The life and career of enigmatic Swedish movie star Greta Garbo is traced in this illuminating documentary, narrated by Julie Christie. We see early footage of Garbo in her home country as a young girl and budding starlet. Coming to America with mentor Mauritz Stiller after being discovered by Louis B. Mayer, she quickly becomes an icon of the silent screen. After a successful transition to talkies she experienced ten more years of stardom before abruptly retiring at age 36. Intensely private, she lived out the rest of her life in New York City.
Choice scenes of Garbo’s well-loved movies (“Anna Christie,” “Ninotchka”) are combined with revealing insights from colleagues, biographers and friends in this fascinating ode to one of the world’s most captivating stars. Highlights include rare footage of Garbo (nee Gustafsson) with Stiller, and a 1949 screen test for a film that never came to be. Clearly, Garbo had lost nothing of her onscreen charisma and we feel regret that she retired so young. Perspectives on Garbo the actress (from directors Clarence Brown and George Cukor in archival footage) is balanced by delightful, personal anecdotes from surviving friends. A must-see for all movie fans.