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Directed by Rouben Mamoulian

United States 1933 97 mins. In English

Queen Christina was a massive commercial hit for MGM both at home and abroad—this time perhaps due to Greta Garbo’s absence from the silver screen for an eternal 18 months. Garbo plays the 17th-century Swedish queen of the film’s title, bound to rule and wholly committed to her country’s prosperity. Lacking in love (and thus an heir to the throne), Christina is pressured from all corners to marry. When she meets dashing Spanish sailor Antonio (John Gilbert) at a cozy inn one evening, a romance blossoms and Christina, giddy in love, must choose between her country and her own happiness. This is to say nothing of her routine cross-dressing and forays into illicit sexual relationships, in true pre-Code fashion. “Queen Christina is smart, sophisticated, brazenly funny, and altogether uncategorizable. The production design is beautiful, the screenplay is witty and fun…If you want a great example of what cinema is, you can’t do much better than this.”—