Top positive review
93 people found this helpful
An exquisite DVD for a beautiful lady
on September 15, 2005
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). Quoting from the DVD box since I have not seen these silent films recently, FLESH co-stars John Gilbert, who was Garbo's lover at the time; their love scenes, ravishingly shot in luscious B&W by William Daniels, have an awesome sexual potency. Garbo plays a woman who comes between two friends. LADY has her as a Russian spy who seduces her victims. The earliest of this trio, THE TEMPTRESS stars Garbo as a vanp who destroys men. I am not sure whether she does this intentionally, or whether men cannot resist her charms. These three silent films are studio prints with new music scores and audio commentaries by Greta Garbo biographers and/or scholars. Also included on this dual-disk are alternate endings, photo montages for all three films, and the surviving 9 minutes of the "lost" THE DIVINE WOMAN (1928).
Finally, this magnificent-looking Warner Home Video treasure (I expect nothing less from them) has a brand-new 90 minute documentary called GARBO, by British film scholar and ace restorer Kevin Brownlow. The film is narrated by Julie Christie, beautiful in her own right. GRETA GARBO: THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION, sight-unseen, belongs in the library of everyone who has fallen under the divine Garbo's elegant and mesmerizing spell-or is about to. I can't wait to watch this set, and I envy a younger generation about to discover Greta Garbo for the first time.