- Seeing Greta Garbo kiss and flirt with a woman - priceless!
Starring – Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith, Elizabeth Young, Lewis Stone, C. Aubrey Smith
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Queen Christina (or also known as Queen Kristina…you say potato and I say Christina) was the Queen of Sweden way, way, WAY back in time from 1632-1654 when she decided to fuck that shit and abdicated the throne so she could go off to Rome and become a Catholic and live her days philosophizing and perhaps dating any damn woman she pleased.
But in 1933 having Christina (or Kristina) getting it on in a movie with a lady was a little tough to pull off thanks to the movies having a censor board back then that said no, no, NO to obscene behavior (aka homosexuality). So in the film Queen Christina, Greta Garbo (who really was Swedish and plays Christina at her royal and bisexual best) only gets to mostly flirt and sneak in a couple of “platonic” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) kisses with her beloved lady-in-waiting, Ebba (Elizabeth Young). The rest of the movie, she is all about being in love with some Spanish dude (John Gilbert). Blah! Whatever!
Christina was famous for wearing men’s clothing and Greta Garbo is at her sexiest when she puts on the masculine garb, which she wears in practically every scene in the film to PER-FEC-TION! Hot tamales, is it hot in here or is that Greta Garbo dressing like a man and kissing a woman?!
So back to the point at hand (which I completely lost and keep losing because all my brain can think about is Greta Garbo dressing as a man and kissing a woman), Queen Christina is a fictionalized version of Queen Christina of Sweden’s life, a woman who was raised as a man because she was the sole heir to her father’s throne, which she inherited as a child when he died in battle, and later got outright at eighteen. She really did walk around in men’s clothes and most likely did have a hot, torrid love affair with her lady-in-waiting, Countess Ebba Sparre, who was later referred by the Queen herself as her “bed companion.” Can I get that title too? Anyway in this film version of Queen Christina’s life, she is restricted by 1933 times and so she only flirts and briefly kisses Ebba, but in a way where any member of a 1933 audience can just delusionally say to themselves, “Well that’s what women friends do, just being friendly and all, certainly NOT lovers.”
At the same time Christina has a girlfriend, she also has a boyfriend in the movie, so I guess the censors were either snoozing a bit that day or the rules hadn’t quite kicked in with such force yet. Anyway, Christina dumps her boyfriend and girlfriend and all in the same day and then takes off on a horse riding trip, but because she dresses like a man, she is mistaken as one (because Garbo sooooooo looks like a man in men’s clothes?) by an envoy from Spain, the very feminine John Gilbert. They have to spend the night at an inn thanks to a very convenient snowstorm and even share a room together that conveniently only has one bed and suddenly the movie turns even more gay because he totally has the hots for Christina, but he still thinks she’s a guy until she takes off her jacket and then WHEW it is revealed that this man has boobies because this man is really a lady and they fall in L-O-V-E, LERVE. Did this scenario possibly inspire the plot for Victor/Victoria, maybe?
But what should Christina do…
Stay queen of her country?
Run off with a kind of gay John Gilbert?
What to do…
What to do…
Mel Brooks said that it was good to be the king, but maybe it’s not so good to be the queen?
All teasing aside, Queen Christina is an excellent movie that will have you completely entranced with Garbo and wondering until the very end what will exactly happen with Christina. It is even historically accurate a bit with the scene where everyone refuses to take Christina’s crown when she abdicates. This really happened and Christina herself, as does Garbo in all of her dramatic glory in the film, took off her own crown.
They don’t make movies like they used to, but a viewing of Queen Christina is a great trip down history lane to live the glory that classic movies and Greta Garbo in them were.
Fun Fact: In 2015 another movie about Queen Christina, The Girl King, was released, but this time she is out of the closet and openly having an affair with Ebba Sparre. Hot damn!