Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Aging Of Greta Garbo

Of all the posts I've worked on over the past year and a half, the most popular turns out to be one I knocked off in about five minutes—a series of photos of John Wayne as he aged in the movies, from the shockingly handsome twenty-three year old of The Big Trail to the grizzled, terminally-ill sixty-nine year old in The Shootist.

Echoing that theme, here are a series of photos of Greta Garbo, tracing her career and the lines on her face from childhood to the end of her life and most everything in between.

Just between you and me, I'm not sure they really tell you anything other than that there was a woman named Greta Garbo made of flesh and blood who eventually withered and died. For me, she lived on the screen and nowhere else, but census takers would disagree.

Now, if you really want photos of Greta Garbo, there are two places to go: Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans and Garbo Forever. The former has hundreds of, yes, high quality scans from her movies; the latter has an exhaustive supply of portraits that covers her entire life.

But for the nutshell version, here you go. As always, click on the photo to enlarge it.

1914—age 9 (that's Garbo in the middle)

1920—age 15

1923—age 18 (by Olaf Ekstrand)

1926—age 21 Flesh and the Devil (with John Gilbert)

1929—age 24 The Kiss

1932—age 27 As You Desire Me

1936—age 31 (color—not colorized—photo by Sinclair Bull)

1941—age 36 Two-Faced Woman

1946—age 41 (by Cecil Beaton)

1951—age 46 (by George Hoyningen-Huene)

1965—age 60 (by Cecil Beaton)

1990—age 85


mister muleboy said...

What a beautiful woman.

The 46-yr-old Garbo rawks my world like nobody's bidness.

And by bidness I mean industry. . . .

roger said...

She had an unlikely affair with Cecil Beaton who adored her. There's a great fabric design featuring a drawing he did of her eyes at that's worth checking out. I'd love a chair in it

Mythical Monkey said...

She had an unlikely affair with Cecil Beaton who adored her.

I had been wondering why there are so many candid snapshots by Cecil Beaton floating around out there. Thanks for the info!

nakis said...

I love her beauty in all ages she was timeless and it is a diversified beauty. Sometimes youthful, at other times mature, feminine, androgynous, sensual, innocent, fascinating. During her silents she had a more open sensuality and youthful beauty in films like "Flesh and the Devil", "The mysterious Lady", "Woman of Affairs", "The single standard" or "The kiss". During her talkies her beauty, especially her face acquired something more spiritual. We see this at the final scene of "Mata Hari", the last shot of "Queen Christina", and in "Anna Karenina" and "Camille". In the forties judging from her pictures taken by Beaton and especially the screen tests she did in 1949 for "La Duchesse de Langeais" her beauty remains incomparable but now it is a more mature and I would say more free beauty. Always fascinating.

David said...

wow, I always wondered what she looked like at 80. She still looks amazing! Garbo forever!

Ragemanchoo said...

There's a really famous photo of her, taken when she was swimming, the lower third of his head is still submerged and she's looking at the photographer giving them an icy stare. I think circa 1975? I'm not sure who the photographer is...Annie Lebowitz?

Ragemanchoo said...

Btw, ever seen this one? Same amber sunglasses as the final photo, probably taken in the same week or so.