with the eponymous slogan. When Estelle discovers she has a brain tumor and six months left of life, which she lives ebulliently, she concludes that she must meet Garbo. Ron Silver plays Gilbert, a Manhattan accountant Estelle even named for Garbo's frequent co-star, feels compelled to satisfy his mother's last hope in spite of Garbo's famous devotion to privacy.

Lumet benefits from the sharpening of his comic touch a decade earlier with Murder on the Orient Express. Thusly, he employs unusual color schemes for comic effect. Similar to that earlier film, a major element is evoking a nostalgia for the past. This later film is merely a more straightforward version of the pining for magic and theatrics of the 1920s and '30s in which his 1974 Agatha Christie adaptation is steeped.

In an inspired serio-comic visual sequence of steps, Silver must laboriously forge his way through the flea market toward his darling mother's slippery dream, unable here to advance in a simple straight line but constrained ultimately to hazard consequences, to go around various stratums of humanity, to confront life's incessant chances and bolts from the blue instead of finding his footing in his habituated refuge.

Somewhat considering Carrie Fisher an exception, the performances are all great. There are genuinely very funny scenes owing largely to performances. Ron Silver is perfectly understated in a way that adds a level of dry deadpan to the humor of a scene. After Kelly Preston's hilariously timed story of promiscuity in the elevator, Silver's reaction when they reach their floor, and especially the cut to the next scene in the cafeteria, where he latches on her every word and bite over lunch, is priceless.


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