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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
For the famous closing shot of Greta Garbo at the prow of the ship, director Rouben Mamoulian had wanted the camera to begin with a long shot, and then, in one unbroken take, gradually dolly in on a two-thirds close-up of Garbo's face, holding on her at the end of the shot. Unfortunately, with the camera's 48mm lens that close to the human face, pores tend to resemble craters on the surface of the moon. Borrowing on aspects of the magic lantern, Mamoulian devised a large, ruler-shaped, glass filter strip that was clear at one end, becoming increasingly more diffused along its length. With this glass filter mounted in front of the lens, as the camera moved in on Garbo, the glass strip was gradually drawn through the filter holder, beginning with the clear end, and ending with the diffused end (close-up), softening Garbo's facial features with more flattering results See more »
Numerous historical liberties were taken for dramatic effect, especially the romance between Christina and Antonio, which never happened. The real Antonio Pimentel brought his wife and children with him to Sweden from Spain after he was appointed ambassador. See more »
I'll tell you the truth. Well, gentlemen, I have the truth as the Queen has had 12 lovers this past year. A proud dozen!
Long live the Queen!
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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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