Greta Garbo: English & Polish Editions

 

Greta Garbo: Divine Star

Comparatively little has been published about Greta Garbo's childhood, youth and early adulthood, for which David Bret has returned to the original sources: the death of her father, setting in motion her lifelong neurasthenia; her early Sapphic love affairs; the under-age affairs with married men; her previously undisclosed "wild" years when she augmented the decadence of Weimar Berlin.

Similarly, legend has obscured what really happened during her early years in Hollywood: a previously never before disclosed affair with a fellow Swede which almost certainly resulted in a pregnancy hidden from the world--a whole chapter here is dedicated to Garbo's "missing months", and how the episode was orchestrated. This led to a period of near-suicidal depression from which she emerged to embark on any number of affairs, platonic or otherwise, with celebrities of both sexes, while making some of the finest films of all time. Several of these lovers died young: one took her own life.

Garbo's War. Virulently anti-Nazi, on account of her paranoia for privacy and for not talking about herself, Garbo was hired by Codename Intrepid to work for British Intelligence. Her duties included keeping tabs on several important suspected Nazi supporters, including the Duke of Windsor and a leading Swedish industrialist. She also made a secret visit to Britain, investigated the Swedish royal family, embarked on a top-secret espionage trip to Mexico after Pearl Harbour, and secretly nurtured a plot to kill Hitler. Finally, she hatched and financed a successful mission which rescued 8,000 Danish Jews from Nazi Germany.

Garbo left the movies in 1942, it has always been believed because of the failure of her last film, Two-Faced Woman. The film, as exclusively revealed here, was in fact sabotaged by Francis Spellman, the Archbishop of New York and self-appointed protector of the nation's morals. Aware that he was a promiscuous homosexual, Garbo could have exacted her revenge by "outing" him, but instead chose to devote herself to her war work, and return to Hollywood once the conflict was over. Sadly, she never did, and for almost another half century, in her own words she 'just drifted'.

In the male-oriented studio system, Greta Garbo wielded a power no other actress has ever possessed, before or since. Be it producer, director, lover or journalist, Garbo called the shots, and when she decided that she was done with the whirlwind of life as Hollywood's darling she withdrew completely, leaving her public begging for an encore that never came. Though there have been numerous biographies of Garbo, this is the first to investigate fully the two so-called missing periods in the life of this most enigmatic of Hollywood stars: the first during the late 1920s, forcing MGM to employ a lookalike to conceal what was almost certainly a pregnancy; the second during World War II when Garbo was employed by British Intelligence to track down Nazi sympathisers. It also analyses in detail the original, uncensored copies of Garbo's films - with the exception of The Divine Woman, of which no complete print survives - and offers substantial evidence that John Gilbert was not, in fact, the great love of her life. Rather her true affections lay with the gay, Sapphic and Scandinavian members of her very intimate inner circle. Using previously unsourced material, along with anecdotes from friends and colleagues that have never before been published, David Bret paints a rounded portrait of Garbo's childhood in Sweden, her rise to stardom and her all-too-brief reign as queen of MGM. Hers is a truly remarkable story, recounted here with warmth, intensity and unique insight.

Garbo contains a wealth of previously unpublished material, extensive source notes, a bibliography and a filmography.

Polish Edition 

Wybitna biografia największej aktorki wszech czasów.  Greta Garbo była wielką zagadką. Zjawiła się znikąd i zawojowała Hollywood. Przetrwała przejście od filmów niemych do udźwiękowionych, osiągając niespotykane sukcesy - cały świat obserwował jej fenomen z podziwem i zdumieniem. Boska Greta to artystka niepowtarzalna - żadnej aktorce nie udało się osiągnąć podobnych sukcesów i sławy i zapewne żadnej się to już nie uda. Z jej gry przeziera taka głębia emocji, że publiczność widzi na wskroś jej duszę. Dla wielbicieli wielkiej aktorki Greta Garbo nie umarła - w 1941 roku zniknęła, skryła się w obłoku tajemnicy. W swojej najnowszej, elektryzującej biografii mistrz pióra David Bret mierzy się z wielką zagadką najsłynniejszej aktorki w dziejach kina i jej legendą. David Bret - autor wielu biografii, skupiający się głownie na życiu prywatnym gwiazd. Wśród ponad dwudziestu książek Davida Breta znalazły się publikacje poświęcone takim postaciom jak Maria Callas, Joan Crawford, Edith Piaf, Barbra Streisand, Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley czy Rudolf Valentino. Autor wydanej w Polsce bestsellerowej biografii `Elizabeth Taylor. Dama, kochanka, legenda`.

 

With Lars Hanson