Queen Christina

Queen Christina

DVD - 2005
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Portrayal of the 17th century Queen of Sweden who relinquishes her throne for her lover, the ambassador from Spain.
Publisher: [United States] : Turner Entertainment Co. ; Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, 2005
Edition: Standard version
ISBN: 9781419807558
Branch Call Number: DVD QUE
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (99 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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Jan 03, 2015

Rouben Mamoulian’s mostly fabricated historical weeper centres on the politically problematic romance between Sweden’s Queen Christina (1626 - 1689) and Spanish envoy Don Antonio. Orphaned when her father King Gustav fell on the battlefield, Christina ascended to the throne at the tender age of six where she proved to be an apt pupil in everything from philosophy to statecraft. Sick of Sweden’s constant wars with its European neighbours the adult Christina invited key foreign dignitaries to Stockholm in an effort to hammer out a series of peace treaties. One such dignitary, Spaniard Don Antonio (a Catholic), bypassed Christina’s court and landed squarely in her bed—a liaison which didn’t sit well with her Protestant subjects. Thus torn between her duties of state and her love for Antonio Christina was forced into making a decision that would change her life forever. With a supporting cast of angry peasants and scheming nobles to offer some historical context the luminous Greta Garbo (looking nothing like the actual queen who was in fact a pockmarked hunchback) vogues for all she’s worth while leading man John Gilbert struggles, and fails, to keep up. There are allusions to Christina’s fierce intelligence and beneficent support of the arts, Garbo’s final throne room scenes certainly carry an air of dignity, but so much emphasis is placed on soft focus close-ups and straining hormones (the Hays Office must have had a field day with all that implied sex) that any relation to historical fact seems almost incidental. But the cinematography is wonderful with sunbeams slanting across regal chambers and snowy ramparts alike, and a shockingly erotic interlude involving firelight and grapes. In short, it’s one hell of a story if only it was true.

Jul 02, 2014

Creative direction and nice performances from the leads elevate this above your typical ”costume melodrama”. The only thing that doesn’t work for me is how in the hell Gilbert’s character thought Garbo was a man for so long at that hotel!


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