Camille Javal
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Stirrings in her film ‘grave’
In the past 13 years the question of Garbo’s return to motion pictures has constantly recurred and repeatedly, for one reason or another, been dropped again. Although some of the countless movie projects proposed to her have been thwarted for reasons beyond her control, not the least of the reasons for her continued inactivity has been her own inability to come to grips with the idea of again becoming a film actress. Her more or less hopeless attitude toward the subject has been revealed in her references to the ill-fated Two-Faced Woman as “my grave.”
Of the hundreds of scripts she has read since the war, Garbo has shown serious interest in about half a dozen. In 1947 she agreed to play the part of the fabulous French novelist George Sand in a film to be financed by British, French and American capital. Garbo was genuinely disappointed when, primarily because of trouble over distribution, the venture failed.
For a while she was attracted by an idea of John Gunther’s for a film about a foreign correspondent and a beautiful lady spy. With her encouragement and that of M-G-M production chief Dore Schary, Gunther went to work and wrote the scenario. After Garbo had read it, her only comment was, “I think it’s a perfect part for Greer Garson.”
In 1948 Garbo actually signed a contract for $200,000 with independent Producer Walter Wanger and accepted $25,000 in salary for preliminary work on a picture based on Balzac’s La Duchesse de Langeais, a florid tale of a beautiful, worldly woman who finally takes a nun’s vows and dies at 29. Garbo made screen tests, learned the script and in the summer of 1949 arrived in Rome, where the picture was to be filmed. But because of financial and other difficulties one postponement followed another, and at last the project was abandoned.
In 1952 Producer Nunnally Johnson sent her proofs of Daphne du Maurier’s novel My Cousin Rachel and through George Cukor invited her to undertake the title role in the film version of it. After reading the novel, Garbo said she was very interested in playing the part. Optimistically Johnson went to New York to arrange the details. When he got there, Garbo had changed her mind. “I’m sorry,” she told Johnson, “I can’t go through with it. I don’t have the courage ever to make another picture.”
Not long ago an old and very good friend came to her and explained that he was about to undertake a television program and, having had no experience before a camera, asked if she would give him a few pointers. Garbo declined. “Oh, that is all in the past,” she said wearily. “I’ve forgotten all that.”
The script of Garbo’s life would have had a different, though perhaps no happier, finale if she had been able to allow herself to be molded into the standardized Hollywood product, sharing her life with the crowd. Garbo refused to do that. She had dignity and nobility, and she had genius. Like so many great actresses, she may never have possessed a particle of intellectual power, but she had genius before the camera because she was guided by instinct to do the right thing in the right way. She was a true artist and she practiced her art, to the extent she was permitted, as she has always lived her life, with a fine indifference to the opinion of the world. “She is brave, poor Garbo,” one of her oldest European friends has said. “She has the braveness to be herself.”
The Great Garbo, by John Bainbridge; LIFE magazine, January 24, 1955.
(third of three parts)
END

Stirrings in her film ‘grave’

In the past 13 years the question of Garbo’s return to motion pictures has constantly recurred and repeatedly, for one reason or another, been dropped again. Although some of the countless movie projects proposed to her have been thwarted for reasons beyond her control, not the least of the reasons for her continued inactivity has been her own inability to come to grips with the idea of again becoming a film actress. Her more or less hopeless attitude toward the subject has been revealed in her references to the ill-fated Two-Faced Woman as “my grave.”

Of the hundreds of scripts she has read since the war, Garbo has shown serious interest in about half a dozen. In 1947 she agreed to play the part of the fabulous French novelist George Sand in a film to be financed by British, French and American capital. Garbo was genuinely disappointed when, primarily because of trouble over distribution, the venture failed.

For a while she was attracted by an idea of John Gunther’s for a film about a foreign correspondent and a beautiful lady spy. With her encouragement and that of M-G-M production chief Dore Schary, Gunther went to work and wrote the scenario. After Garbo had read it, her only comment was, “I think it’s a perfect part for Greer Garson.”

In 1948 Garbo actually signed a contract for $200,000 with independent Producer Walter Wanger and accepted $25,000 in salary for preliminary work on a picture based on Balzac’s La Duchesse de Langeais, a florid tale of a beautiful, worldly woman who finally takes a nun’s vows and dies at 29. Garbo made screen tests, learned the script and in the summer of 1949 arrived in Rome, where the picture was to be filmed. But because of financial and other difficulties one postponement followed another, and at last the project was abandoned.

In 1952 Producer Nunnally Johnson sent her proofs of Daphne du Maurier’s novel My Cousin Rachel and through George Cukor invited her to undertake the title role in the film version of it. After reading the novel, Garbo said she was very interested in playing the part. Optimistically Johnson went to New York to arrange the details. When he got there, Garbo had changed her mind. “I’m sorry,” she told Johnson, “I can’t go through with it. I don’t have the courage ever to make another picture.”

Not long ago an old and very good friend came to her and explained that he was about to undertake a television program and, having had no experience before a camera, asked if she would give him a few pointers. Garbo declined. “Oh, that is all in the past,” she said wearily. “I’ve forgotten all that.”

The script of Garbo’s life would have had a different, though perhaps no happier, finale if she had been able to allow herself to be molded into the standardized Hollywood product, sharing her life with the crowd. Garbo refused to do that. She had dignity and nobility, and she had genius. Like so many great actresses, she may never have possessed a particle of intellectual power, but she had genius before the camera because she was guided by instinct to do the right thing in the right way. She was a true artist and she practiced her art, to the extent she was permitted, as she has always lived her life, with a fine indifference to the opinion of the world. “She is brave, poor Garbo,” one of her oldest European friends has said. “She has the braveness to be herself.”

The Great Garbo, by John Bainbridge; LIFE magazine, January 24, 1955.

(third of three parts)

END

(Source: fascinationdreams)

  1. myleneauteuil reblogged this from fascinationdreams and added:
    One of my favorite photographs of Greta. It’s just Greta, not Garbo. Great!!!
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