Greta Garbo

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sven Gustafson screenwriter, Europa 1942-1948

Fan magazines continued to supply short biographies of Greta Garbo well into the 1940's, retelling how she was discovered and repeating stories with which the public was already familiar, it continually meeting John Gilbert and Mauritz Stiller as well as Lars Hanson. Modern Screen magazine, most certainly a periodical from only the sound film era, excerpted The True Life Story of Greta Garbo by William Stewart. "The second disaster to occur during the filming of 'The Temptress' was the death of Greta's sister. It was the crowning heartbreak of a picture that had been ill fated for Greta since the starting crank of the camera." Alva Maria Gustafsson, Alva Garbo, died in 1926 at the age of twenty six years old. While Alva, apart from appearing as an extra with sister Greta for the Swedish Silent film director John Brunius, only made one screen appearance, that of a part in the film "Two Kings" ("Tva Kongungar", Elis Ellis,1925), the brother of actress Alva Gustafson and actress Greta Garbo, Sven Gustafson, infrequently billed as Sven Garbo, although the elder of the three siblings, went on to become a screenwriter after his brief foray into acting. It would usually seem reasonable to say that both Greta Garbo and brother Sven retired during the same period in light of Sven Gustafson having later visited the United States before his death if it were not for Greta Garbo having at that time having completely become a recluse to the public, only contemplating a return to making films.
     The wife of Sven Gustafson, Emy Owandner, made only one screen appearance, that of a role in the film "Sun Over Klara" ("Sol over Klara"), directed by Emil A. Lingheim and written by Erik Lundegard, which lists her role as uncredited. The Swedish Film Institute, rather lists her as appearing in two earlier comedies for Europa, one in which she appeared with Sven Gustafson.
     Swedish director Gustaf Edgren co-wrote the screenplay to the 1929 film "Kongstjorda Svensson" in which Sven Garbo appeared with actresses Brita Appelgren and Karen Gillberg. The film was photographed by Hugo Edlund.
     Edvin Adolphson had directed "When Roses Bloom" ("Na rosorna sla ut"), starring Sven Garbo during 1930. The film was scripted by Gosta Stevens and also stars Karin Swanstrom, Margita Alven, and Anna-Lisa Baude. Else Marie Hansen was given her first appearance on screen in with the film. Greta Garbo visited her brother, Sven Gustafson, while in Stockholm. The Private Life of Greta Garbo, published in Photoplay Magazine during 1930 is, much like the biography of Greta Garbo penned by Norman Zierold, an enjoyable, if not charming read; it includes a brief mention of Sven Garbo, "At one time Miss Garbo's brother, Sven, who has been quite successful abroad both on stage and screen, wanted to come to Hollywood. He even sent screen tests of himself to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer." Rilla Page PalMborg again mentioned that Sven Garbo had sent screen tests of himself to M.G.M the following year when publishing the biography The Private Life of Greta Garbo in book form during 1931. While giving an account of Garbo's activities while filming the silent film "The Kiss" it relies heavily on quotes of her housekeeper-valet Gustaf, according to whom she kept a large portrait of her brother in her living room, arranged upright on a table. "Garbo was all upset the day she received a letter from her brother saying that the motion picture company for whom he was working wanted to change his name to Garbo. She said that she made the name of Garbo herself, that it was her name and there should be no one else using it. She called her brother not to allow the motion picture company to use it....but he answered that it was too late."
     To complement whispers that Sven Gustafson would have like to film in America, when in actuality it was Greta Garbo that travelled between the two countries, Screenland Magazine related,"Everyone says there is only one Garbo in pictures, but the Swedish cyclone's brother Sven has been signed to Paramount for talkies. Sven Garbo is tall and handsome and reported to be a good bet for pictures." Yet, without dispelling this, Photoplay Magazine during 1931 translated the title of Edvin Adolphson's film "Na Rosarna Sla Ut" as "Hole in the Wall" and listed it as being produced by Paramount. Photoplay later added,"Sven Gustafsson, brother of Gret Garbo, makes his American debut in it. He's a tall, limp, black-haired boy with a moustache and doesn't beT the faintest resemblance to his famous sister. And he's a punk actor, if this is a sample. The picture tells a light, chatty love story. There's one good actor in the troupe- an ugly gentleman named Uno Henning." Inches above a synopsis of the Greta Garbo film "Inspiration", Photoplay magazine again looked at the film in brief, "Swedish talkie brings us Sven Gustaffson, Garbo's brother, but nothing like his famous sister. Light and chatty love story."

Photoplay magazine during 1934, in an article entitled "Greta Garbo Wanted to be a Tightrope Walker, by Leonard Clairmont, mentioned Sven Garbo as being Greta Garbo's agent in Sweden for the pruchase of an estate called Dyvik which afforded a two mile long beach.

Sven Garbo

Gustaf Molander

Silent Film Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo and Mauritz Stiller

Silent Film Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Greta Garbo before Hollywood- Lars Hanson

The 1927 article "Swedish Hospitality featured in Motion Picture Magazine gave an account of journalist Rilla Page Palmborg, author of "The Private Life of Greta Garbo", being entertained by actor Lars Hanson and his wife, Swedish actress Karin Molander. It began, " 'And now we shall see if you like real Swedish cooking,' said Lars Hanson as he escorted us across the velvety green lawn of his walled garden, where for the past hour we had sat enthralled by the tales he and his charming wife had told us of their native land...This was a Sunday supper to which we had been invited. 'My wife prepared everything when I her that I had promised you real Swedish cooking.' Said Mr. Hanson as we took our places at a long refectory table in a long, rather narrow and dignified dining-room."

Picture Play magazine during 1927 featured stills from the eight reel film "Captain Salvation", starring Lars Hanson. They were captioned with, "Lars Hanson has another intensely dramatic role in 'Captain Salvation', that of a young New Englander whose heart is in the sea, but who is forced his uncle to go onto the ministry...Marceleine Day as the girl who waits for him at home." Motion Picture News Booking Guide during 1927 provided a brief synopsis of the film, "Theme: Melodrama of the sea. Adaptation of the novel by Fredrick William Wallace, Divinity Student forsakes the pulpit for the sea, forgets his faith and becomes aide of a much feared skipper. His regeneration is brought about through an unfortunate girl he befriends. After her death he is reunited with his sweetheart." The cameraman to the film is listed as William Daniels and the scenarist as Jack Dunningham. Photoplay Magazine reviewed the eight reel silent film as "a well knit drama of how the first gospel ship came into being. Pauline Starke is Excellant as the waterfront derelict." In a photo caption to a full page portrait of Pauline Starke, Picture Play magazine introduced her upcoming film, "If you saw 'Captain Salvation' you have no doubt of Pauline Starke's dramatic gifts. If you did not, you will find proof of them in 'Fallen Angles'".
     Child actor Jackie Coogan was employed in the title role of the seven reel film "Buttons" (1927, George W. Hill), in which he starred with Lars Hanson, Gertrude Olmstead and Polly Moran. Photoplay provided a brief synopsis of the film during its review, "the ship strikes an iceberg and then founders, with little Jackie standing by on the bridge with the captain to the last. Both are saved, however."
With the advent of sound, Picture Play magazine in 1929 featured an article titled "Have foreigners a Chance Now?", written by Myrtle Gebhart, evaluating the inconstant position of foreign stars in the firmament "defeated by the microphone", including British actors that had already returned to England. The author turned to Sweden, "Greta Garbo's first out loud. 'Anna Christie' is fogged with her native accent...Enchanting Greta Nissen is routined with an obscure stock company to acquire English dexterity...Lars Hanson and Mona Martenson, better known abroad than Garbo did not click. That was prior to the accent age."
     On his return to Sweden, Photoplay Magazine recorded,"Contentment meant more to Lars than money. He writes that he is happier than he has ever been in the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm."  Katherine Albert of Photoplay in 1932 seemed to feel she had the definitive account of Lars Hanson having had been excluded from sound film, although Hanson had returned to Sweden and would not much later costar with Victor Sjostrom who had relinquished directing upon his return to Sweden to continue only as an actor, the film having been shot by director Gustav Edren. She wrote, "And there was a Swedish Girl who had just been brought over with a great director. None of us could see why they had been given a contract. She was too tall, too gawky and had none of the requirements of a great actress. She just wandered about the lot and nobody paid her any attention. her name was Greta Garbo. No, we were concerned with the artists Lillian Gish and that marvelous actor Lars Hanson. And now who knows anything about Lars Hanson and where is Lillian Gish? While...well, if we had had sense enough to see what the girl had we wouldn't have been working in the publicity department."

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo Love

Greta Garbo

Scott Lord Silent Film: Hotel Imperial (Mauritz Stiller, 1927)

Pola Negri during 1929 had starred in "The Secret Hour" (eight reels) directed by Roland V. Lee. The film is presumed to be lost with no surviving copies. Mauritz Stiller

Scandinavian Silent Film

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Forbidden City (Sidney Franklin, 1918)

In 1918, the first feature films directed by Sidney Franklin appeared in theaters, among them those that were to star actress Norma Talmadge, "The Safety Curtain" (five reels), "Her Only Way" (six reels) and "The Forbidden City" (five reels). Previsously Franklin had directed childrens film for the Triangle Film Corporation at the behest of D.W. Griffith. "Her Only Way", made for the Norma Talmadge Film Corporation is presumed to be a lost film, with no surviving copies. Silent Film Silent Film