#80 Queen Christina (1933)

Calling all feminists here as I introduce to you a fascinating film with a powerhouse title character played by the very talented Greta Garbo. Queen Christina is about an independent and strong leader who was crowned at six years old after the death of her father but her love for freedom and the right to marry is a harder battle for her than the Thirty Years’ War.

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Greta Garbo is a force against nature in which she uses her commandeering voice and subtle expressions to be this 15th century queen. She’s confident in her decisions and has no problem ordering a group of men what to do in order to achieve peace. But even though she does a great job of leader, she still yearns for other things. The only thing that’s not in her control is who she can marry so she can produce a successful heir. Because of these sexist restrictions, she flees her kingdom and takes on the disguise of a man to gain her independence. For a woman to be cross-dressing on screen was considered pretty controversial for its time. While in hiding, she meets the dashing and charming Antonio played by John Gilbert. In this film, Queen Christina must make the choice between the love of one man and the love of her people. What choice would you pick if you were in her shoes?

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This is an example of a film that romanticizes the true life of a person when the real life queen’s tough decision to abdicate the crown being the choice between Lutherism or Catholicism when in this film it’s between a man or a country.The chemistry between Garbo and Gilbert is a real delight to see. How he still treats her like an equal despite being a woman. This is the fourth and last film of the two of them together. Unfortunately for John Gilbert whose career was declining, Garbo thought this film would help him salvage it. He ended up making one more film after this one and dying of a heart attack in 1935. Greta Garbo, on the other hand, ended up making plenty of successful films after this one. She has the face that was made for close-ups where she doesn’t need to settle with theatrical, over the top acting to give a powerful performance. Speaking of close-ups, cameras had to be changed for the final shot of Garbo as the first camera was able to show a close-up of her pores! For those of you who want to see early films of women taking charge, this is the one for you!

Watch Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Queen Christina and write in your thoughts:

 

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