Only Marlene Dietrich rivaled Garbo as a beauty, a movie star, and a photographic subject, and one of the most amusing motifs in Vieira's film-by-film account of her career consists of regarding Dietrich's changes in image, style, and choice of film "vehicle" as reactions to those of Garbo. The critical consensus is that Garbo was the better actress but that Dietrich appeared in many more important films than Garbo did. Vieira doesn't dispute this but claims that Garbo's oeuvre is more significant than is commonly acknowledged. Unfortunately, he never argues the merits of any of the films enough to begin to prove his point. No lover of Hollywood history will mind, though, since his detailed, impressively well-written accounts of Garbo's 24 completed Hollywood features and one aborted project are entertaining as well as informative. And the accompanying 300 black-and-white photos are--need it be said?--ravishing. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Mark A. Vieira is a photographer, a film historian, and the author of Abrams' acclaimed Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits, Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood, and Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic. He lives in Los Angeles.