Ok, Garbo fans! It’s crunch time.
As mentioned yesterday, she was born Greta Gustafsson in inauspicious circumstance in Stockholm in 1905, and wound up in her first full-length movie — playing a maid — in Sweden in 1921. Twenty years and some 30 titles later, her spectacular career was voluntarily over, and she famously embarked for the rest of her life on a singular journey premised insistently on being alone.
How much do you remember about Garbo? Ok, let’s see. Here are the answers to our Monday GARBO Quiz. Again, were were inspired here by Frederick Sands and Sven Broman, coauthors of The Divine Garbo, published 11 years before her death at age 84 in 1990.
1) Question: During her peak years at MGM, Garbo was known by various nicknames. Which of the following is not one of them? a) The Swedish Sphinx; b) La Divina; c) Hot Lips; or d) The Face.
1) Answer: Garbo was for promotional purposes known by all nicknames except c) Hot Lips.
2) Question: Although their acting styles were very different, Garbo and Clark Gable very much admired each other’s work. a) True; or b) False?
2) Answer: b) False. Garbo and Clark Gable took an active dislike to each other. She dismissed him as a wooden actor. He regarded her as a snob. A real don’t-invite-’em.
3) Question: Silent screen star Gilbert was so in love with costar Garbo that he made enemies with Louis B. Mayer because the MGM boss passed unflattering remarks about her. a) True; or b) False?
3) Answer: a) True in part. Silent screen star John Gilbert’s beefs with Louis B. Mayer were several. But the actor did get into fisticuffs with the MGM boss over some cracks made about Garbo. In retaliation, it’s said, Mayer deliberately tampered with the sound of Gilbert’s talking picture debut (1929’s His Glorious Night) so that the actor’s voice came across as excessively high pitched, sending audiences in gales of mocking laughter.
4) Question: “Garbo Talks” was the studio’s promotional pitch for which one of Garbo’s pictures? a) Flesh and the Devil; b) Queen Christina; c) Anna Christie; or d) Ninotchka.
4) Answer: c) 1930’s Anna Christie. Said Garbo: Gimme a whiskey with ginger ale on the side. And don’t be stingy, ba-bee.
5) Question: Although she learned English easily, Garbo never lost the lilting Scandinavian speech rhythm that many of her countrymen cannot escape. a) True; or b) False?
5) Answer: b) False. In just five years, Garbo had mastered American English only slightly accented. She had an excellent ear.
6) Question: Garbo and sister Swede Ingrid Bergman were close friends throughout their professional lives? a) True; or b) False?
6) Answer: b) False. Ingrid Bergman never became friendly with Garbo despite their backrounds. She and Garbo had almost met several times but Garbo had chosen not to acknowledge her. “Not even a simple, polite hello,” recalled Bergman.
7) Question: Which of the following men figured most importantly in Garbo’s life? a) Gayelord Hauser; b) Mauritz Stiller; c) Max Gumpel; or d) Rouben Mamoulian.
7) Answer: b) Mauritz Stiller, the Swedish film director who discovered Garbo, nurtured her in her early career accompanied her to the United States. She loved him but sex was probably not part of the deal since Stiller was gay.
8) Question: Throughout her many romances, Garbo always regretted that none of the liaisons resulted in marriage? a) True; or b) False.
8) Answer: b) False. As Garbo wrote, I cannot see myself as a wife — ugly word. She was convinced she would not make a good wife. She was undoubtedly right.
9) Question: Unusual for a foreign actress in Hollywood, Garbo took to the movie capital very quickly and more or less felt at home. a) True; or b) False.
9) Answer: b) False. Garbo was scared stiff when she arrived in Hollywood in the mid- Twenties. I’m tired and nervous and I’m in America, she commented. She never felt much at home in the movie capital.
10) Question: What did Garbo have in common with Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland? a) All three got into protracted contract disputes with studio bosses; b) All three were prima donnas; c) All three lived long lives; or d) All three made scads of money during their careers?
10) Answer: Garbo like Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland engaged in protracted contractual battles with studio front offices. Garbo tired of playing fallen women after 1926’s Flesh and the Devil, and tussled with MGM’s Mayer over scripts and more money. She locked her feet and eventually won a contract that raised her weekly salary from $600 to $5,000.