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Movie Review - Queen Christina (1933 - United States)

Updated on May 10, 2012

Greta Garbo in 1932

Ethereal and earthy, sensual and detached; the compelling screen presence of Greta Garbo has defied description for six decades, and Queen Christina is an excellent example of why .

Her smart, independent queen dresses in drag and surprises everyone--including us--with her choices when faced with the classic duty-or-love decision. There is a scene in this film where we watch as Christina moves about a room, touching each item in it while watched by John Gilbert (wonderful as her charmingly dim yet sophisticated lover). We get it before he does: she's memorizing the room, and the camera lingers longer than any modern film would on her homage to silent era pantomime acting. Then we really get it--this is a tragedy, not a comedy, and this intelligent woman knows it, yet continues on her path without remorse or tears.

The beautiful and elusive Greta Garbo

This trailer is not original, but pretty well made:

Greta Garbo

It would be many decades before any actress was given a role like it, as the Hayes Screen Production Code snuffed out smart women on the screen, not to mention girls in men's clothing! Garbo was wise to walk away from Hollywood before that happened--just like Christina, she saw what was coming, never cried about it, and instead just sailed away.

Very highly recommended.

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics

Rated: Unrated (Predates Hays code enforcement)

Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min.

In Theaters: Dec 26, 1933

On DVD: Sep 6, 2005

Directed By: Rouben Mamoulian

Written By: S.N. Behrman, H.M. Harwood


Greta Garbo - Queen Christina

John Gilbert - Don Antonio de la Prada

Ian Keith - Count Magnus

Lewis Stone - Chancellor Axel Oxensti

Elisabeth Young - Countess Ebba

C. Aubrey Smith - Aage

Reginald Owen - Prince Charles

David Torrence - Archbishop

Who was Greta Garbo? Why does she remain one of the most alluring of actresses? Here's part of the answer:

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    • DIYmyOmy profile image

      DIYmyOmy 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thanks for the Vote Up! It's a terrific movie, and an historically interesting one as well.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I am not familiar with this movie. It sounds very intriguing, one I hope to see one day. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and interesting.