Conversations and Recollections
Email this review


 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.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-016492-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991