Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Highest Rated: 100% Conquest (1937)

Lowest Rated: 33% The Two-Faced Woman (1941)

Birthday: Sep 18, 1905

Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Few who knew Swedish actress Greta Garbo in her formative years would have predicted the illustrious career that awaited her. Garbo grew up in a rundown Stockholm district, the daughter of an itinerant laborer. In school, she did little to distinguish herself; nor was her first job, as a barbershop lather girl, indicative of future greatness. But, even as a youth, she photographed beautifully, a fact that enabled her to get a few modeling jobs with the Stockholm department store where she worked. Her first film was a 1921 publicity short financed by her employers titled How Not to Dress. Garbo followed this with Our Daily Bread, a one-reel commercial for a local bakery. She then played a bathing beauty in a 1922 two-reel comedy, Luffarpetter/Peter the Tramp. Billed under her own last name, Garbo (born Greta Gustafsson) garnered a couple of good trade reviews, and the confidence to seek out and win a scholarship to the Royal Dramatic Theatre. While studying acting, she was spotted by director Mauritz Stiller, who was Sweden's foremost filmmaker in the early '20s. Stiller cast Garbo in The Atonement of Gosta Berling (1923), an overlong but internationally successful film which made her a minor star. The director became her mentor, glamorizing her image and changing her professional name to Garbo. On the strength of Gosta Berling, she was cast in the important German film drama The Joyless Street (1925), which was directed by G.W. Pabst. Hollywood's MGM studios, seeking to "raid" the European film industry and spirit away its top talents, then signed Stiller to a contract. MGM head Louis B. Mayer was unimpressed by Garbo's two starring roles, but Stiller insisted on bringing her to America; thus, Mayer had to contract her, as well. The actress spent most of 1925 posing for nonsensical publicity photos which endeavored to create a "mystery woman" image for her (a campaign that had worked for previous foreign film actresses like Pola Negri), but it was only after shooting commenced on Garbo's first American film, The Torrent (1926), that MGM realized it had a potential gold mine on its hands. As Mauritz Stiller withered on the vine due to continual clashes with the studio brass, Garbo's star ascended. But when MGM refused to pay her commensurate to her worth, Garbo threatened to walk out; the studio counter-threatened to have the actress deported, but, in the end, they buckled under and increased her salary. In Flesh and the Devil (1927), Garbo co-starred with John Gilbert, and it became obvious that theirs was not a mere movie romance. The Garbo/Gilbert team went on to make an adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina titled Love (its original title was Heat, but this was scrapped to avoid an embarrassing ad campaign which would have started with "John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in..."). The couple planned to marry, but Garbo, in one of her frequent attacks of self-imposed solitude, did not show up for the wedding; over the years, the actress would have other romantic involvements, but would never marry. In 1930, MGM's concerns about Garbo's voice -- that her thick Swedish accent (tinged with "stage British") would not register well in talkies -- were abated by the success of Anna Christie, which was heralded with the famous ad tag "Garbo Talks." Some noted that the slogan could also have been "Garbo Acts," for the advent of talkies obliged the actress to drop the "mysterious temptress" characterization she'd used in silents in favor of more richly textured performances as worldly, somewhat melancholy women to whom the normal pleasures of love and contentment would always be just out of reach. In this vein, Garbo starred in Grand Hotel (1932), Queen Christina (1933), Anna Karenina (1935), and Camille (1936), which served to increase her worshipful fan following, even if the films weren't the box-office smashes her silent pictures had been. The actress' legendary aloofness and desire to "be alone" (a phrase she used often in her films, on


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Final cut - Hölgyeim és uraim Actor 2012
No Score Yet The Divine Garbo Actor 1990
No Score Yet The Divine Garbo Actor 1990
67% That's Entertainment, Part 2 Actor 1976
No Score Yet 30 Years of Fun Actor 1963
33% The Two-Faced Woman Karin Borg Blake 1941
97% Ninotchka Nina Ivanovna `Ninotchka' Yakushova Nina Ivanovna 'Ninotchka' Yakushova 1939
100% Conquest Countess Marie Walewska 1937
92% Camille Marguerite 1936
100% Anna Karenina Anna Karenina 1935
No Score Yet The Painted Veil Katrin Koerber Fane 1934
90% Queen Christina Queen Christina 1933
63% Mata Hari Mata Hari 1932
88% Grand Hotel Grusinskaya 1932
86% As You Desire Me Zara aka Maria 1932
No Score Yet Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise Susan Lenox 1931
No Score Yet Inspiration Yvonne Valbret 1931
No Score Yet Romance Madame Rita Cavallini 1930
No Score Yet Anna Christie Anna Christie 1930
No Score Yet The Kiss Irene 1929
No Score Yet The Single Standard Arden 1929
No Score Yet Wild Orchids Lili Sterling 1929
No Score Yet A Woman of Affairs Diana Merrick Furness 1928
80% The Mysterious Lady Tania 1928
No Score Yet Love (Anna Karenina) Anna Karenina 1927
No Score Yet Camille Actor 1927
93% Flesh and the Devil Felicitas von Kletzingk 1926
No Score Yet The Temptress Elena 1926
No Score Yet Torrent Leonora 1926
75% The Joyless Street Greta Rumfort 1925
No Score Yet The Saga of Gosta Berling Countess Elizabeth Dohna 1924


Ninotchka says: If it's a choice between my personal interest and the good of my country how can I waiver? No one shall say Ninotchka was a bad Russian.

Ninotchka says: No one can be so happy without being punished.

Ninotchka says: Gentlemen, would you like to go out? [reaches into her desk drawer] Here are 50 francs - bring me back 45.

Ninotchka says: Gentlemen, would you like to go out? Here are 50 Francs - bring me back 45.

Ninotchka says: Isn't that amazing, at home there is still snow and ice. Look at the birds. I always felt a little hurt when our swallows deserted us for capitalistic countries. Now I know why: we have the high ideals, but they have the climate.

Count Leon Dalga says: Ninotchka, you like me just a little bit?

Ninotchka says: Your general appearance is not distasteful.

Count Leon Dalga says: Thank you.

Ninotchka says: The whites of your eyes are clear. Your cornea is excellent.

Count Leon Dalga says: - your cornea's terrific! Ninotchka tell me, you're so expert on things: can it be that I'm falling in love with you?

Ninotchka says: Why must you bring in wrong values? Love is a romantic designation for a most ordinary biological, or shall we say chemical, process. A lot of nonsense is taught and written about it.

Count Leon Dalga says: Oh I see. What do you use instead?

Ninotchka says: I acknowledge the existence of a natural impulse, common to all.

Count Leon Dalga says: What can I possibly do to encourage such an impulse in you?

Count Leon Dalga says: You don't have to do a thing. Chemically we're already quite sympathetic.

Ninotchka says: I must go.

Count Leon Dalga says: But Ninotchka - I held you in my arms, you kissed me.

Ninotchka says: I kissed a polish lancer too - before he died.

Count Leon Dalga says: Pardon me, are you an explorer?

Ninotchka says: No. I'm looking for the Eiffel Tower.

Count Leon Dalga says: Good Heavens, is that thing lost again? Oh, are you interested in the view?

Ninotchka says: I'm interested in the Eiffel Tower from a technical standpoint.

Count Leon Dalga says: Technical? No, no; I'm afraid I couldn't be of much help from that angle. You see a Parisian only goes to the tower in moments of despair - to jump off.

Count Leon Dalga says: Technical? No, no, I'm afraid I couldn't be of much help from that angle. You see a Parisian only goes to the tower in moments of despair - to jump off.

Ninotchka says: How long does it take a man to land?

Count Leon Dalga says: Now isn't that too bad; the last time I jumped I forgot to time it.

Count Leon Dalga says: Now isn't that too bad, the last time I jumped I forgot to time it.

Ninotchka says: Comrades - you must have been smoking a lot.

Grusinskaya says: I want to be alone.

Madame Barjon says: For the lady of the camillias. And they're almost twice as large as usual.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: I shall have twice as many tomorrow

Prudence Duvernoy says: Twice as many! Oh, don't listen to her, Barjon. I know what those things cost.

Madame Barjon says: Doesn't she listen when she orders her hats and dresses from you?

Prudence Duvernoy says: They're an investment!

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: Of course I order too many hats and too many dresses and too many everything, but I want them.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: Cows and chickens make better friends than I've ever met in Paris!

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: I always look well when I'm near death.

Armand Duval says: Then you do love him. Dare to tell me that you love him. You're free of me forever.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: I love him.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: I shall love Armand always. And I believe he shall love me always too.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: Let me love you. Let me live for you. But don't let me ask any more from Heaven than that - God might get angry

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: Let me love you. Let me live for you. But don't let me ask any more from Heaven than that - God might get angry.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: When one may not have long to live, why shouldn't one have fancies?

Armand Duval says: Don't you believe in love, Marguerite?

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: I don't think I know what it is.

Armand Duval says: Oh, thank you.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: For what?

Armand Duval says: For never having been in love.

Ninotchka says: Must you flirt?

Count Leon Dalga says: Well, I don't have to, but I find it natural.

Ninotchka says: Suppress it.

Marguerite Gauthier/Camille says: His eyes have made love to me all evening.

Anna Christie says: Give me a whisky, ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby.

Grusinskaya says: I want to b alone.