What I watched: Queen Christina (1933)
How I watched it: library-rented DVD
Synopsis: Greta Garbo plays the queen of Sweden, trying to drag her nation out of it’s decades-long war with Europe and into the future with big dreams of education and culture. Her advisor’s displeasure in her refusal to marry the local war hero eventually lead to her abdication.
Why I watched: I knew absolutely nothing about this film and came across it randomly at the library, I cross-referenced my list of 1001 movies to se before you die, and there it was! Plus I have never seen a film with Greta Garbo before!
Notes: The first thing that struck me watching this film was how great the sets were. They were clearly set-pieces, but they were awesome!
Greta Garbo I also quite liked, for a name that’s quite familiar to me, I’m surprised I haven’t come across one of her films before. Her hair, however…I’m sure Hollywood’s heart was in the best place when interpreting the 17th century, and who am I to know better, but that was some bad hair.
I thought this movie was pretty good, there were some strange parts (when Christina is committing the room at the inn to her memory she has some strange ways of going about it) and some striking close-ups of Garbo’s upper face and eyes. But the ending really bothered me. The idea of a queen abdicating is a strange one, but the idea of her abdicating to run off with a lover is upsetting (and this film pre-dates the entire Edward-Wallis crisis, so it is even stranger to me).
All in all, despite the Hollywoodization and liberties taken with the life of the real Queen Christina of Sweden, this was a fun drama with great attention to costumes and sets, and I don’t think it’s aged too badly.