Tony Mastroianni Review Collection


Cleveland Press November 18, 1966

Greta Garbo was born Greta Gustafson in 1905. Her American film career began in the mid-1920's, ended in 1941.

But for her public this period of less than two decades remains her entire life, the only image the world has of her. Aside from her reticence during her career, there is her self-imposed silence since her retirement. The Garbo legend exists only for those years when she was at the height of her career and only on film where she remains eternally young and enigmatic.

While other stars grew old and faded, Garbo remained what Alistair Cooke called "every man's harmless fantasy mistress."

The actress was the creation of Swedish film director Mauritz Stiller, a Pygmalion type who had the name Garbo picked out long before he found an actress to whom he could give it.

Hollywood brought Stiller over in the '20's and Garbo came with him. But while Stiller faded into obscurity, his creation became an American star.

Haughty, mysterious, unapproachable -- these were the hallmarks of the Garbo character and the roles that she played. If some of her strangeness was mere press agentry during her career, her purposeful obscurity since then has not been.

It has served to reinforce the Garbo cultism which feeds upon the only place that Garbo lives -- a series of films, a career that concluded while the performer lived on -- but quietly.

A few of those films have been put together in a Garbo Festival which will begin at the Continental Art tonight and end on Dec. 21. Five Garbo movies will each play six days, Friday through Wednesday, as part of a double bill. The other halves of the bill will be old, non-Garbo motion pictures. Here is the schedule:

"Mate Hari," Garbo, Ramon Navarro, Lionel Barrymore; "The Thin Man," William Powell, Myrna Loy; Nov. 18-23.

"Ninotchka," Garbo, Melvyn Douglas; "Go West," the Marx Brothers; Nov. 25-30.

"Camille," Garbo, Robert Taylor; "Red Dust," Clark Gable, Jean Harlow; Dec. 2-7.

"Anna Karenina," Garbo, Fredric March; "Min and Bill," Marie Dressler, Wallace Berry; Dec. 9-14.

"Anna Christie," Garbo, Charles Bickford, "At the Circus," the Marx Brothers; Dec. 16-21.