Queen Christina

  • Directors: Rouben Mamoulian
  • Producers: Walter Wanger
  • Writers: Story, Margaret P Levino, Salka Viertel, Screnplay, S N Behrman, H M Harwood
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, Romance, War
  • Actors: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert

Queen Christina of Sweden (Greta Garbo) is very devoted to her country and the welfare of her people, and she has long since abandoned all thoughts of pursuing any kind of a romance. Yet, one day in an effort to escape the restrictions of her royal life, she rides away, disguised as a man, and is snowbound at an inn. There she meets and falls in love with Spanish envoy Antonio (John Gilbert). After a few idyllic nights together, Christina and Antonio are compelled to part, but the Queen vows that they will meet again – which they do, when the Spaniard presents his embassy to the Queen.

As Queen, Christina favours peace for Sweden. At one point in the film she argues an end to the Thirty Years’ War, saying:

Spoils, glory, flags and trumpets! What is behind these high-sounding words? Death and destruction, triumphals of crippled men, Sweden victorious in a ravaged Europe, an island in a dead sea. I tell you, I want no more of it. I want for my people security and happiness. I want to cultivate the arts of peace, the arts of life. I want peace and peace I will have!

When Count Magnus (Ian Keith), who wants the Queen’s affections for his own, riles up the Swedish people against the Spaniard, Christina abdicates the throne. She leaves Sweden to be with Don Antonio, but he is wounded by Magnus in a duel, and dies in her arms. In arguably the most famous shot of the film, Christina stands as a silent figurehead at the bow of a ship. With the wind blowing through her hair, the camera moves in to a tight close-up on her face.

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