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Queen Christina [VHS] (1934)

Greta Garbo , John Gilbert , Rouben Mamoulian  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith, Lewis Stone, Elizabeth Young
  • Directors: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Writers: Ben Hecht, H.M. Harwood, Margaret P. Levino, S.N. Behrman, Salka Viertel
  • Producers: Walter Wanger
  • Format: Black & White, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301978374
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,942 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Arguably Greta Garbo's best MGM movie--depending how you feel about Camille and Ninotchka--this tale of the 17th-century Swedish monarch who preferred men's togs to gowns plays the most provocative games with the great star's ambisexual personality. At her request, Rouben Mamoulian directed (all three Garbo's-best-movie candidates were done by the best directors she worked with: Mamoulian, George Cukor, and Ernst Lubitsch). Two sequences are legendary: Christina memorizing the room at a snowbound inn where she has first experienced love; and the long, concluding closeup of a queen become ship's-figurehead--as blank as a tabula rasa, and filled with all the meaning and emotion seven decades of audiences have chosen to see there. Those scenes are anthology pieces, but unlike most Garbo pictures, the whole movie is intelligently scripted and sustained. With Lewis Stone, C. Aubrey Smith, and John Gilbert--Garbo's premier silent-era costar--making a tentative comeback as her love interest. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garbo's Gift to Us July 1, 2006
In my view Garbo's greatest film, and her most personal. Among my other favorites are Camille and Ninotchka, but Queen Christina is her stand-out classic above all others. I have read that Garbo was personally exicted by and involved in this production to an extent unparalled for her, motivated by the Swedish (her homeland) history and the opportunity to play one of history's most enigmatic figures, the queen who "abdicated her throne for love" (though this portrayal is, of course, largely "Hollywoodized"--you can probably throw most expectations of historical accuracy out the window, just set back and behold).

Here is every aspect of the legendary Garbo in one film: the breathtakingly beautiful woman, the amibiguous sexuality, the great tragienne, the aloofness, the boyish playfulness, the restless longing to escape any enforced tableaux or expectations of others and live her own life by her own terms, all things she had in common with Queen Christina. Here also is her warm, memorable final pairing with her former real-life amor and frequent co-star John Gilbert.

Two legendary scenes stand out: Garbo walking about, as if in a daze, memorizing the inn room in which she and Gilbert have just spent the night (a scene almost lost due to censors), and of course the final, unforgettable closeup, the greatest closeup in the history of cinema--simply stunning, as is the heartbreaking farewell to the dying Gilbert moments before. Not to be missed scenes also are Garbo running out of the castle into the bitter cold, rubbing snow in her face like a child, and the warm relationship with her elderly attendant, C. Aubrey Smith, who dotes on her like a daughter, combing her hair, tending to her every need with tender love and protectiveness.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars spectacular extravaganza April 6, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
before i bought this movie i was told that it is nothing but garbo, garbo, garbo, i was not disappointed!
its opening holds back the swedish sphinx for siveral minutes, opening with a beautiful close up of that irresistable furrowed brow. from there is is a tour-de-force for her, her two famous scenes, the touching scene and her final close-up which holds a special place in the hollywood archives.
also i was forewarned about john gilbert, his acting voice-totally miscast. i disagree. i liked him in the part, okay he over acts in places, but hey-he and garbo re create that charismatic chemistry that explodes in "LOve" and "Flesh and the devil", also it made me sad to think this was his last, sadly dying not long afterwards.
i was disappointed in two things which are muffed over by the garbo vehicle, the extras and the music.
somehow i dont think Swedish peasants had a stong clear american tinted voice, such as the opening "I used to be king of Sweden".
The music is brutish in the "touching scene". it gives the lovely sequence an almost comic aspect, best to mute your tv while it is on, garbo needs not say a thing to be heard.
What makes this exciting is that it is the only scene that i see her cry, when Gilbert dies in her arms, she buries her head, raised it with a tint of a tear in each, she leans over him as if to kiss him, instead covers passionately his face with a cover, and proceeds into the greatest final close-up i have ever seen, the scene switching from her walking towards the bow, the sailors shouting as they proceed to sail, her touching the bow, the wind blown sails, and slowly the camera finds those haunting eyes-magnificent!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Garbo November 10, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The gloriously beautiful and gifted Greta Garbo gives an alternately commanding and comedic performance as Sweden's cross-dressing monarch, Queen Christina. Christina falls in love with a Spanish ambassador, played by Garbo's real-life ex-beau, John Gilbert, and in doing so, changes the course of history.
This film has a dated artificial look to it. The sets LOOK LIKE SETS, and the action often feels stagy and claustrophobic, as if it were conducted on one of MGM's cumbersome sound stages (which it was).
However, "Queen Christina" is worth seeing because of the sheer pleasure that the ever effervescent Garbo generates through her skillful portrayal of the eccentric monarch. Garbo on screen never fails to captivate. She is often better than the movies she appears in.
See "Queen Christina" for the joy and artistry of Garbo's performance. You won't be disappointed.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT I DID FOR LOVE... January 5, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This is a vastly entertaining film about the enigmatic, cross dressing, 17th Century Queen of Sweden, who abdicated her throne for love of a Spaniard, the Spanish Envoy to the Swedish Court, Don Antonio De La Prada. The film follows their romance from their first chance meeting through their full blown love affair to its final tragic conclusion. Real life is often stranger than fiction.
Greta Garbo, a native of Sweden, is positively glorious as this most unusual of Queens, giving a performance that is intelligent, complex, and passionate, with a touch of whimsy interjected. John Gilbert, Garbo's real life, handsome ex-lover, is excellent in the part of Don Antonio, a man conflicted by his mission on behalf of his king and his passion for Christina.
Queen Christina, too, is conflicted, as she does not wish to enter into a political marriage of convenience with Swedish war hero, Prince Charles Gustavus (Reginald Owen). This is the marriage that the people of Sweden seem to want and one that is being fostered by both her Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna (Lewis Stone), and her former lover, Count Magnus (Ian Keith). Nor does she wish to marry the Spanish King. Instead, she wishes to marry for love. So, she does the unthinkable. She abdicates for love, creating shock waves that reverberate throughout the courts of Europe, and arranges to leave her native Sweden with Don Antonio and head for Spain.
The best-laid plans, however, often go awry. Jealousy rears its ugly head, when Count Magnus realizes that his affair with Christina is over and that Don Antonio now has her affection. It is he who throws the final monkey wrench into their plans to live happily ever after.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Magic
Garbo migrates effortlessly into the Queen of the Historical Drama. This is cinematic history with some of the screens most memorable scenes. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Colom
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic Love Story!
It's an amazing love story with a tragic ending! What's not to love? I have seen this many times before and loved it! When I saw it again on dvd, just had to buy it! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Deborah N. Veloza
3.0 out of 5 stars Garbo's best?
Many have called this Garbo's best movie and her best performance. That's not saying much. Most of her movies were bad and she was bad in them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by little white gloves
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of Astonishing Behavior
I bought this as a gift for my son's birthday because Queen Christina as a child behaves like his daughter, also my granddaughter. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Elisabeth Oldaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Glamour!
That's what it offers... glamour! The 1930s, that era of the Great Depression, had glamour figured out. Read more
Published on September 15, 2010 by Giordano Bruno
4.0 out of 5 stars Garbo Glares
There was a brief time and place when the silent films had faded and talkies had begun, yet the people who survived the transition brought to the screen a sensitivity and level of... Read more
Published on August 26, 2010 by Dr. James Gardner
.....The picture got better when pressure was put upon the Queen to send her Latin lover home and to marry a Swede who would give her an heir to the throne. Read more
Published on July 23, 2010 by C. Chandler
4.0 out of 5 stars KING Christina
Set in the 1600s, Rouben Mamoulian's QUEEN CHRISTINA is considered by many to be Greta Garbo's best film. It is if one accepts this as a total work of fiction, perhaps. Read more
Published on July 7, 2009 by Annie Van Auken
4.0 out of 5 stars Garbo's most sensitive screen performance
QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933) was the first movie which Greta Garbo made as part of a secret development deal with MGM studios. Read more
Published on May 24, 2009 by Byron Kolln
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Vehicle for Garbo
Garbo is Garbo here, and that's really all that needs to happen. She is splendid and it's worth sitting through this otherwise rather silly film to see her. Read more
Published on January 26, 2008 by Promise
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