The Torrent (1926) ‘Garbo’s beauty..’


Torrent (1926)


Ricardo Cortez, Greta Garbo, Gertrude Olmstead, Edward Connelly, Lucien Littlefield, Martha Mattox  / Set Design  Cedric Gibbons & Merrill Pye  /  Cinematography  William H. Daniels  /  Editor  Frank Sullivan  /  Produced by Monta Bell & Irving Thalberg  /  Directed by  Monta Bell  

Torrent (1926) - On-set Shoot   Garbo - On-set (Mirror)

‘Garbo’s beauty is not just a harmony of lines, it is not merely ornamental. Her beauty contains a physiognomy expressing a very definite state of mind. Like the face of all other actors, Greta Garbo’s face changes during a scene. She, too, laughs and is sad, is surprised or angry, as prescribed by her part. Her face, too, may be once that of a queen and once that of a bedraggled drab, according to what character she has to play. But behind this variety of facial expression we can always see that unchanged Garbo face, the fixed unchanged expression of which has conquered the world. It is not mere beauty, but a beauty of peculiar significance, a beauty expressing one particular thing, that has captured the heart of half mankind. And what is this thing? Greta Garbo is sad. Not only in certain situations, for certain reasons. Greta Garbo’s beauty is a beauty of suffering; she suffers life and all the surrounding world. And this sadness, this sorrow is a very definite one : the sadness of loneliness, of an estrannt which feels no common tie with other human beings. The sadness of the inner nobility of a reticent purity, of the shrinking of a sensitive plant from a rude touch is in this beauty, even when she plays a down-and-out tart. Her brooding glance comes from afar even then and looks into the endless distance. Even then she is an exile in a distant land and does not know how she ever came to be where she is. But why should this strange sort of beauty affect millions more deeply than some bright and sparkling pin-up girl? What is the meaning of the Garbo expression?  ..’ 

Torrent (1926) - Portrait 1    Torrent (1926) - Portrait 2


‘We feel and see Greta Garbo’s beauty as finer and nobler, precisely because it bears the stamp of sorrow and loneliness. For however harmonious may be the lines of a face, if it is contentedly smiling, if it is bright and happy, if it can be bright and happy in this world of ours, then it must of neces sity belong to an inferior human being. Even the usually insen sitive person can understand that a sad and suffering beauty, gestures expressing horror at the touch of an unclean world, indicate a higher order of human being, a purer and nobler soul than smiles and mirth. Greta Garbo’s beauty is a beauty
which is in opposition to the world of to-day. Millions see in her face a protest against this world, millions who may perhaps not even be conscious as yet of their wn suffering protest; but they admire Garbo for it and find her beauty the most beautiful of all.’ 

‘THEORY OF FILM : Character and Growth of a New Art’  by Bela Balazs (1952)


  Torrent (1926) - On-set Shoot 1   Torrent (1926) - On-set 2   Torrent (1926) - On-set Shoot 2



“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals
a toughness that is almost frightening.” (GRETA GARBO)



Frostbiten (2006)



Petra Nielson, Emma Åberg, Grete Havnesköld, Jonas Karlström, Måns Nathanaelson, Carl-Åke Eriksson, Mikael Göransson, Anna Lindholm, Björn Andersson & Sara Arnia / Screenplay Daniel Ojanlatva / Make-up Effects  Martina Nilsson /  Soundtrack Anthony Lledo / Cinematography Chris Maris / Producer Natasha Banke  / Director Anders Banke

Frostbiten is a rather cool little Vampire film from Sweden that manages to strut the fine line between comedy and genuine horror with wit & style. It’s surprising that such a film hasn’t been made before now, given the Pop culture of Sweden and the handy connection between Vampires and a land of winter darkness. Sweden hasn’t been too well known for it’s cinema in recent years, but things are looking up for Scandinavia, despite the loss of cinematic master Ingmar Bergman. Horror seems an ideal choice and quite a refreshing move into the global arena. The awful ‘Boy eats Girl’ (Irish) tried something similar a while back, before the huge success of ‘Shawn of the Dead’ (British) awoke Hollywood to the potential of low budget horror comedy from foreign waters. Frostbiten though, owes far more to the likes of Polanski’s haunting ‘Fearless Vampire Hunters’ (Dance of the Dead), Carpenter’s snowbound ‘The Thing’ and Joel Schumacher ‘The Lost Boys’. It’s not a perfect film, but it has the simplistic feel of an 80’s low budget horror, given substance by a disconcerting landscape and quirky sense of humour.

The characters are fairly two dimensional on the whole, but Emma Åberg stands out as real star material and super cool with it, her Vampiric transformation teasingly held back till the last act. I really hope that there isn’t a dubbed version out there, seeing as how the Swedish language is so expressive and gives the youthful cast such cool swagger. I won’t give too much of the story away..the plot unfolds so nicely that I’d feel guilty giving too much away. Listen out for a great set of musical interludes by newcomer Anthony Lledo. Did I mention how beautiful Emma Åberg is? Well, I’ll say it again..