Greta Garbo, actor; Roubin Mamoulian, director

Queen Christina (USA; 1933)

Vintage movie still


The seductive Greta Garbo was one of the most famous actresses of the late 1920s and 1930s.  Garbo was discovered by gay Swedish director Mauritz Stiller, a major figure in early Swedish cinema.  When Hollywood studio MGM courted Stiller to come direct in the United States in 1925, Stiller insisted that his protégé, Garbo, be brought under contract with him.  As Stiller’s fortunes waned in the states, Garbo’s career exploded.  As a 17th century Swedish monarch in Queen Christina, the bisexual Garbo blurred gender lines by wearing masculine attire and kissing another woman on the lips.  Although the primary love story is a traditionally heterosexual Hollywood affair, Garbo’s utterance of the line, “I shall die a bachelor” helped to concretize her status as a lesbian icon. 


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