Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vintage Inspiration: Greta Garbo

Va va voom-a-licious Greta Garbo
I'm staying up later tonight to finish the 1926 silent film The Torrent on TCM, Greta Garbo's first Hollywood production. I'm still stunned by her talent and beauty. To think the studio high-ups once called her "a fat-looking peasant" and said Americans wouldn't like her. She was, of course, the sex symbol of the 1930s--a total goddess whose screen presence is undeniable. I mean, those eyes just penetrate right out of the screen!

Look into her eyes...
I have many other favorite ladies of the silver screen, Norma Shearer (the original actress who brought Marie Antoinette to the Hollywood scene) for one, but Greta has something special about her--she doesn't look like anyone else, and she is still mesmerizing to this day (even on my little TV at this moment). Without even speaking, she can communicate more effectively to her audience than probably about 75% of actresses today. That's pretty amazing to me.
The 30s high glamour has been spotted more than once on the red carpet, but one of my favorite actresses and comediennes Drew Barrymore (herself a silver screen descendant) channeled the Garbo vibe in this fabulous ensemble for the HBO series
Grey Gardens premiere:

While it's not my favorite decade in American history, the 30s definitely has a certain sparkle to it that brings back the nolstagia. I especially am enamored of the great horror films produced at that time, particularly the many Dracula films which really set the Hollywood canon for vampire and supernatural flicks. If you've never watched a silent film or a classic horror film, I highly recommend educating yourself. :-)
edit: I just realized how close in proximity I put "vampires" and "sparkle," and felt I must apologize for that, both awkward and unintended. Twilight couldn't even hold a candle to the likes of a film like Dracula's Daughter or Nosferatu. Nothing against Twilight fans, but I like my vampires old school. ;-)

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