in about 100 words or less
USA 97m, B&W
Director: Rouben Mamoulian; Cast: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith
Greta Garbo plays Queen Christina, the 17th century Queen of Sweden who abdicates her throne for the love of a Spanish envoy whose duty it was to deliver a marriage proposal from the King of Spain. The simple story is loosely based on actual events, in which the queen steps down from power for personal and political reasons. Garbo’s performance is outstanding as the strong-willed Queen Christina who occasionally dresses as a man and rides horseback in the countryside to escape the pressures and responsibilities of government. For the period, Garbo’s portrayal of this gender-bending Queen, who is also depicted as having feelings for her lady-in-waiting, was likely to have had the censors scratching their heads while furthering Garbo’s considerable allure (Klaus Ming December 2009).