"Love?" She laughed softly. "Of course I have been in love. Love is the last and first of a woman's education. How could you express love if you have never felt it? You can imagine, but its not like the feeling- who hasn't been in love?"
Greta Garbo- Photoplay Magazine
"What did she think about the newly found Mauritz Stiller manuscript? This was the play that the late great Swedish director (and her discoverer) had wanted to film, with Garbo as star, upon his first arrival in Hollywood."
"How can I make any statement about that off-hand? It is entriely too important-maybe-and very near my heart." Gunnilla Bjelke had directly quoted Greta Garbo in Movie Classic Magazine during 1935 in regard to a brief interview granted in Gothenburg, Sweden before the actor Sven Garbo had politely concluded it, taking Garbo on his arm. There too is an unfilmed movie script Victor Sjostrom had planned to film, his having by then returned to Sweden while Greta Garbo look-alike contest was being filmed there.
Biographer Norman Zierold has written that Garbo's plasticity made it possible for her to relect the fantasies of her screen audiences; in this sense she functioned as a recepticle for the emotions of others." In keeping with the Greta Garbo that was nearly unknown to movie audiences for her personal life offscreen and had lurked in the shadows of movie theaters as a recluse after her retirement as though she could at anytime be sitting right beside any of us during without anyone knowing during a movie house screening of one of her films while as spectators we made identifications with each interpellated nuance, I added, "These emotional structures are created within each particular film, often by subject and spectator positioning, the viewer and the film's other characters in relation to the body of the actress, as when her body within the frame creates space between two characters in front of the camera, isolating them near a specific visual motif, or when Garbo briefly moves into the emotion of solitude." But then clearly the relationship between character and landscape and its interaction with subject positioning and or spectatorial position can also differ widely from one director to another, as when comparing almost any of the films of Victor Sjostrom with those of Carl Th. Dreyer. As a geocities page it went on to unspool into really simple syndication, "And yet, not only was Greta Garbo an actress, a figure of shadow sauntering across the screen, gracefullness moving as image, but insofaras she was sought after, she was also a model, paticularly when photographed by the Arnold Genthe, the Greta Garbo photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise, by Clarence Sinclair Bull, George Hurrel, Edward Stiechen or Cecil Beaton. Garbo had brought with her this quality of being a model long after the last publicity photo of her in studio costume and into the enigma of her being a recluse only sporadicly considering coming back. it was the quality of being a model that is particularly evident in the photographs taken by Nickolas Muray, whether it is an ebullient Garbo, a pensive, or longing Garbo, or an ethereal Garbo that brings us only to the beginning of her mystery." I later read that Betsy Errikila had in a similar way had Mr. Zierold as a point of departure in her article Greta Garbo: Sailing Beyond the Frame, which appeared in the magazine Critical Inquiry, "Norman Zierold has said:'As a love object she combined the sensual appeal, femininity with a mannish quotient.' Critics have failed, however, to note how this double-voiced intonation in garbo's characterizations functions as a stategy of submission and transgression. Embodying both fleshly and otherworldly powers, Garbo's screen characters often seem to exist both within and outside the film frame."
As a webpage I had written, it began, "By contrast, the value of the silent film that Greta Garbo made in Hollywood is sentimental. They were melodramas made after Greta Garbo was discovered in Europe," and, after giving a brief filmography of the films with the description of The Kiss (Kyssen, Feyeder, seven reels, 1929) being "one of her most beautiful films in that it is one of her most melodramatic" it added that "each film can bee seen only for the being reminded of having first seen each of the films and the darkened room where the decades from the long past can flicker into intrigues and adventures." My Silent Swedish Film webpage, which covered from the turn of century to the advent of sound, was a Geocities webpage. It was also, while in part a filmography of silent film of the Swedish directors of Svenska Bio and Svenska Filmindustri,Mauritz Stiller, Victor Sjostrom, John Brunius and Georg af Klerker, my biography of the actress Greta Garbo. On a sheet of revision later I added that "whether one person is watching an old Greta Garbo movie on television while the other is reading, waiting for the other to retire for the evening, with each film, and with each screening, Garbo, like Anna-Lena Hemstrom, who portrays an actress who gradually, surrendering to fantasy believes herself to be each of the characters Greta Garbo played on screen in The Perfect Murder (Det Perfekte Mord, (Eva Isaksen) reintroduces herself to us and in each different characterization is foremost a fashion model before us; Greta Garbo is in a close-up". And yet there is now something more mystical to the ghost of Garbo for any, and maybe every reviewer of of Eva Isaksen's suspense film knowing that in Stockholm, near the Calle Flygare theater, there perhaps may be a young actress named Ottiliana Rolandsson who has left a screening of the film Queen Christina with the words "I am Greta Garbo" slowly forming silently on her lips, and in her hands a copy of a play. I still have a love for silent film, which skyrocketed after having looked at The Last Tycoon and The Garden of Eden- a type of telepathy must have arisen with one of the most beautiful women presently in the world of fashion, as though we must have spoken in that her webpage resonates a similar sentiment. "I was raised with silent films. I have always maintained an endless fascination by that era. Greta Garbo has gotten to me more than any other movie star and never let me go. I am strongly drawn to her story, her art, her loneliness and her beautiful complex structure." Carice Van Houten, from the Netherlands, is to become Greta Garbo in her new film, a screenplay being prepared by scriptwriter Soni Jorgensen for the autumn of 2013. While looking foward to the new film, although my Geocities review Anna-Lena Hemstrom in her portrayal of a modern actress who becomes more than too immersed in her similarities to Greta Garbo no longer exists, actually, I recently realized that I had been given a "thank you" by a popular webpage on Greta Garbo, Garbo Forever, for the information used in their review that was prompted by my review.
Photoplay magazine of 1927 mentions Fitzgerald being in the process of writing an original screenplay for Constance Talmadge, it later reviewing his adapted work, "Fitzgerald's novel, with its unscrupulous hero, violates some pet screen traditions." The silent film is in fact a deepening of the novel as an art form. The 1922 film The Beautiful and the Damned directed by William A. Sieter/SydneyFranklin and starring Marie Prevost, if a film accurately reported as being unavailable for screening, or the 1926 film The Great Gatsby directed by Herbert Brenon and starring Lois Wilson- within the world of Lost Films, Found Magazines, there are no existant copies of either film, our knowledge of them and curiousity is left for stills taken during the time period; there are no vaults that exist. Both Anna Karenina (J. Gordon Edwards, 1915, five reels), starring Betty Nansen, Mabel Allen and Stella Hammerstein, and The Scarlet Letter (Carl Harbaugh, 1917) starring Mary Martin, are lost, both filmed by Fox Film. When compared to the Fox films starring Theda Bara, Anna Karenina was not particularly a widely publicized, or exploited, film at the time, but it sported a photoplay scripted by Clara S. Beranger. Movie Pictorial Magazine in 1915 in fact compared and contrasted the two actresses in the same article, much like journalists would later do with Garbo and Dietrich, the title reading, "Betty Nansen Theda Bara-The Dsitinguished Scandinavian Actress and the Chic Paraisienne Secured for Feature Films in America" . Moving Picture World reported in 1915 Betty Nansen in Montreal- Famous Danish Actress Visits City to Get Snow Scenes for Anna Karenina Film, the accompanying text to include, "According to the script, a ski meet is held in which the hero competes with a Swedish champion. As there are many followers of the sport locally, and champions to boot, Mr Edwards secured some interesting film." The entire Moving Picture World review from the Spring of 1915 is as follows, "The premier of the first Fox offering with Betty Nansen, the great Danish actress was given on March 30. The picture, Tolstoi's Anna Karenina proved worthy of this audience's closest attention, although by remarks behind this reviewer, it was plain some were losing the quality of Nansen's restrained and remarkably powerful acting. There was some laughter, strange to say, except that perhaps the picture's meaning was over the heads of a few. There were two weak places in the cast, but this did not affect the result of it as a whole. It is a story of passion, but clean and powerful, a picture eminently fit for contemplation of grown human minds." "The film was adverised as, "The story of a woman who dared. A Photoplay that stirs and thrills. Holds a grip that never relaxes." J. Gordon Edwards cast Betty Nansen in a second adaptation of the novels of Tolstoy that year with the film A Woman's Resurrection, which Nordisk Film also filmed that year under the title Opstandelese. Not only was Betty Nansen seen in Denmark as Anna Karenina, Maugerite Gauthier, Camille, was brought to screen, or brought to life, by Oda Astrup, who portrayed the title character in the Danish silent screen adaptation of the five act play written by the author from his own novel- it is a characterization that appears in Kameliadamen (1907), directed by Viggo Larsen, who directed his own films and who has become known as the actor who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in early narrative silent film. To return to Greta Garbo and Asta Nielsen, as many as 19 films have been listed as lost and as having directed by Urban Gad, the husband of the earliest of the stars of the silver screen, including Die falsche Asta Nielsen, in which Nielsen plays both her double, Bollette, and then herself.
Just as lost films have left behind their accompanying movie posters, as well as full page magazine advertisements that serve very much like movie posters when deciding not if we should see the film but what the film was like when first seen, each hardcover copy of an film adaptation into novel included a dustjacket, art that gives information about missing films: within there being Lost Films, Found Magazines. It is imperative that the word film study be surplanted by the word film appreciation: it was in 1946 that author Iris Barry cautioned the readers of Hollywood Quarterly through the article "Why wait for Posterity" as to films quickly becoming lost and the need to preserve the "romantic" Greta Garbo film The Saga of Gosta Berling (Stiller, 1925) by saving the prints from deterioration. After explaining that the original two-color technicolor copies of the Black Pirate that had belonged to Douglas Fairbanks and Harvard University, respectively, were in a vault "at the point of final deterioration", and could only be duplicated in black-and-white form, she qualifies that the criteria for screening film need, as with "the early Seastrom films", only be pleasure. "What, really is the point of dragging old films back to light? First, I believe that it benefits the general esteem and standing of the motion picture industry as a whole; for if the great films of the past are not worth taking seriously and are not worth re-examination, then presumably neither are the great films of today. It would be unthinkable if the only books available to literary men and women should be no more than those published in the past year or so." Author Richard Corliss begins eloquently with an interesting note on The Saga of Gosta Berling, "Mauritz Stiller, famed for his intense melodramas and subtly wicked comedies, took a Selma Lagerlof novel and three images from it onto his celluloid canvas with the force and color of a Jackson Pollock. But more than an hour of the original four is missing from the most complete extant print and the version circulated in the United States is a mere 105 minutes." He points out that Stiller was deservedly sought after by Hollywood as a director due to the extraordinary material, or "screen scenes", in the film.
I've also since returned to the downloading photos of Greta Garbo that were scanned from the original negative and e-mailed to me by an author who was who was an apprentice of Clarence Sinclair Bull. In that they were photos of Greta Garbo that were left over from the publication, please accept that I may have been the author to introduce those particular photos to Sweden from the vault in which they were kept. She is also the Greta Garbo of fan magazines-many of the photographs of Clarence Sinclair Bull that did not appear in Mark A. Vieira's biography were published during the first run of each film respectively, there being the occaision that the original negatives that he sent me were published in one of the several monthly periodicals of that time. Vieira quotes Greta Garbo, "As she said,'I had it all my own way and did it in my own fashion.' This is what ended her carreer and what makes her cinematic legacy the exqisite thing that it is." But it is not only that, having resumed writing I recieved a reply from Norman Zierold, whose biography of Greta Garbo was publishes decades before that of the one written by Mark. A Vieria. My question was phrased,"I need a quote from correspondence on the silent film of Greta Garbo. How do you now feel about any of the particular films,i.e. The Divine Woman?" to which he replied, "No comment I can think of. Are you related to literary agent Sterling Lord?" To begin 2013, Mr. Zierold replied to my having sent him a Christmas card, "Very neat thinking, Scott. And pleased to see that gorgeous photo of Garbo that you used." It seems I owe him a discussion about Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Oversoul, but he nicely repeated his question about my being related to a literary agent. By the way, I took the photo used in this blog for the template background; its tiled and was a kaleidoscope shot from one of my films on You Tube- it is Lena Nyman on the dust-jacket of the hardcover of Vilgot Sjoman's diary of his filming I was Curious Yellow and I was Curious Blue. In brief, the older banner that reads All About Swedish film was sent to me from someone that designs for the Potsdam Museum, which I in turn sent to an artist in California, who added tint to it before I added flash animation. Interestingly, the tinting of photographs dates back to 1932 or before; I have since found that one of the black and white photos scanned from the original negatives taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull and sent to me by author Mark A Vieira came from a negative that was actually tinted, or colorized rather, for publication by Photoplay Magazine. After the reader has seen the portraits of Greta Garbo that are mine, previously swallowed by Yahoo and Flickr, I encourage any attempt to view Garbo's Garbos, the photographs that belonged to the actress herself. Taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull, Ruth Harriet Louise and George Hurrell, they were scheduled for public view by the Greta Garbo Estate for Christmas 2012, the collection including one particular portrait taken by Ruth Harriet Louise during the filming of The Single Standard ostensibly taken with Greta Garbo posed in front of a Paul Gaugin. I also happened to espy a copy of Photoplay Magazine that had belonged to the actress. Admist the webpage of Juliens Auctions 2012 a description of Greta Garbo's first screen appearance was nestled in between a "Vintage Greta Garbo Portrait" a Valentina Ottoman Silk overcoat and a Grey Silk Dress, they being among 800 items. It read, "Garbo's first American film, The Torrent opened in 1926 and her entrancing performance made an international sensation. Here was a woman unlike any previously seen on a film screen." During 1927, Motion Picture Magazine was as extratextual discourse in the relationship of viewer to viewed within spectatorship was more than interested inthe on and offscreen eyes of Greta Garbo in the interplay of flanneur, as windowshopper, before she brought the objectification of her image as lover-recluse in its article In the Confidences of Andre Ani, The Man Who Dresses the Stars, "He finds it difficult to dress Greta Garbo for she has foreign ideas about dress...she likes short skirts when she should wear long ones and she has innumerable dislikes." On screen, and in the portraits taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull, Greta Garbo would be in attire desinged by Adrian, to where according to Movie Classic, Garbo had specifically helped Adrian design the court gown that she wore in the palace of Queen Christina.
Two Swedish silent film actresses, Tora Teje and Karin Molander, were found with Swedish Silent Film actor Lars Hanson- Sofia Larssen's webpage on "Sweden's leading matinee idol of the silent era", was also a Geocities webpage before it closed. We we invited to "Also take a moment to drool over the many pictures in the gallery." From a guestbook entry on from a similar geocities page she was evidently then living in Sweden. Of particular interest was the Lars Hanson webpage written by Laurel Howard, also a geocities webpage. She writes that The Saga of Gosta Berling/The Atonement of Gosta Berling was meant to be a four hour film, "Because of the editing there are a lot gaps in the plot. It really is an epic film and needs length to show the full character and plot development...I think this film needs to be on the list for some major restoration." She later writes about "Ketta" in "the horzontal love scenes" that brought The Flesh and the Devil to renown and created a continuing fame, or unique stardom, for Greta Garbo. Webpages like these were a catalyst for my page on Greta Garbo in that it part of a series of five pages on Svenska Filmhistoria, which began chronicling the history of Swedish Silent Film from the turn of the century and I was honored to include a screening of one of the most profound and powerful films directed by Victor Sjostrom before his coming to the United States. Of particular mention is Louise Lageterstrom of the Swedish Film Institute's writing on Greta Garbo are more than worth a revisit.
Silent Film before Greta Garbo: 1909-1917
Swedish Silent Film
Peter Cowie writes of a voice that was described to Vilgot Sjöman as being 'so nice and gentle' it having 'a quite huskiness that makes it interesting'.
'Yes, this is Stiller's room, I know for sure.'
After Greta Garbo took off her glasses to show Ingmar Bergman what she looked like, her watching his face to measure the emotion of the director, she excitedly began discussing her acting in The Saga of Gosta Berling. When they returned to the room, one that had also been used by Molander, Bergman poeticly studied her face.
One of the smaller theaters, one with 133 seats, at Borgavagen 1, is named after Mauritz Stiller, another one with 14 seats named after Julius Jaenzon, cameraman for Svenska Bio. Biografen Victor, with its 364 seats is a permanent tribute to Victor Sjostrom and the 363 ghosts that at anytime may accompany him to, perhaps in search of a new Strindbergian theater known as filmed theater, step into the past.
Greta Garbo Stumfilm Skadesplerska: Greta Garbo's entrance to Swedish Silent Film
Barry Paris chronicles that it was Kerstin Bernadette that brought Garbo to meet then vetern Swedish Film director Ingmar Bergman, his having requested it in order to have her return to the screen in his film The Silence. In 1965, Raymond Durgnat wrote, "Greta Garbo made her last film in 1941, but nearly twenty five years later there are still rumors of possible new films, and her name can still fill a cinema. Pages later, to his account of her nearly consenting to eloped with John Gilbert and it having happenned that "finally, she hid herself in a ladies lavatory", he added, "Years after his death, Garbo still spoke of him in the present tense: 'Maurice thinks...'. And yet please thoughtfully accept this as an indirect clue from the present author about the enigma of the actress and her decisions as when to film and when to stay out of the poublic eye; it is from one of the only interviews she ever gave published in Photoplay before the advent of sound film, "I love to travel. I would like just to have enough money to travel. I have not place to go- except back to Sweden. I want to go every place." It is mystical that if Greta Garbo did nothing else for us, she traveled though eternity, embracing her time period and then later eluding its glance.
To those either fascinated by her, or, bluntly, merely eroticlly stimulated by her body, one possible reason for this was alighted upon by the biographer Durgnat, "The obverse of Garbo's divinity was her shyness. There were few close ups of her during Gosta Berling's Saga because of her nervous blink." (He adds that it had continued into her filming with G. W Pabst, who speeded up the camera to adjust for it.) Garbo went to Rasunda to the Svenska Filmindustri studio to meet Stiller for a screen test to be filmed by Julius Jaenzon, whom she happened to meet on a train, a presage to her meeting Ragnar Ring years later. While waiting for the director to arrive, Swedish cinematographer Julius Jaenzon had told Garbo, "You're the loveliest girl I've ever seen walk into the place." She and Mona Martenson were to film The Saga of Gosta Berling (1924, ten reels). Louise Lagterstrom of the Swedish Film Institute introduced the film, and Greta Garbo, in her writing with the title En Fortarande eld, Gosta Berling. During its filming, Greta Garbo and Mona Martenson had stayed in the same hotel room together. The beauty of Mona Martensson is miraculous, a deep beauty that can only be seen as wonderous. In the Story of Greta Garbo, a 1928 interview with Ruth Biery published in Photoplay, Garbo relates of Mortenson's being in Hollywood and of her planning to later return to Sweden. Photoplay, while advertising that the article would appear in their next installment, viewed Garbo as tempermental. In the article, she talks about The Saga of Gosta Berling and of Stiller having given her 'the very best part for my very first picture.' If the reader of 1928 had found where in Photoplay it was continued, "This Star's Interesting Narrative was to include Greta Garbo having said, "I owe everything to Mr. Stiller" The actress related that, for one thing, they both spoke Swedish, as much as she thought that being in the United States and that it was where she could make films. Stiller had imparted to her, 'You must remember two crucial things when you play the role or for that matter any role. First, you must be aware of the period in which the character is living. Second, you must be aware of your self as an actress. If you play the role and forget about your self nothing will come of it.' Appearing separate to the hardcover Garbo biography written by John Bainbridge was his work published in magazine form, which read, "Garbo's Haunted Path To Stardom, A hypnotic Director made over Her very Soul." In it he gives an account of Stiller's first session with Garbo at Rasunda, where he had asked her to act in front of the camera, quoting Stiller as having said, "Have you no feelings? Don you know nothing of sadness and misery? Act, miss, act!" Stiller having instructed that there be closeups shot of Garbo, he is attributed as having afterward imparted, "She is shy." and having added, "She has no technique, so she can't show what she is feeling." During her Photoplay interview, Greta Garbo continued on the film remarking that,' Lars Hanson played my leading man...but there were no love scenes, not even a kiss.' Author Forsythe Hardy writes about Hanson's performance in The Saga of Gosta Berling in his volume Scandinavian Film, published in 1952, "Lars Hanson made a dramatic figure of the clergyman whose rebellious temperment is one of the motivating forces of the story." About Lars Hanson, after having seen The Saga of Gosta Berling, Lillian Gish wrote, 'When I saw it I thought that he would be the ideal Dimmesdale.' There is a similar earlier account written before her autobiography where she is quoted as having said that she had been told to go into the projection room to watch The Saga of Gosta Berling specificly to decide whether Lars Hanson would be aquired by the studio to play against her in an adaptation of Hawthorne's novel, "The moment Lars Hanson appeared on the screen, I knew he was the man we wanted." Interestingly, actor Lars Hanson had been briefly mentioned in the United States in Pantomine magazine during March of 1922, in Out of the Make Up Box, On to the Screen, written by Helen Hancock. "Lars Hanson, who is one of the most versatile actors on the screen, and one of the most versatile artistic breakers of the hearts of the Swedish flapper, is an adept in the art of make-up." An appreciation of the film made by Hanson in Sweden was displayed by photos of Hanson not only as himself, but in greasepaint as men much older than himsself, it including stills from Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, Andre the Red and The Lodge Man. Helen Hancock had only months earlier in Pantomine praised Swedish Silent Film star Lars Hanson in the article How About those Viking Ancestors, A little Talk about Swedish Matinee Idols. The photo caption read, "He looks mild- but dare him to do something" It reads, "A star of the legitimate stage, where for a number of years he has has been one of the principal attractions at the Intima Theatre, Stockholm, this virile specimen of manhood is best known for his psychological characterizations." The author then praised Hanson for his doing his own stunts, acting on screen without a stuntman. To highlight this, the magazine The Film Daily later reviewed the performance of Lars Hanson opposite Lillian Gish, "Hanson may lack looks, but is a splendid dramatic actor." During 1929, Photoplay Magazine reviewed the release of The Legend of Gosta Berling, "the only European film appearance of Greta Garbo before she was sold down the river to Hollywood..It need only be said that Hollywood has made The Glamorous One...You won't die in vain even if you miss this one." Greta Garbo was interviewed in Sweden during the filming of Gosta Berling's Saga by for the magazine Filmjournalen (Filmjournal) by Inga Gaate, who had interviewed Mauritz Stiller in 1924, Garbo in the article having praised Stiller for his direction and having referred to him as Moje. Greta Garbo appears on the cover of Filmjournalen 8, bareshouldered, in 1925. Stiller, incidently, had invited Sten Selander, a poet rather than actor, to Rasunda before his having decided upon Lars Hanson for the film. Jenny Hasselquist also appears in the film- Hasselquist was much like modern Swedish actress Marie Liljedahl in that she was a ballerina, her having been introduced to readers in the United States in 1922 through Picture-Play Magazine with a photograph it entitled The Resting Sylph. Sven Broman has quoted Greta Garbo as having said, 'We sat in a lovely drawing room and Selma Lagerlöf thanked me for my work in Gosta Berling's Saga and she praised Mauritz Stiller...She also had very warm and lovely eyes.' While filming Gosta Berling's Saga, Stiller had said, 'Garbo is so shy, you realize, she's afraid to show what she feels. She's got no technique you know.', to which the screenwriter to the film, Ragnar Hylten-Cavallius, replied, 'But every aspect of her is beautiful.' By the time Stiller had begun co-writing the script to Gosta Berling's Saga, he and Selma Lagerlöf had begun to disagree in regard to how her novels were to be adapted. Lagerlöf had asked that Stiller be removed from the shooting of the film before the script had been completed, her having as well tried to acquire the rights to the film to vouchsafe its integrity as an adaptation. During the filming Stiller went further; he then included a scene that had not appeared in either the novel or the film's script. Author Forsyth Hardy lists a number of spectacular scenes from the film before describing "one of the quieter scenes" where two actresses explore the relationships that can for between two female characters, "The two women stand face to face, their minds full of bitter memories. No word is spoken, not a guesture made. Then the women, one at either side of the great press begin to turn to it. Moments such as this, when the camera was used to express great depths of feeling, showed Stiller's gifts as a director." Greta Garbo when interviewed in Photoplay Magazine described being on the set of her first leading character portrayal-Ruth Biery subtitled her second installment to The Story of Greta Garbo with Miss Garbo makes her film debut and appears like a comet in the Northern Sky."She paused again to remember, 'The first days of work I was so scared that I couldn't work. I was sick in earnest...He (Stiller) told me to practice alone. But I knew he was in some corner watching. I looked all around and could not see him, but I knew hw was there. So I would not practice."While visiting Stockholm in 1938, Garbo had asked to view the film, her having said to William Sorensen, "It was the movie I loved most of all." Iris Barry briefly reviewed the film in 1926, "In Sweden, the creative impulse has not some much died down as been bled away" and from that context sees a film that, "shows a gloomy and unusual subject, full of sincere passion and conflict and with the fine somber, photographic quality peculiar to the Scandinavian cinema." That Stiller had veered from the text of the novel during its adaptation is noted by Hollywood Filmograph in 1930 when it reviewed the reissue of both Stroke at Midnight, directed by Victor Sjostrom, and The Story of Gosta Berling, "Regardless of the quality of this picture, which is none to high, the usual interest in Garbo will atrract good houses...In this film Garbo is merely a pretty girl who doesn't know a great deal about acting...The film itself abounds with fault...Next in fault lines lies the complication of story, or stories. The audience is expected to follow a half a dozen varied plots and subplots, thrown together in the most bewildering manner." The publication felt that bot Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson had, by then, "improved under American supervision" in regard to their acting ability. "The picture is padded too heavily with tragedy." There is an account of Mauritz Stiller having introduced Greta Garbo to author Selma Lagerlof and an account of Lagerlof having complimented Garbo on her beauty and her "sorrowful eyes." In particular, Sven Broman has quoted Greta Garbo as having said, "We sat in a lovely drawing room and Selma Lagerlof thanked me for my work in Gosta Berling's Saga and she praised Mauritz Stiller...She also had very warm and lovely eyes." Although far from being a playwright or sceenwriter, Selma Lagerlof flourished as a novelist during the silent film era, despite many of her novels having had having remained unfilmed, including the earlier Invisible Links (1894), The Queens of Kungahalla (1899) and The Miracles of the Antichrist (1897). After her contemporary, Swedish poet Gustaf Froding, had died in 1911, a year during which Lagerlof had published Liljecrona's Home (Liljecrona's Hem), Lagerlof went on to publish Korkalen (Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness, one of the most important novels included in the screen adaptations of the silent era as it appeared on the screen in 1920 directed by Swedish Silent Film director Victor Sjostrom, in 1911, and Trolls and Men (Troll och manniskor. During 1918 she included the novel The Outcast (Bannlyst) and published a second volume to Trolls and Men in 1921. It was during the filming of Lagerloff's The Phantom Carriage that an ostrich farm that had fallen into desuetude in Rasunda was converted into the Svenska Filmindustri studio, and with that named Filmstaden. Lagerlof wrote the autobiographical novel Marbacka in two parts, her concluding the volume in 1930 and publishing The Diary of Selma Lagerlof in 1932. (Photocredit to still of Greta Garbo:Swedish Film)
It is not entirely marginal that there are also accounts that Nils Asther had met Greta Garbo in 1924, at the Dramatiska Teatern and that he had then proposed marriage to her, which she apparently declined- the autobiography of Nils Aster, Narrens jag (Fool's Way/The Way of the Jester) was published in Swedish, posthumously. If, in 1928, Ruth Biery was writing about Nils Asther in Photoplay Magazine in order to obtain information about Greta Garbo, she does in fact show him in a favorable light and was genuinely interested in the actor, "Nils Asther, like Greta Garbo, was trained in the small studios of Sweden. He was accustomed to accept acting as an art rather than a short cut to wealth, fortune or position."
After the Saga of Gosta Berling was shot, Greta Garbo briefly returned to the Royal Dramatic Theater before being brought to Berlin for its premiere- Stiller was also with Greta Garbo for the premiere of The Joyless Street. There was a photograph of Greta Garbo and Mauritz Stiller in Berlin adorning the writing of Louise Lagterstrom of the Swedish Film Institute- she credits Stiller's discovhery of Greta Garbo in its title "Stiller's Kreation" In a Berlin hotel room, Stiller had said to Greta Garbo, "That's better. Put your feet on that stool. You're tired. A film star is always tired. It impresses people." Although she seldom gave interviews, Greta Garbo described her going to Berlin in an interview with Ruth Biery published in Photoplay, "Miss Lundequist, a very big Swedish actress, who played in the picture, went with us. She is a most marvellous person...So much soul and so tired always. Berlin was wonderful to us...We went on stage. They sent us many flowers. They had sent to Stockholm for us and made it a very big time for us...While we were there, that one week for the opening people spoke to Mr. Stiller about our coming to America." Bosley Crowther, in his biography Hollywood Rajah, chronicles that while in Berlin, Mayer had screened a film directed in Sweden by Stiller after Seastrom had recommended that they meet. "It was full of snow and reiindeer...Stiller had someone call the next day and say he would like to show Mayer his latest film Gosta Berling's Saga from a novel by Selma Lagerlof. They met at a screening room." Stiller, "a tall, lanterned-jaw man who could not speak English" (Crowther) was asked during the film who Greta Garbo, "a lovely, slender, spiritual-looking blonde", was. Apparently Stiller megaphoned in Swedish, "Look at the picture! Look at the direction!" The next day the three had dinner. Paul Rotha described Greta Garbo in the film The Joyless Street in his volume The Film Till Now, "But Greta Garbo, by reason of the sympathetic understanding of Pabst, brought a quality of lovliness into her playing as the professor's elder daughter. Her frail beauty, cold as an ice flower warmed by the sun stood secure in the starving city of Vienna, untouched by the vice and lust that dwelt in the dark little street." In the invaluable volume written "during film history", in 1930 Rotha gives a more accurate view of the place of the film in history by observing that the film was in his view internationally censored, or "Suppressed", writing, "The film was made in thirty four days working at sixteen hours a day, and when completed, it was ten thousand feet in length, about the same as Ben Hur or The Big Parade...In America it was not shown at all, and in England once, at a private performance of the Film Society." Garbo was to have made a second film for Pabst but declined. Before travelling to Turkey to film Odalisque from Smolna, Greta Garbo returned to Stockholm, appearing on the Swedish stage in the play The Invisible Man, written by Lagerkvist. Stiller had written the script to the film The Odalisque of Smolny and had brought Jaenzon, Ragnar Hylten-Cavallius and Garbo to Turkey only to have the film be left unmade. In the film, Greta Garbo was to portray a harem girl; there were rehearsals held of a exterior where Garbo was to meet her lover. There is a reference to the film made by Greta Garbo in a 1928 interview for Photoplay Magazine,
''We never started on that picture. The company went broke. Mr. Stiller had to go back to Germany to see about the money which was not coming. I was alone in Constantinople. Oh, yes, Einar Hansen,' she paused, 'the Swedish boy who was killed here in Hollywood not so long ago- was there too. He was to play with me in the picture. But I did not see him often.'' In Denmark, Einar Hanson had appeared in the films The Bilberries (Takt, Ture Og Tosser, Lau Lauritzen, 1924) and Mists of the Past (Fra Piazza del Popolo Anders W. Sandberg, 1925), the latter having starred Karina Bell.
When interviewed in 1924, Stiller had said, 'You have to leave room for people's imagination. The film camera registers everything with such merciless clarity. We really have to leave something for the audience to interpret.' Irregardless of how accurate one clue about the film left behind by Photoplay magazine in 1930 may be its title, the magazine claiming that it would be rereleased in the United States under the title "When Lights are Red", "Garbo's supporting cast consists of Einar Hansen, the young actor who met with an accidental death in Hollywood several years ago and Werner Krauss. Garbo was exotic in those days, too, but not the calm, poises woman of the world she is today." Ake Sundberg quotes Greta Garbo as having said, "I saw Hanson seldom. He was so ashamed of his ragged beard that he hardly dared show himself." The actor was sporting the beard for the requirements of the script. In That Gustafsson Girl, written for Photoplay Magazine by Sundberg in 1930, Mauritz Stiller is attributed as having been the first European director to shoot in close-up, to shift the camera and to find "new, striking angles" "Constantinople had fascinated the Swedish girl, who had never been away from the cold countries." There would be a letter from Greta Garbo to Vera Schmiterlow sent from Constantinople. Stiller had, "written much of the story himself" and that there was a rewrite of the script required is seen as having contributed to the films having been left uncompleted. Forsyth Hardy gives an account of the film then bearing the title Konstantinopel. Accompanying the history of the film not having had been being made is the atmosphere, or innuendo, that circulated among journalists, particularly those from other European cities that had travelled to Stockholm, their heaving linked Stiller and Garbo romanticlly, to a point where there was "the rumor that Garbo married Mauritz Stiller, the Swedish motion picture director, back in 1924 when they were both working on a picture in Constantinople...Garbo, said the whispers, is a widow." One could interpret that these were encouraged by Greta Garbo having been a recluse. As late as 1933, after the Garbo image had been established, Axel Ingwerson published an article on Greta Garbo in Photoplay entitled, "Did Garbo Marry Stiller?" with the subtitle, "Is there any basis in fact for this strange rumor." Ingwerson continued and while describing Stiller included, "The original story was that Garbo had married Stiller in Constantinople under a mutual pledge of secrecy. That Garbo, furthermore, would have kept the marriage a secret forever if she hadn't found it necessary to put forward her claim to Stiller's estate." During 1932, Film Daily Magazine had published, "It now develops that Greta Garbo was married to late director Mauritz Stiller...they were married secretly in Costantinople in 1924, so the story goes, so she is over in Sweden to claim her share of the Stiller Estate."
Bengt Forslund notes that the filming of an adaptation of Anna Karenina had at first been thought of for actress Lillian Gish, who in Sweden, Greta Garbo had seen in the film The White Sister. In her autobiography, Gish wrote, 'I often saw the young Garbo on the lot. She was then the protege of the Swedish director Mauritz Stiller. Stiller often left her on my set. He would take her to lunch and then bring her back, and Garbo would sit there watching.' When refilmed, her Hollywood screen test would be filmed by Stiller and, purportedly spliced into the rushes of The Torrent, seen by director Monta Bell, who then insisted the script of the film be given to Garbo. Garbo's second screentest had been photographed by Henrik Sartov, who later explained that the earlier test had lacked proper lighting and that a lens he had devised had allowed him to articulate depth while filming her. Cameraman William Daniels had photographed the earlier test. Lillian Gish relates a conversation between her and Sartov about Garbo where Gish asked him if he could photograph a screentest of Garbo, "Garbo's temperment reflected the rain and gloom of the long dark Scandinavian winters. At first Garbo was reluctant to accept the role in the film, although it was a large role that had been considered for Norma Shearer, Stiller having advised, 'It can lead to a better parts later.' to which she replied, 'How can I take direction from someone I don't know.' Monta Bell had directed Norma Shearer in the film After Midnight (1921). The subtitle to one section of The Story of Greta Garbo As told by her to Ruth Biery, published in Photo-play during 1929, reads "Tempermental or misunderstood". In it Greta Garbo relates the events that led up to her having left the studio for less than a week, "Then it was for months here before I was to work with Mr. Stiller. When it couldn't be arranged, they put me in The Torrent with Mr. Monta Bell directing...It was very hard work but i did not mind that. I was at the studio every morning at seven o'clock and worked until six every evening." She goes further while explaining that there was a language barrier that would later contribute to Mauritz Stiller also being taken off her next picture, "Mr. Stiller is an artist. he does not understand about the American factories. He has always made his own pictures in Europe where he is the master. In our country it is always the small studio." The production stills of Greta Garbo during the filming of The Torrent were photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise; Robert Dance and Bruce Robertson, in their volume Ruth Harriet Louise and Hollywood Glamour Photography, note that Greta Garbo was in Ruth Harriet Louise's studio within months of having filmed, but also note that before photographing Greta Garbo, Louise had created her "first published Hollywood image", that of Vilma Banky from the film Dark Angel in the September 1925 issue of Photoplay. Ruth Harriet Louise also published an early portrait of Greta Garbo in Motion Picture Classic magazine. During 1927 Photoplay added to the dynamic of extra-textual discourse and the spectator's relation to fantasy by making photographer Ruth Harriet Louise into either a real person or a celebrity, and or both, "Ruth Harriet Louise just couldn't keep away from the camera even at her own wedding...Ruth dashed behind the cameras to make certain that the lighting effects were just as she would have them...Now we wonder if Mr. Jacobson, a scenario writer at Universal followed the lead of his only-woman-photographer mate and wrote the newspaper accounts of the wedding." It was on the set of The Torrent that author Sven-Hugo Borg was introduced to Stiller, who in turn then informed Garbo that he was her assigned translator while under Monta Bell's direction. In The Private Life of Greta Garbo by her most intimate friend, Borg relates that bell had turned to him and had said of her, "What a voice! If we could only use it. Of the film he notes, "Of course she was constantly with Stiller, spending every possible moment with him; but thought that when the camera's eye was flashed upon her, the picture would decide her fate began, he would not be there terrified her." Borg continued as the interpreter of Greta Garbo until 1929. Photoplay Magazine looked at the film during 1926, "Monte Bell stands well in the foreground of those directors who can take a simple story and so fill it with true touches that the characters emerge real human beings and the resulting film becomes a small masterpiece....Greta Garbo, the new Swedish importation is very lovely." National Board of Review magazine during 1926 typified the film with, "The story preserves a European atmosphere in which parents still have the least say about their children's marriages." Eugene V Brewster began the watching of Greta Garbo on the part of Motion Picture Classic magazine with his own view, "At Metro-Goldwyn Studion they showed me a few reels of Greta Garbo's unfinished picture. This striking, young Swedish actress will doubtless appeal to many, but somehow i couldn't see the great coming star in her that the company expects." Fredrick James Smith continued for Motion Picture Classic with Greta Garbo Arrives, The newcomer is a somber-eyed Norsewoman, one Greta Garbo, who seems to have more possibilites than anyone since Pola negri of Passion...She isn't afraid to act. That she was able to stand out of an inferiror story, poorly directed, is all the more to her credit...The Ibanez story is full of claptrap, including the dam that bursts without having anything to do with the story. Monta Bell has tossed it into film form without any apparent interest." It was quickly followed by the article "The Northern Star, The Screen's Newest Meteor is a moody daughter of Sweden", written by Alice L. Tildesley. It was very soon after that Greta Garbo began a love letter with her movie going audiences that would be nearly contained to her appearances in front of the camera only- Photoplay author Myrtle West that year published an article on Greta Garbo that year entitled That Stockholm Venus, and although it can almost be reduced to paragraphs confirming the need of an interpreter on the part of Greta Garbo when she had first reached Hollywood, and while it connects her with Anna Q. Nilsson and Greta Nissen in her being unfamiliar to Hollywood, it begins with, "Greta was very worried. A frown corrugated her brow." and concludes, "A face that you would remember long after the body had crumbled away.". It attempts to describe her first impression on Hollywood, "Greta has no desire to join the vacous circle of teas, dinners and dances into which this favored newcomer is invited. Besides, she has little time for men...or love. This by her own admission." The picture of Greta Garbo in a chair seated next to a lion, Garbo photographed outdoors on what at first looks like a bench and the lion posing with his front feet elevated on a log, as it was published in Motion Picture Magazine during 1926, was printed without her name; the photo-caption reads, "$10.00 for the best title to this picture." It was followed pages later with "Why Girls leave Sweden, "Presenting to you Miss Greta Garbo- a lady who is said to have all the qualifications of a star." Journalist Rilla Page Palmborg followed that with the article, The Mysterious Stranger, which began with "She is a mystery to those of her own profession!" The photograph accompanying the article was taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. " 'Ever since I can remember I must be an actress,' she explained in suprisingly good English, when I asked her to telll us about herself." Louise Lagterstrom of the Swedish Film Institute adorned her writing on the arrival of Greta Garbo in Hollywood, Mot Hollywood, with a photo taken in 1924 by Arnold Grethes, almost reiterating that Garbo was photographed extensively, often posing as a photo-model for publicity stills, before her living in self-imposed exile.
While waiting for the next film to be made by Greta Garbo, during 1926 Photoplay magazine printed, "Yet an automobile almost kept Greta from Metro. Mayer had seen Miss Garbo's work in a foreign made film, 'The Atonement of Gosta Berling'. This picture is incidentlly directed by Mauritz Stiller, who is directing the second Garbo opus and it is considered an artistic gem, but a positive flop as far as American audiences are concerned. For that reason it probably will never be released here." The article continued that Greta Garbo knew that movie stars were provided with limousines whereas Mayer would include one in her contract, insisting that they were bought by the actors and actresses themselves.
There is a report that M.G.M purchased the talking picture rights to both The Temptress and The Torrent in 1932. Bengt Forslund writes, 'Her first two films, The Torrent and The Temptress, both in 1926, were insignificant, but showed that she had appeal- the audience liked her.' The screenplays to the first two films in which Greta Garbo had appeared, The Torrent and The Temptress (nine reels) both had been adaptations of the novels of Vincente Blasco Ibanez, their having been titled Among the Orange Trees and The Earth Belongs to Everyone, respectively. The novels written by Vincente Blasco Ibanez also include The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse filmed after Blood and Sand, in 1921, Enemies of Women (Crosland), starring Alma Rubens and Marie Nostrum, filmed in 1926 . When interviewed by Motion Picture Classic magazine, Vincente Belasco Ibanez was quoted as having said, "The future of the camera is limitless. Now it is not going ahead very fast. There is no standard in the cinema. Who do the artists not get together and set up standards?" Photoplay reviewed the film, "While this Vincente Belasco Ibanez story is crammed full of melodramatic action- much of it preposterous-Greta Garbo makes the proceedings not only believable, but compelling...Such a role strains at the probabilities, but Miss Garbo makes Elena highly effective. She is beautiful, she flashes and scintillates with singular appeal...The Temptress is all Greta Garbo. Nothing else matters." Richard Corliss, biographer perhaps film historian, chronicled, "The studio seemed to favor novelists like Hermann Sudermann and Vincente Blasco-Ibanez. Both writers enjoyed stroking the passion of their characters (and their readers), and then throwing a bucket of natural or divine retribution on the sinners. The water was not holy but cold, and was used not to absolve but to punish." Ruth Biery in 1932 intimated that Stiller was removed from The Temptress because of an objection made by Antonio Moreno, the director having insisted that the actor wear a pompadour to compensate for Garbo's having had been being the taller of the two. Richard Corliss gives an account of Stiller's replacement, "There are stories of Stiller shouting 'Stop!' when he wanted his cameramen to start shooting and 'Go!' when he wanted them to stop." Bosley Crowther's account of it in his biography of Mayer depicts Stiller as possibly unfamiliar with the studios in the United States, "Stiller was allowed to start this one, but proved too finicky and slow, one of those 'difficult' directors that were now being got out of the studio." The advertisements in magazines that were part of Metro Goldwyn Mayer publicity for that time period did in fact, like the earlier "Eminent Authors Series", present to readers a growing collection of foreign directors imported by the studio. Before the release of the film, Motion Picture Magazine featured a photograph of Mauritz Stiller and Greta Garbo on the film's set, captioned with, "The dancing scenes of Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno in The Temptress, which Mauritz Stiller is directing in this photograph, were filmed by a camera attached to a moving platform which followed them about the floor." If this were Stiller's only contribution to, or influence upon classical narrative and the temporal-spatial relationships of camera to subject in film, it would be notable, excepting that Stiller had previously filmed in Sweden and built the traditions of film making there as one of its pioneers under Charles Magnusson. The magazine also published a photograph of Greta Garbo "vamping" before the film's release, capitoned, "Judging from the oval photograph above, The Temptress is well named. Although Greta Garbo has only been on the American screen for a short time, she enjoys quite a vogue." It then reviewed the film, "It must be admitted that The Temptress is a bore...Greta Garbo as the unhappy Temptress has a role which requires precisely nothing."
Charles Affron particularly looks to the entrances that Greta Garbo makes during the opening scenes of her silent film and notes that silent film director Fred Niblo, after taking the helm upon Stiller's leaving the filming of The Temptress, studies Garbo's beauty, her ethereality, by adding a second screen entrance of his own where Garbo, clasping flowers, is exiting a carriage- he then illustrates its use in Niblo's later film The Mysterious Lady (Den Mystika kvinna, 1928, nine reels) where Garbo, in the middle of watching an opera is seen by Conrad Nagel as he is making his entrance and then by the camera in a profile close shot. In the sequence, the camera is authorial in accordance with the action of the scene; Garbo's look is momentarily uninterrupted as Nagel, almost an interloper, is introduced into the scene by his entering the frame and by the camera nearing her as she is near motionlessly surveying the proscenium, the theater in the film a public sphere of address that envelopes its characters to where Garbo, and her act of watching becomes the subject of the cinematic address and the object of both Nagel's and the audience's interest. Affron writes that it may have been Stiller's keeping Garbo on the screen and in front of the camera that had been among the reasons for his being replaced on the set of The Temptress.
Author Mark A. Vieira was asked by Turner Classic Movies to provide audio narrative commentary to the film The Temptress for its The Garbo Silents collection, his on occaision quoting the actress during the film as well as his quoting from her correspondence. The Temptress begins with a blue-tinted exterior shot, Fred Niblo then cutting what seems to be an opera house during which there are lights from the cieling that sway back and forth across a costume dance. During the next scene Garbo in an evening gown that is folded like a robe enters a drawing room where there is a visitor that has been invited to dinner. During the dinner, there is an pullback shot over a table that is elaborately included in the scene, it having been designed almost as though the scene from a pre-code film in the plunging necklines of its tight clinging evening gowns in contrast most of the films scenes that seem bookended between the beginning and end of the film. After a series of exterior shots filmed by assistant director H. Bruce Humberstone, Lionel Barrymore is introduced in the film, Greta Garbo shortly thereafter reintroduced as the camera cuts away from her before it is finished panning up, it cutting back after an interpolated shot to finish panning from her waist upward, the camera slowly reflecting upon the unexpectedness of her being reunited with the other characters. Director Fred Niblo had apparently also taken over behind the camera for Lynn Shores during the shooting of The Devil Dancer (1927, eight reels), actress Gilda Gray having had been being on the set.
In a scene where Garbo is shown in an extreme close up sitting with Lionel Barrymore, author Mark A. Vieira chooses to discuss that whereas previously close ups had often been used in silent film as being concerned with a different plane of action as other shots filmed from other camera distances, Niblo seems to include closeups into the characterization through a use of lighting and diffusion while filming. Irregardless of this, later in the film there is extreme close up of Garbo that is abruptly cut almost on a reverse angle right before her and her lover are about to kiss. The character movement of the two nearing each other is held, if only briefly, Garbo near stunning as the camera only briefly contains her within the frame. There in the film is a scene with a rainsto