Profile: Greta Garbo as Anna in Anna Christie

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The timelessly glamorous and mysterious Greta Garbo feels perfectly suited for the role as the mysterious Anna Christie. Anna Christie is a film that I didn’t really care for all that much, and it’s by no means due to any technical fault, but rather it’s a story that feels dated and didn’t stir my emotions at all. Mushed between the horrible George F. Marion (with his stupid exaggerated accent) playing her father and the equally horrible and Charles Bickford (with his exaggerated and jarring accent) as her lover, I frankly thought the best actor of the cast was the drunkass Marie Dressler. With the film being marketed as some sort of event due to it being Garbo’s first entry into the talkies, I had high expectations and was planning on this being some sort of “event”. It was, unfortunately, not so, and Garbo delivers just a good performance. I thought that her first scene at the bar with Dressler was a superb one, mixing in desperation, pain, and secrecy perfectly with Garbo’s allure. As the film progresses, the performance stalls for a while, giving Garbo nothing to do except a few dramatic close-ups here and there. (This here is my “I’m suspicious of you” face, and now here’s my “Ugh, I’m so torn up right now cuz I have this secret that’s tearing me up inside” face) I thought that Garbo’s accent was fine for part of the film and then more confusing in the latter half. The culmination of the film (and the performance), the final explosive monologue, felt very forced and Garbo’s fumbling of her lines against her expressions and pantomiming failed to capture the magic of her first scene. What I saw instead was an inconsistent performance; once again neither bad nor excellent. My feelings for it are the same as Norma Shearer’s; fine but lacking that A HA! element that keeps me engulfed in the acting. In the end, I give it a

three

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