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Garbo Talks (1984)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 12 October 1984 (USA)
The son of a woman dying of a brain tumour tries to fulfil his mother's last wish: to meet Greta Garbo.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Larry Grusin
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Bancroft ... Estelle Rolfe
Ron Silver ... Gilbert Rolfe
Carrie Fisher ... Lisa Rolfe
Catherine Hicks ... Jane Mortimer
Steven Hill ... Walter Rolfe
Howard Da Silva ... Angelo Dokakis
Dorothy Loudon Dorothy Loudon ... Sonya Apollinar
Harvey Fierstein ... Bernie Whitlock
Hermione Gingold ... Elizabeth Rennick
Richard B. Shull ... Shepard Plotkin
Michael Lombard Michael Lombard ... Mr. Morganelli
Ed Crowley Ed Crowley ... Mr. Goldhammer
Alice Spivak ... Claire Rolfe
Maurice Sterman Maurice Sterman ... Dr. Cohen
Antonia Rey ... Esmeralda
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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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Buscando a Greta See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$127,192, 14 October 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,493,782
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

United Artists See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Betty Comden was hired to play Garbo at the end of the film because the producers were sure that the real Garbo either could not be located or would flatly turn them down. However, the producers tried a known associate of Greta Garbo's. He was located and was asked to ask the great actress if she would appear in the film, but the associate never responded. 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

Shepard Plotkin: I'm very busy now, Gilbert.
Gilbert Rolfe: I have to talk with you, Mr Plotkin.
Shepard Plotkin: Later, Gilbert.
Gilbert Rolfe: I have to talk with you now. Shepard, I'm leaving. I am not saying this because I am upset. Well yes I am upset. Of course I'm upset. I'm very upset. You've took my office away and you gave me a depressing, little room. It's, it's not your fault. I allowed it to happen. The light fixture buzzes. There's a dull hum, all day long. Well, you know, you wouldn't fix it for me, no matter how many times I asked. S'okay. ...
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 Wild Orchids (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Looking for Greta
5 May 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

This film brought to mind our own encounter with the elusive Ms. Garbo one afternoon as we held the door open for her at the 59th St. entrance of Bloomingdale's. Ms. Garbo could be seen around her East Side neighborhood, where people didn't even stare at her out of respect of her privacy! Manhattan in the 50s, 60s and even 70s had a lot of antique dealers on 3rd. Ave. and Ms. Garbo was a constant figure browsing those stores. Greta Garbo, the once silver screen goddess, lived a modest life in Manhattan. Her trade mark was the shade of lipstick she always wore and the camel hair coat one saw on her, until in later years when she adopted a brown duffle coat whenever she went out.

Sidney Lumet's film pays homage to that fleeting figure. The mysterious woman is at the center of a film that perhaps is not so much about the mythical figure, as much as the allure of what she stood for.

The story of the terminally ill Estelle Rolfe is a sweet account in how her loving son Gilbert tries to bring the illusion of the movies to his dying mother. The movie shows to what lengths Gilbert goes to grant Estelle a moment with the person she most admired, the actress Greta Garbo. Estelle was a fan, but more than that, she was a no nonsense lady who championed righteousness above all.

Anne Bancroft was born to play Estelle. Ms. Bancroft knew this woman and her portrayal benefits from the way she plays her. As the son, Ron Silver is good. He will go to whatever extreme to please his mother. Carrie Fisher is Lisa, the California girl married to Gilbert who doesn't want to stay in New York. Veteran actors like Howard Da Silva, Stephen Hill, Herminone Gingold, Dorothy Loudon, Harvey Fierstein are seen in the film in supporting parts.

"Garbo Talks" is not one of Sidney Lumet's best movies, but still, one gets the feeling what it is to live in New York with this tale about the celluloid meeting reality in Manhattan.


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