Sunday, January 24, 2010

76. Queen Christina (1933)

Running Time: 99 minutes
Directed By: Rouben Mamoulian
Written By: S.N. Behrman, H.M. Harwood
Main Cast: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith, Lewis Stone, C. Aubrey Smith


I had certainly heard the name Greta Garbo before, but had yet to see any of her films. That is, until today when I viewed my first Garbo picture, "Queen Christina", an account of the life of Queen Christina of Sweden, and a movie that really didn't do a whole lot for me.

The movie begins with the death of Christina's father, King Gustavus Adolphus, as he's killed on the battlefield in the midst of the Thirty Years War. The King's only heir to the throne at the time of his death, is his six year old daughter Christina, who is sworn in and named the new Queen of Sweden. After a small speech from the newly appointed six year old Queen, the movie flashes forward a bit and Garbo is revealed in a grand way, as the grown up Queen Christina. Walking into the room, lead by two very large Great Dane's, she is immediately portrayed as a woman of great power. The first half of the film focusses on the pressures of Christina, as she is constantly egged on by her royal court to marry and produce an heir. Christina has no time for this marriage talk, however, as she is more dedicated to governing and in her spare time, reading poetry and educating herself on the ways of the world, outside of Sweden.

One day when Christina decides she needs to get away from everything, she rides away on her horse, but ends up snowbound at an inn. It is here where she meets the Spaniard, Antonio (Gilbert) and at first everyone, including Antonio, mistake the Queen for a man. Why they mistake her for a man, I have no idea, because all that she has on as a "disguise" is a hat and Garbo is far too beautiful to be mistaken for a man. Anyway, they mistake her for a man and she pays for a room, but eventually is presuaded into sharing her room with Antonio, as it's the only room left and Antonio is willing to pay big for the accomodations. So the two share a room and once in their quarters, alone, Christina reveals herself to be the woman that she obviously is. They spend the next three days snowed in and making love to one another and Christina never reveals her true status as Queen of Sweden. When they must part each other, the Queen promises Antonio that she will meet him again, and in fact she knows that she will see him again, because she is aware of his plans to present his embassy to the Queen (her).

The entire portion of the film where Christina is being mistaken for a man, really took me out of the movie, as Garbo looked absolutely nothing like a man and to even hint that she had the similarities of a man are absurd. The rest of the film is quite boring and I really didn't expect much out of it, as I usually don't go for historical movies, set in the 17th century...just not my cup of tea. There are a few touching scenes, such as the end of the film, which is quite a sad affair and the scene where Christina speaks to the masses as they have just busted down the palace doors and confronted her for falling in love with a Spaniard. There are also several good glamour shots of Garbo, up close and in all her beauty, but for the most part I would have to give this movie a thumbs down.

RATING: 2/10 I gave it a few points for the good segments of the film that I mentioned above, but even those parts weren't enough to get this film a passable rating.

NEXT UP: Las Hurdes...or Land without Bread...I cannot find this one, at the moment, so look for the "Unfound Files" entry to follow this one directly.

January 24, 2010 2:16pm


  1. Pretty nice post. I just came across your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really liked reading your posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon!

  2. Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm glad you're enjoying it and the post for "King Kong" should be available within thirty minutes.

  3. I found it equally dire. Very sorry Ms Garbo, I just don't find this aloof posing interesting...

  4. Nice to hear someone agreeing with me on Garbo.


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