Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo - legend, icon, recluse.

Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo – legend, icon, recluse.

Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer – Scenes from Conquest – 1937 – MGM Radio Series – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Greta Garbo was one of the truly legendary stars during the early days of Hollywood. Beginning during the Silent era, Garbo was a household name throughout the early decades of the 20th century.

Famously reclusive, who shunned publicity, refused interviews, and seldom appeared on radio, Garbo’s rare appearances at the time were confined to promoting the films she was starring in.

In 1936, after much hesitation and initial refusal, Garbo agreed to appear on radio for the first time to promote her then-current film Camille which co-starred Robert Taylor in which she did scenes from the film which had been adapted for Radio. The subsequent appearance was a huge hit. So much so, that the following year, when she completed filming the love story Conquest, which co-starred Charles Boyer, she was asked again to perform specially adapted scenes from the film to the radio audience.

This weekend it’s her appearance to promote her then-latest film Conquest, co-starring Charles Boyer, which was released in October of 1937.

Since MGM had its own radio show, promoting its own films, it wasn’t much of a stretch to convince even the reclusive Greta Garbo that the promotion would do her film a lot of good. And so what you get to hear is the radio version of the film; not a soundtrack recording, but an actual dramatic reading apart from the movie.

Ironically, Conquest would be one of the last movies Greta Garbo would make before leaving Hollywood. After this film she made Ninotchka, which is considered a classic and her very last film Two-Faced Woman, made in 1941.

Although the sound isn’t as good as one would like, and the original discs are in very bad shape, this is a very rare radio appearance featuring one of the most iconic stars of Hollywood of the 1930s.

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