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Greta Garbo - The Signature Collection (Anna Christie / Mata Hari / Grand Hotel / Queen Christina / Anna Karenina / Camille / Ninotchka / Garbo Silents)

4.8 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Product Description

Garbo: The Signature Collection (DVD)

Includes the best known films from a timeless and alluring actress of the 1920s and 1930s whose enigmatic beauty in a series of MGM silent films catapulted her to international movie stardom.

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Who was Greta Garbo? For a while the greatest of all movie stars, then a celebrated recluse, always "the mysterious lady," Garbo purred, "I want to be alone," and people took her at her word. Of course, the real Garbo is actually the "reel" Garbo, the silvery, suffering creature on the movie screen--the way the light caught her eyes, and the way she slithered around in silk. There are other Garbo films to be seen, but Garbo: The Signature Collection is the essential Garbo, the alpha and omega for fans and beginners. This 10-disc package collects seven of her MGM sound pictures, three silents, and the Turner Classic Movies documentary Garbo, which gives a good career overview and warm testimony from friends and relatives (although more critical perspective on her talent would have been welcome). Some extras and commentaries are mixed in.

The Garbo Silents disc features Flesh and the Devil, one of her sizzling box-office duets with John Gilbert; The Temptress, a wild number with Garbo as a man-killer who follows Antonio Moreno to the plains of Argentina; and The Mysterious Lady, a tight spy picture with Garbo as a Russian agent seducing the susceptible Conrad Nagel. When Garbo finally talked it was headline news, and if Anna Christie has aged a bit, the star's sultry enunciation of "Gimme a visky" retains its historic punch. (The disc includes a German-language version of the film shot at the same time.)

Mata Hari continues the exotic storytelling of Garbo's silent years, as she does an eye-popping turn as the famous German spy. Grand Hotel casts her as a tired, tired ballet dancer, in a star-studded MGM project that played on her public image as aloof and mysterious. The movie was a box-office smash and took the Best Picture Oscar for 1932, and still stands as a glittery gem of the studio system. Under the sympathetic direction of Rouben Mamoulian in Queen Christina, Garbo flourishes in a tale of a Swedish royal who escapes the grind by disguising herself as a boy. She insisted that John Gilbert--his career in tatters and his life near its end--be her leading man. Garbo rarely seemed more spot-on, and the film's final grand adoration of her is justifiably famous.

Anna Karenina is Garbo's second crack at the Tolstoy heroine, after the silent Love. It's a throbbing performance, even if the movie itself is one of those MGM productions that seems to doze under all its finery and respectability. Camille is scrumptious costume tragedy, with Robert Taylor as co-star and George Cukor as director. Finally, Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (you know--"Garbo Laughs") is a bubbly comedy of frosty Sovietism meeting the champagne pleasures of Paris. Garbo retired two years, ending her reign but keeping the enigma intact. --Robert Horton


Special Features

Additional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary on Flesh and the Devil by Garbo Author Barry Paris; The Temptress by Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy Author Mark A. Vieira; Mysterious Lady by Film Historians Tony Maietta and Jeffrey Vance Documentaries: TCM ARCHIVES: GARBO - New Feature-Length Documentary Exclusive to This Set! Featurette: SETTLING THE SCORE - Goes Behind the Scenes of the TCM Young Film Composers Competition and the Scoring of Notable Silent Movies Photo gallery: Garbo's Silent Years at MGMAdditional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary on Flesh and the Devil by Garbo Author Barry Paris; The Temptress by Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy Author Mark A. Vieira; Mysterious Lady by Film Historians Tony Maietta and Jeffrey Vance Documentaries: TCM ARCHIVES: GARBO - New Feature-Length Documentary Exclusive to This Set! Featurette: SETTLING THE SCORE - Goes Behind the Scenes of the TCM Young Film Composers Competition and the Scoring of Notable Silent Movies Photo gallery: Garbo's Silent Years at MGMAdditional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary on Flesh and the Devil by Garbo Author Barry Paris; The Temptress by Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy Author Mark A. Vieira; Mysterious Lady by Film Historians Tony Maietta and Jeffrey Vance Documentaries: TCM ARCHIVES: GARBO - New Feature-Length Documentary Exclusive to This Set! Featurette: SETTLING THE SCORE - Goes Behind the Scenes of the TCM Young Film Composers Competition and the Scoring of Notable Silent Movies Photo gallery: Garbo's Silent Years at MGMAdditional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary on Flesh and the Devil by Garbo Author Barry Paris; The Temptress by Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy Author Mark A. Vieira; Mysterious Lady by Film Historians Tony Maietta and Jeffrey Vance Documentaries: TCM ARCHIVES: GARBO - New Feature-Length Documentary Exclusive to This Set! Featurette: SETTLING THE SCORE - Goes Behind the Scenes of the TCM Young Film Composers Competition and the Scoring of Notable Silent Movies Photo gallery: Garbo's Silent Years at MGMAdditional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary on Flesh and the Devil by Garbo Author Barry Paris; The Temptress by Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy Author Mark A. Vieira; Mysterious Lady by Film Historians Tony Maietta and Jeffrey Vance Documentaries: TCM ARCHIVES: GARBO - New Feature-Length Documentary Exclusive to This Set! Featurette: SETTLING THE SCORE - Goes Behind the Scenes of the TCM Young Film Composers Competition and the Scoring of Notable Silent Movies Photo gallery: Garbo's Silent Years at MGMAdditional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary on Flesh and the Devil by Garbo Author Barry Paris; The Temptress by Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy Author Mark A. Vieira; Mysterious Lady by Film Historians Tony Maietta and Jeffrey Vance Documentaries: TCM ARCHIVES: GARBO - New Feature-Length Documentary Exclusive to This Set! Featurette: SETTLING THE SCORE - Goes Behind the Scenes of the TCM Young Film Composers Competition and the Scoring of Notable Silent Movies Photo gallery: Garbo's Silent Years at MGMAdditional Scenes: THE DIVINE WOMAN: Surviving 9-Minute Excerpt of This Lost 1928 Silent Alternate endings: Alternate Ending on The Temptress Audio Commentary: Commentary

Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Hennings, Colleen Coffey, Doug Jeffery, Griffin Drew
  • Directors: Kelley Cauthen
  • Format: Box set, NTSC, Full Screen, Black & White, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 10
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009S4IJM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,284 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Greta Garbo - The Signature Collection (Anna Christie / Mata Hari / Grand Hotel / Queen Christina / Anna Karenina / Camille / Ninotchka / Garbo Silents)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen H. Wood on September 15, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I feel like a kid in a candy store as I gaze with anticipation at an expensive DVD boxed set I just bought from Amazon: GRETA GARBO-THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION. Manufactured by Warner Home Video, this is a good purchase for vintage film lovers and a younger generation who maybe wants to just see some compelling and mesmerizing silent and sound romance. I believe Amazon is selling the set for $70, but we are talking about ELEVEN MOVIES on ten disks that individually sell for $15-$20.

It is not Garbo's entire film output-another disk could be filled with what is missing. But it has her finest films, like QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933), CAMILLE (1937), and NINOTCHKA (1939). Also included are both the English-language and rare German-language versions of ANNA CHRISTIE (both 1930-and Garbo spoke fluent German), MATA HARI (1931), the Best Picture Oscar winner GRAND HOTEL (1932), and ANNA KARENINA (1935). All of the sound films here at least include a theatrical trailer-it is fun to see how MGM promoted a given movie. GRAND HOTEL includes a new documentary, a premiere newsreel, a vintage musical short, and trailers for both this and the WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF (1945) remake. And CAMILLE includes the 1921 silent version starring Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino, a "Leo is on the Air" radio bonus, and the 1936 theatrical trailer.

As if all this were not enough for $70 (or even the $100 suggested price), we have three of the eight or so silent romantic classics Garbo made: FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1927), THE MYSTERIOUS LADY (1928), and THE TEMPTRESS (1926).
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I suppose the following remarks will make more sense to someone who's seen a number of Garbo films and responded to their particular magic. No matter how tiresome the workings of the various plots, or the sometimes ridiculous headgear, couture, coiffure, costars, mise en scene - all of this in the end counts for nothing as she cannot be defined or contained either by her moment in time or her physical surroundings. When you see her and hear her "up there," on the screen, you are in the presence of a very, very, Old Soul neither feminine or masculine but a conglomeration of elements unique unto itself. This truth is evident from that first glimpse in "Gosta Berling" right through the wreck and ruin of "Two Faced Woman." How courageous of her to allow us a look inside!

A wise old professor of mine once said that you cannot consider your education complete until you've seen what Greta Garbo does. Thats why even the weakest of her films (The Torrent? Susan Lennox? Romance?) are worth watching, and "coffee table" books are still being published (2 more this month) professing to answer why she remains an object of fascination and study. Could it be this ultimate symbol of that most superficial of epitaphs "movie star" went far beyond the expected and actually evoked something timeless and outside the traditional scope of the medium in which she practiced?

Watch these films and discover - either for the first time, or all over again. If they themselves are not worthy of repeated scrutiny, she certainly is. Garbo is soon to be 100, but I think her age is best measured in millenia.

Steve Charitan
Hudson, OH
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Initially I had reservations about buying WB's Garbo set, simply because it was so stratospherically priced. Fortunately, my parents must have sensed it was on my wish list, regardless of its price, and bought it for me as a gift last Christmas. I just couldn't bring myself to take it back! The quality of this set is just too overwhelming. Not only do you get at least three classic film masterpieces (Camille, Queen Christina, and Flesh and the Devil), but also a whole selection of good Garbo films, ranging from obscure to highly popular. Mata Hari has always been a Garbo classic, even if it's not a masterpiece. Anna Christie was based on a great play and, although the production is stagy, the excellence of the story shines through. Anna Karenina is one of the best films in the lot--the photography alone is astonishingly beautiful. Ninotchka was an entertaining comedy, but probably my least favorite Garbo film. Grand Hotel speaks for itself as an enduring cinema legend, as do Camille, Queen Christina, and Flesh and the Devil. What was Garbo's best film? It's a toss-up between these three timeless titles. It's also nice to have two very rare silents: The Temptress and The Mysterious Lady, even if these films are slightly less than stellar.

As far as quality goes, the set is teriffic. Picture quality is extremely good, but not perfect; I think we can blame this on the age of the films and not because of any disservice from Warner's. The prints are cleaned up very nicely, but just not as pristine as other releases such as Now Voyager or Mildred Pierce, which fairly glimmer. Very good quality, though.
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This collection of Garbo films is an economical way of obtaining these films if you want them but it is a little disappointing as a package. The positives are obvious - a good selection of Garbo's best films, a good documentary about her career and some excellent commentaries on the Silents. In fact, the Garbo Silents disk shows the loving attention of the best TCM DVDs which leads to the disappointing aspect of the collection. Most of the prints of the talkies are poor. "Queen Christina", "Camille" and "Ninotchka", maybe her best films, warrant restoration. "Anna Karenina" does not even contain a complete print. There are no commentaries, a few theatrical trailers and "Grand Hotel" has an interesting newsreel of the premiere. These films deserve better.
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