Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Queen Christina (1933).

Queen Christina (1933). Pre-code historical/ drama. Director: Rouben Mamoulian.The film was written by H. M. Harwood and Salka Viertel with dialogue by S. N. Behrman, based on a story by Salka Viertel and Margaret P. Levino. Cast: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith and Lewis Stone. The movie is very loosely based on the life of the 17th century Queen Christina of Sweden, who, in the film, falls in love during her reign but has to deal with the political realities of her society. It was billed as Garbo's return to cinema after an eighteen-month hiatus.

In 1632, after her father, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, is killed on the battlefield, six-year-old Christina raised as a boy is crowned "king" of Sweden . Then promises to her court, that Sweden will fight until it wins the war.

Many years later, the now-grown Christina, who dresses in men's clothing, meets with her council and states for the good of the country, they must find peace. Christina then argues with Oxenstierna about marrying her Swedish-born cousin, Prince Palatine Charles Gustavus. Not wanting to marry a man she does not love, Christina rejects Oxenstierna's demands.

To escape Christina, goes on a hunting trip with her servant Aage. While riding, Christina comes across the path of a coach filled with Spaniards, which have gotten stuck in a ditch. Because she is dressed as a man, Christina is not recognized and is treated as a male servant by Don Antonio de la Prada. Later, Christina and Aage seek shelter at the Inn and once again meet Antonio and his men.

Antonio apologizes when he learns that Christina is a gentleman of means and engages him/her, in conversation. Christina impresses Antonio, after which insists that he take her to his room, the last room in the inn. After a polite argument, the couple decide to share the room. While Antonio undresses, Christina becomes uncomfortable, but finally reveals that she is a woman by removing her jacket. Surprised, Antonio takes Christina in his arms. For the next several days, Christina and Antonio, who is still unaware of her royal identity, fall in love and promise their lasting devotion to each other. Needing to accomplish his mission, Antonio leaves the inn, but arranges to meet with Christina in Stockholm.

Back at the palace, Christina is confronted by Magnus, who questions her about her disappearance. Christina's only care, is her reunion with Antonio and dresses up in her most beautiful gown to greet him. When Antonio is introduced to Christina, he is surprised but maintains his composure.

 Later in private Antonio, accuses her for playing with his affections and presents to her a proposal of marriage. Christina ignores her royal duties to spend time with Antonio. Jealous, Magnus hires two men to spread rumors about the queen's scandalous behavior, and one night in the Palace, Christina is met by an angry mob.

After calming the crowd, Christina confronts Magnus, where he threatens to have Antonio killed. For his protection, Christina orders Antonio back to Spain, unaware that the Spaniard has challenged Magnus to a duel. Christina calls together her court, announces that she is stepping down from the throne. While Christina says good- by to her heartbroken court, Antonio and Magnus engage in their sword fight. What will Christina find when she reaches Antonio's ship?

Fun Fact:
Since John Gilbert was becoming less popular as a leading man, Greta Garbo was doing him a big favor by requesting him as the male lead. Unfortunately, the film did not help to re-establish Gilbert, and soon after he dropped out of pictures altogether.

For me, this is a beautiful and haunting film. John Gilbert and Greta Garbo have wonderful on screen chemistry. My favorite scene in the movie, is when she is enjoying herself as a woman.

Muriel Evans (July 20, 1910 – October 26, 2000) Her father died when she was only two months old, forcing her mother to move to California to find work, where Evans' mother took a job as a maid at First National Studios.

 She spent her afternoons on film sets and was soon noticed by a studio executive. The executive introduced her to the director Robert Z. Leonard, who gave her a small role opposite Corinne Griffith in the 1926 film, Mademoiselle Modiste. She continued attending classes at Hollywood High School and landing bit parts in stock theater productions and silent films.

 In 1929, Evans co-starred in the silent, comedic short films, Good Night Nurse and Joyland, starring Lupino Lane. Shortly after completing Joyland, Evans put her acting career on hold to finish school.

 Later that year, she married Michael Cudahy, the wealthy scion of a meatpacking family. The couple traveled the world and settled in Europe. In 1931, Evans decided to pursue the film career she had given up and left her husband in Paris. Evans returned to Hollywood, signed a contract at MGM and quickly began making films again. She and Cudahy divorced in 1932.

Later that year, Evans starred in six films, most notably, Young Ironsides with Charley Chase and Pack Up Your Troubles with Laurel and Hardy. She would go on to star in eight more shorts with Chase before his death in 1940.

She made a smooth transition from silent pictures to talkies, and throughout the 1930s, Evans continued to work steadily. She appeared in Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Manhattan Melodrama with Clark Gable and William Powell, and The Prizefighter and the Lady with Myrna Loy.

By the mid 1930s, Evans also began co-starring in popular westerns alongside Tom Mix, John Wayne and Tex Ritter. She also starred in three Hopalong Cassidy films opposite William Boyd, and did seven westerns with Buck Jones.Muriel Evans with James Ellison in the 1936 film Three on the Trail In 1936, Evans married a theatrical agent, Marshall R. Worchester.

 By age 30, she retired from acting. One of her last film appearances came in 1946, in the Pete Smith short, Studio Visit. Soon after retiring, Evans and her husband settled in Washington, D.C. Over the next decade, she starred in four radio shows and in the television show Hollywood Reporter.

 In 1951, the couple moved back to Hollywood, although Evans never resumed her acting career. Eventually, the couple bought property in Tarzana, California, where Evans dabbled in real estate. After the death of her husband in 1971, Evans began work as a volunteer nurse at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills not far from her home.

After a stroke in 1994, she became a resident within the complex and often dined with fellow actors with whom she had once worked, including Anita Garvin. In 1999, Evans made her last film appearance in a 2000 documentary, I Used to Be in Pictures, in which she was one of many former actors who recalled their experiences in the film work.


  1. Queen Christina is one film that definitely benefited from being made before the Hays Code. Garbo and Gilbert brought a lot of raw sexuality to their roles.

  2. Enjoyable read! Haven't seen Queen Victoria in ages but the one thing that sticks in my mind is that CHEMISTRY! Phew! Gotta take another look soon.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.