Queen Christina (1933)
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A fantastic film that has many things going for it. Garbo's face is so enchanting . . . It's something beyond superficial beauty though . . . Her whole performance is enthralling - bewitching face and all. Highly recommended.
If you liked The Great, you'll like Queen Christina, about a similar forward-looking female monarch, this one set in 17th-Century Sweden. History conforms to Hollywood norms, of course, with an almost completely fictional romance (though there were rumors) and a completely invented ending. The romance with the Spanish ambassador kind of replaces her historical conversion to Catholicism (which he did help facilitate), but as this is not a story most audiences are likely to know (taught/filmed history is skewed to English-speaking countries), it's easy to ignore the liberties taken and just wonder, did this happen? One detail that is true is that Christina adopted male dress (we can make certain assumptions), and had to fight her father's ghost as his regime continued to support the war he died in when she was a child. Bringing peace and enlightenment to her people proved difficult because male courtiers ran the show. I like Greta Garbo a lot in this. She is entirely believable as a powerful, savvy queen. Believing she could pass as a boy like we're in an Elizabethan comedy however, not so much. Shakespeare is not invoked, but Molière is, and theater is an interest that would animate Christina's life beyond the time frame of the film. I kind of wish Garbo had done a sequel just to watch her put on shows and spar with five different popes.
Surprisingly enjoyable. And I doubt real Queen Christina wore lipstick back then, so if you just buy into the convention it shouldn't really worry you that much.
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This movie ranks #80 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #93 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #341 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown