Queen Christina (1933) 97 min | Mechanics' Institute

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Queen Christina (1933) 97 min
February 2020 – Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in Hollywood

Hosted by CinemaLit curator Matthew Kennedy

Special guest: Donna Rifkind, author of The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood

Directed by Rouben Mamoulian with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

In director Rouben Mamoulian’s pre-code masterpiece, Greta Garbo delivers one of her most memorable performances as a monarch torn between her heart and the duties of government. In this lavish and fanciful version of the enigmatic Swedish queen’s life, Queen Christina, while traveling disguised as a man, encounters a dashing Spanish envoy (John Gilbert) and falls in love. The script’s frank depiction of sexuality earned it several references in the classic documentary about homosexuality in movies, The Celluloid Closet.

Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s new curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. 

“I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

The films Matthew will introduce this winter include Scarface: The Shame of the Nation for January’s film theme Speakeasy: Prohibition at 100Queen Christina opens February, with special guest Donna Rifkind, author of The Sun and her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood. March will be dedicated to pre-code Barbara Stanwyck films.

“Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”

Please join us in welcoming Matthew as he engages members and the public through our ongoing series of Friday night film screenings.

CinemaLit Films

Admission: 
Members Free
Public $10 (suggested donation)
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Location: 
4th Floor Meeting Room
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Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
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