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Goddess Painting 4

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

Greta Garbo the most beautiful screen goddess of them all.

Garbo but coloured with Marilyns skin tones bringing her back from the dead. By the use of her image by Marilyn she lives again, she becomes immortal.

Greta Garbo was voted the most beautiful woman who ever lived by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1950. Marilyn would have been 24 years old.

Greta Garbo (born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson; 18 September 1905 – 15 April 1990) was a Swedish-American film actress during the 1920s and 1930s. Garbo launched her career with a secondary role in the 1924 Swedish film The Saga of Gösta Berling. Her performance caught the attention of Louis B. Mayer, chief executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), who brought her to Hollywood in 1925. She immediately stirred interest with her first silent film, Torrent, released in 1926; a year later, her performance in Flesh and the Devil, her third movie, made her an international star. Garbo's first talking film was Anna Christie (1930). MGM marketers enticed the public with the tagline "Garbo talks!" That same year she starred in Romance. For her performances in these films she received the first of three Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. (Academy rules at the time allowed for a performer to receive a single nomination for their work in more than one film).[2] In 1932, her popularity allowed her to dictate the terms of her contract and she became increasingly selective about her roles. Her success continued in films such as Mata Hari (1931) and Grand Hotel (1932). Many critics and film historians consider her performance as the doomed courtesan Marguerite Gautier in Camille (1936) to be her finest. The role gained her a second Academy Award nomination. Garbo's career soon declined, however, and she was one of the many stars labeled "box office poison" in 1938. Her career revived upon her turn to comedy in Ninotchka (1939), which earned her a third Academy Award nomination, but after the failure of Two-Faced Woman (1941), she retired from the screen, at the age of 35, after acting in twenty-eight films.

From then on, Garbo declined all opportunities to return to the screen. Shunning publicity, she led a private life. Garbo also became an art collector in her later life; her collection, including works from painters such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pierre Bonnard, and Kees van Dongen,[3]. Greta Garbo died on 15 April 1990, aged 84, in the hospital, as a result of pneumonia and renal failure. Garbo had invested wisely, primarily in stocks and bonds, and her entire estate was $32,042,429 ($61,887,978 by 2018 rates).


Garbo was an international superstar during the late silent era and the "Golden Age" of Hollywood and is widely regarded as a cinematic legend.[172] Almost immediately, with the sudden popularity of her first pictures, she became a screen icon.[173] For most of her career, she was the highest-paid actor or actress at MGM, making her for many years its "premier prestige star".[174][175] The April 1990 Washington Post obituary said that "at the peak of her popularity she was a virtual cult figure".[110]

Garbo possessed a subtlety and naturalism in her acting that set her apart from other actors and actresses of the period.[176] About her work in silents, film critic Ty Burr said "This was a new kind of actor—not the stage actor who had to play to the far seats but someone who could just look and with her eyes literally go from rage to sorrow in just a close-up."[177]

Garbo in Inspiration(1931)publicly film still

Film historian Jeffrey Vance said that Garbo communicated her characters' innermost feelings through her movement, gestures, and most importantly, her eyes. With the slightest movement of them, he argues, she subtly conveyed complex attitudes and feelings toward other characters and the truth of the situation. "She doesn't act," said Camille co-star Rex O'Malley; "she lives her roles."[178] Director Clarence Brown, who made seven of Garbo's pictures, told an interviewer "Garbo has something behind the eyes that you couldn't see until you photographed it in close-up. You could see thought. If she had to look at one person with jealousy, and another with love, she didn't have to change her expression. You could see it in her eyes as she looked from one to the other. And nobody else has been able to do that on screen."[179]Director George Sidney adds "You could call it underplaying but in underplaying she overplayed everyone else."[180]

Many critics have said that few of Garbo's twenty-four Hollywood films are artistically exceptional, and that many are simply bad.[181] It has been said, however, that her commanding and magnetic performances usually overcome the weaknesses of plot and dialogue.[181][110] As one biographer put it, "All moviegoers demanded of a Garbo production was Greta Garbo."[182]

She was portrayed by Betty Comden in the 1984 film Garbo Talks. The film concerns a dying Garbo fan (Anne Bancroft) whose last wish is to meet her idol. Her son (played by Ron Silver) sets about trying to get Garbo to visit his mother at the hospital.

Garbo is the subject of several documentaries, including four made in the United States between 1990 and 2005:

The Divine Garbo (1990), TNT, produced by Ellen M. Krass and Susan F. Walker, narrated by Glenn Close[183]Greta Garbo: The Mysterious Lady (1998), Biography Channel, narrated by Peter Graves[184]Greta Garbo: A Lone Star (2001), AMC[185]Garbo (2005), TCM, directed by Kevin Brownlow, narrated by Julie Christie[186]

Garbo’s contemporaries comment on the actress:

Writer, journalist and film historian Ephraim Katz: Of all the stars who have ever fired the imaginations of audiences, none has quite projected a magnetism and a mystique equal to Garbo's. "The Divine," the "dream princess of eternity," the "Sarah Bernhardt of films," are only a few of the superlatives writers used in describing her over the years… She played heroines that were at once sensual and pure, superficial and profound, suffering and hopeful, world-weary and life-inspiring.[187]

American film actress Bette Davis: Her instinct, her mastery over the machine, was pure witchcraft. I cannot analyze this woman's acting. I only know that no one else so effectively worked in front of a camera. [188]

American and Mexican film actress Dolores del Río: The most extraordinary woman (in art) that I have encountered in my life. It was as if she had diamonds in her bones and in her interior light struggled to come out through the pores of her skin. [189]

American film director George Cukor: She had a talent that few actresses or actors possess. In close-ups she gave the impression, the illusion of great movement. She would move her head just a little bit and the whole screen would come alive, like a strong breeze that made itself felt.[190]

Author Ernest Hemingway provided an imaginary portrayal of Garbo in his 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls:"Maybe it is like the dreams you have when someone you have seen in the cinema comes to your bed at night and is so kind and lovely. He'd slept with them all that way when he was asleep in bed. He could remember Garbo still, and Jean Harlow. Yes, Harlow many times. Maybe it was like those dreams the night before the attack on Pozoblanco and [Garbo] was wearing a soft silky wool sweater when he put his arms around her and when she leaned forward and her hair swept forward and over his face and she said why had he never told her that he loved her when she had loved him all this time? She was not shy, nor cold, nor distant. She was just lovely to hold and kind and lovey like the days with Jack Gilbert and it was true as though it had happened and he loved her much more than Harlow though Garbo was there only once..."[207]


2. "Session Timeout – Academy Awards® Database – AMPAS". Archived from the original on 3 November 2013.

3. Reif, Rita (July 19, 1990). "Garbo's Collection and a van Gogh Are to Be Sold". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11,2015.

110. Barnes 1990.

172. Paris 1994, p. 4

173.^ Vieira 2005, p. 6.

174.^ Vieira 2005, p. 7

175..^ Swenson 1997, p. 406.

176.Vance, Jeffrey (2005). The Mysterious Lady, The Garbo Silents Collection: Audio commentary, DVD; Disk 1/3. (TCM Archives.)

177.^ Cole, Steve (director) (2001). Greta Garbo: A Lone Star(Television production). American Movie Classics. 10:57–11:07. minutes in.

178. ^ Swenson 1997, p. 357

179.^ Stevenson, Swanson (27 October 2005). "A Century After Her Birth, Greta Garbo's Allure Lives On". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 September 2013.

180.^ Cole, Steve (director) (2001). Greta Garbo: A Lone Star(Television production). American Movie Classics. 11:26–11:30. minutes in.

181.Vieira 2005, pp. 6–8.

182.^ Swenson 1997, p. 282.

183.^ O'Connor, John J. (3 December 1990). "Reviews/Television; A Life of Garbo, Mostly Through Films". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2011.

184.^ "'Biography' Greta Garbo: The Mysterious Lady". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 6 August 2011.

185.^ Linan, Steven (4 September 2011). "'Garbo' Paints a Full Portrait of Star". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 August 2011

186..^ "TCM offers close-up of silent star Garbo". Associated Press. 6 September 2005. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012.

187.^ The Film Encyclopedia: The Complete Guide to Film and the Film IndustryKatz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Complete Guide to Film and the Film Industry (1st ed.). New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co. p. 465. ISBN 978-0-690-01204-0.

188. Davis, Bette (1990) [1962]. The Lonely Life. New York: Berkley Books. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-425-12350-8

189. .^ Hall, Linda (2013). Dolores del Río: Beauty in Light and Shade. Stanford University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780804784078.

190.^ Long, Robert Emmet (2001). George Cukor: Interviews. Conversations with Filmmakers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-57806-387-1.

207. Sarris, 1998. p. 374

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