Books by Raymond Daum

Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Superb collection of Garbo photos along with a running monologue by Garbo—taken down by Daum (curator of the Gloria Swanson Archives at the Univ. of Texas, Austin)—and with a text by Muse (a Life magazine editor) that covers her history. Muse's is by far the livelier of the two alternating texts, for Garbo couldn't talk her way out of a hatbox. Though a certain charm does shine through, she is completely vacuous and focused on her sensations. That's disappointing, but it doesn't matter—or shrink her glorious image on page after page or her accomplishments in film after film. What matters for Garbo lovers is that this is a marvelous sheaf of Garbolatry, eyes that smolder with nymphal adolescence (photographed by Arnold Benthe), eyes that suggest the great romance of your life. And then Garbo speaks: ``There are clothes in my closet that are fifty years old. I wear the same old things. Some days around here, you've never seen anything like it- -I'm in my long underwear. I go in and out of the kitchen and say to my girl, `In case you're wondering, just pretend that I've joined the circus.' '' Or, ``I was thinking maybe I should get a new color scheme in here—I mean for the telephones. I only have black telephones. That'll keep me awake at night, trying to decide the color scheme. I do so little telephoning it really doesn't matter. Sometimes I don't call anyone for weeks...I don't answer the phone.'' The historical text is delightful, a delicious review of the public Garbo, but hasn't one new fact. What does come through is a sensuality from Garbo's early years as a vamp that gives a hectic undertone to her later coolness. No pix of the goddess's last years—just pure beauty. A nice way to go. (Seventy-five b&w photographs.) Read full book review >