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. (To review the questions, just scroll down one blog below.) 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) Answer: Garbo was for promotional purposes known by all nicknames except c) Hot Lips.
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) 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) 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) Answer: b) False. In just five years, Garbo had mastered American English only slightly accented. She had an excellent ear.
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) 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) 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) 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) 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.