GARBO: THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION (DVD)
Anna Christie / Mata Hari / Queen Christina / Anna Karenina / Camille / Ninotchka
Dir: Clarence Brown, George Cukor, Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Melvyn Douglas
Out: 23rd January 2006
No first name required for the woman whose exquisite mystery applied to both her handful of landmark screen roles, all shot, naturally, in timeless black-and-white, and the real-life legend she successfully preserved until her 1990 death. Signed by MGM in the silent days, the Swedish Sphinx effortlessly bridged the leap to ‘talkies’, half a dozen of her best contained here.
From 1930’s Anna Christie onwards, excluding an atypical but surprisingly adept comedic turn – “Garbo laughs!” – in her penultimate film Ninotchka (1939), it’s a parade of doomed love affairs, exquisite suffering and sacrifice. Whether a tragic heroine here (Anna Karenina) or a conflicted monarch there (Queen Christina) - even the titles read as almost interchangeable - she’s always Garbo: impeccably styled, coutured and lit; perhaps too stylised for modern audiences, this Signature Collection offers a sterling entry point (only Grand Hotel is missing) into one of cinema’s most enduring mythical creations.
Extras: Trailers, German-Language Version of Anna Christie; 1921 Silent Version of Camille starring Rudolph Valentino
Collection: * * * * (four stars) Extras: * * (two stars)