7 posts categorized "GRETA GARBO"

Jul 05 2013
Room With A View: My '80s Walls Comments (4)

I didn't come out until the very end of high school, but I was slowly, inexorably working my way out via the décor of my room. I started slowly. The first poster I had up was Cyndi Lauper by Lynn Goldsmith. I'd bought it in Hawaii, but it had gotten a little crushed, so it was waved through the entire poster. I learned quickly that posters have souls.

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Jan 21 2013
In & Out: 25 Stars' First & Last Performances In Film & On TV Comments (7)

When I started this little project—which hoped to gather a number of juxtaposed images showing various celebrities' first and last filmed acting performances—I thought it would be easy. I was First-last-gay-boyculture-pop-culture-Marilyn-Monroe-Audrey-Hepburn-Farley-Grangerwrong. While it's easier for some of the most iconic names since so much research exists regarding their early years, I encountered time-sucking troubles, and not only when it came to old-timers (whose first films, as you might expect, were often lost silents).

Along with that challenge, I found that many stars' first appearances were as uncredited extras (therefore hard to ID) in obscure movies (therefore hard to find in any form), and that those whose early-years films I found easily might well have ended their careers in similarly obscure straight-to-video releases or in episodic TV, much of which is not floating around on the Internet.

But I pushed ahead and cooked up 25.

I wanted the group to be fairly random, and I think it is. It's less about icons and more about just seeing the changes of life and of career. It's fascinating to me how difficult it is—in all but a few cases—to guess what heights a career may have hit when only viewing its genesis and its conclusion.



Greta Garbo (1905—1990)

How Not to Dress (advertising film, 1920) & Two-Faced Woman (1941)

Garbo's first film was for a department store, made to instruct viewers on how not to dress. Ironically, she would become a style icon before her final film, a comedy, led to embarrassing reviews and a not-quite-intentional retirement.


Van Johnson (1916—2008)

Too Many Girls (1940) & Three Days to a Kill (1992)

From an uncredited spot in the chorus of a Lucy & Desi musical, Johnson ended his time on screen as a crusty commander in a Fred Williamson action groaner alongside Chuck Connors. That was also the final performance for Connors. Those two had more in common than just their final movie!


Lizabeth Scott (1922—)

You Came Along (1945) & Pulp (1972)

Thanks to her close association with producer Hal Wallis, this sultry answer to Lauren Bacall was the star of the very first film she did. She sued Confidential Magazine for outing her and by 1972 was making her final appearance, opposite Michael Caine, in a film about an old-time movie star (Mickey Rooney) who hires a pulp-fiction writer to do his memoirs. In that role, Scott's character is told, "I'll bet that was a fairy tale romance," to which she says, "On the contrary, the prince was very hetero."


Ray Milland (1905—1986)

The Flying Scotsman (1929) & Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death (1984)

His first role was a lead in a British part-silent/part-talkie, starring as a fireman aboard a train who falls for the engineer's daughter, running afoul of the fireman he replaced. His last was as the Home Secretary in a made-for-TV Sherlock Holmes installment starring fellow old-timers Peter Cushing and Sir John Mills.



Dorothy Stratten (1960—1980)

Autumn Born (1979) & They All Laughed (1981)

One of the most infamous (for reasons beyond her control) Playboy bunnies of all time kicked things off with a seedy nudie flick and kicked off right after filming her lover Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and John Ritter.


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Jan 14 2013
WouldaCouldaShoulda: 5 Incredible Movies That Never Happened Comments (1)

A-film-unfinishedUnmade's quarters

With all the crappy movies that get made, it's shocking when intriguing concepts—whether potential classics or potential hot messes—fall by the wayside, never to be revisited again.

Check out this list of five films that almost, but never ultimately, got made...

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Dec 17 2012
Enjoy The Silence Comments (0)

RomanceJack Hanlon, who appeared in the silent film The General (1926) as well as two Our Gang shorts, has passed away at the age of 96. His most interesting credit to me is that he received a sweet kiss from Greta Garbo in Romance (1930); she got an Oscar nomination for the part and he got a good memory, no credit and no more than $5.

Incidentally, Frederica Sagor Maas, the woman who wrote Garbo's Flesh and the Devil (1926), also died recently—within the past year. She was a supercentenarian, the only one ever to be famous for more than simply her old age.

I had never heard of Mr. Hanlon, nor was his name on the regrettably short list of human beings who, as of the moment before he passed, had appeared in a silent film in any capacity and were still living—so I wonder if there are more out there than we know. I hope so.

Aug 22 2012
Don't Be Stingy, Baby: Property Of Greta Garbo For Sale Comments (3)

Greta Garbo auctionlot105721
Julien's Auctions will be selling property from the estate of Greta Garbo December 14 and 15 in Beverly Hills. It's amazing that there is anything left after all these years (Garbo died at 84 in 1990), but perhaps her surviving nephew is finally letting go of some of what he inherited?

Greta Garbo auction lot105436A 1979 portrait by Charles Busch

Much of it is unexciting (other than some great photographs), but I was intrigued by her two passports—she apparently had them taken in cheap drugstores so no one but she would have copies of the photos.

Greta Garbo auction lot104889Looking ferocious in her late fifties

Jan 06 2012
Aging Report Comments (4)

FredericasagormaasTurning 111 this past July with a smile on her face

Frederica Sagor Maas has died at the beyond-ripe old age of 111. She was famous as Frederica-sagor-maasa film writer (she wrote Garbo's 1926 silent classic Flesh and the Devil, from which star Barbara Kent also just recently died) and memoirist.

See her hilariously trash-talking Joan Crawford here.

As fascinated as I've been of late with celebrities of yesteryear, I'd been researching oldest living film figures. Just yesterday, I discovered Maas was alive and looked up her memoir on eBay, thinking it would be a good follow-up to Baby Peggy's, which I recently finished. Having just discovered her, I wrote on my Facebook page a question I'm putting to you all as well.

I know there are no people left who were adults in silent movies, but: What is the oldest movie to have at least one surviving cast member? (I was thinking the 1921 short Her Circus Man or for full-length films Fool's Paradise from the same year, both of which featured Peggy. Which led me to ponder: Is no one alive who ever appeared in any films from the teens? And how many could be alive who ever appeared in a film from the '20s? Carla Laemmle is alive and kicking and appeared in 1925's The Phantom of the Opera.)

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Sep 18 2011
Gimme A Happy Birthday And Don't Be Stingy, Baby! Comments (5)

Greta Garbo_07
Greta Garbo would be 106 years old today. I was always captivated by her, even Hn6ph6cpvaml6hpn before I'd seen her movies. I remember splurging on a Rizzoli book of all her most striking images when I was poor as dirt in college (I still have it) and copying many of them in drawings.

Madonna aped her on Island and Debbie Harry (unintentionally?) did so on her Rockbird cover and, well, a million other places. She was not only gorgeous but a great actress and even comedienne.

I hate that she never made a splashy comeback once leaving the screen, especially since it was said she wanted to, and with Marilyn Monroe as a co-star. (Imagine the showmance potential!)

When she was almost a recluse, seeing her image became less fun because she looked like Greta-garbo an old bag lady and apparently was battling the bottle. (Dietrich cattily wrote nasty captions on candid images of later-life Garbo that she tore out of magazines.)

I do remember that when she turned 85 my local paper, the Flint Journal, ran a vintage image and noted that she'd been spotted with a young man, implying she still had her powers of seduction even then. As if she wasn't a fabulously selective dyke. Get real, Flint Journal—even 21-year-old college kids knew that.


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