The Mysterious Recluse
Garbo—divine, mysterious, reclusive. One of the most famous faces of the 20th century. On screen she was raw sexuality, off screen her affairs with men and women captivated the press. And her silence made her a legend. But it was a legend she tried to escape for fifty years. What was the secret of Greta Garbo? The truth lies in the face, the voice and our own appetite for mystery.
Greta Lovisa Gustafson was born on September 18, 1905 in the working class soda mall merrier of Stockholm.
The 19-year-old Garbo said goodbye to her family in Stockholm, she was given visa number 396 and arrived in New York City on July 5, 1925. At the time MGM publicity chief Howard Dietz said of Garbo, “I hate that name, It reminds me of garbage.” America was unimpressed with Greta -- but a series of amateur photos was about to launch Garbo’s career.
After three months, production chief Irving Thalberg assigned Garbo to The Torrent. Garbo’s natural manner distinguished her from more histrionic silent actors. MGM had found Garbo’s identity. Off screen, Garbo barely spoke English. When she tried to joke that she was an “imported star”, but accidentally said “important star” the crew laughed at her vanity. On screen, MGM enhanced the mystique of its new star by teaming her with the best photographers and designers. Clarence Sinclair Bull was assigned to do all her official photography. He would become known as “the man who shot Garbo.” He referred to her as the Mona Lisa of the 20th century.
经过三个月的演出之后，制片主任欧文•撒尔伯格指定嘉宝参与《激流》的演出。嘉宝自然的气质使她在众多的 无声电影演员中脱颖而出。米高梅发现了嘉宝的独特之处。银幕外，嘉宝很少说英语。有次她想笑称自己是一个“进口明星”时，却不小心说成了“重要明星”，那 令工作人员取笑她虚荣。银幕上，米高梅通过给她配备最好的摄影师和造型师来增加这位新星的神秘感。克拉伦斯 •辛克莱•布尔被指派负责她所有正式场合的摄影工作。他因为给嘉宝拍摄而名声鹊起。而他则把嘉宝比作是二十世纪的蒙娜丽莎。
Garbo created a new kind of glamour. A combination of sexuality, fashion and mystery. Audiences wanted to know more about the woman behind the face, but Garbo refused to talk. The studio played along since her reticence seemed to create more interest in the Swedish sphinx. The subtext of one of her next films was thinly veiled. Queen Christina was the story of the legendary 17th century Swedish leader who abdicated her throne rather than subjugate herself to a man.
嘉宝展现了一种全新的魅力，那就是集性感、时尚与神秘于一身。观众想知道更多关于她的幕后故事，但嘉宝拒 绝透露。她的沉默似乎让人们对这个瑞典女神越来越着迷，而电影公司也竭力给予配合。这样她接下来的一部影片的潜台词就不言而喻了。《瑞典女王》讲述的是十 七世纪瑞典女王宁愿放弃王位而不愿屈服于一个男子的传奇故事。
Greta Garbo (Lines from Queen Christina): I thought you would understand when you saw me again what had happened. Could it have been so enchanting to be a woman? Mother queen -- just a woman in a man’s arms.
Garbo inspired and yet defied interpretation, on screen and off. For the final shot of Queen Christina, Mamoulian gave his inscrutable leading lady her most brilliant direction. He asked her to think of nothing.
Garbo’s era had passed. She had outlived most of her lovers and costars. Greta Garbo’s screen legend had become Greta Garbo urban legend. In 1970’s New York, a Garbo sighting as she marched through the streets of Manhattan stopping only to browse through junk shops and antique stores was recorded the same status as a UFO. She became a cult figure and showed up in unlikely places. On Friday April 28, 1990, she went for her regular dialysis treatment but did not return. She died on Easter Sunday.
They say the only thing an actor owes the public is a performance. That much Garbo gave. Whether she had nothing to say or simply said nothing doesn’t matter. Hers was a perfect face. A blank screen on to which the world projected what it needed to see. Her silence told us what we wanted to hear.