In January 1939, director George Cukor had begun work on the eagerly awaited Gone With the Wind. Garbo was a guest at one of his grand Sunday lunches, along with Vivien Leigh, who had been chosen to play Scarlett in the film, and her lover, Laurence Olivier, who was in town making Wuthering Heights. It was an uncomfortable meeting: Olivier had not been in Hollywood since 1933, when Garbo had had him fired from Queen Christina. But the two stars put on a show.
Together, Garbo and Olivier embarked upon a long promenade through Cukor's exquisite gardens. The assembled party watched their elegant polonaise, up one long flight of stone steps, along an esplanade, down another flight, pausing occa onally. They were intense, gesticulating, their expressions ranging through joy, astonishment, and rapt discovery–as beautiful as two amorous angels conversing. Vivien Leigh fumed jealously below.
Why was Larry “sucking up” to Garbo? she asked Garson Kanin. She'd had him sacked! As the two angels approached, the seething Scarlett gave a ravishing smile of welcome and cried, “Ah, there you are! Let's go home!” On the way home in the car, a fierce battle erupted between the English lovers. Both were still married–Vivien to Dr. Leigh Holman and Larry to actress Jill Esmond–but that made Vivien even more jealous.
Calling Larry a “moonstruck ninny,” she insisted that he report every detail of the voluptuous tête-à-tête she had just witnessed. Finally he did. He played both himself and Garbo, the latter with such accuracy that Kanin, driving, kept swiveling around to make sure Garbo hadn't joined them:
“This is a nice garden.” “Yes, it is a nice garden.” “We have gardens in Sweden.” “Yes, you must have.” “Do you have nice gardens in England?” “Yes, we have many nice gardens in England.” “In some of our Swedish gardens, we grow fruit. Apples.” “We have apples in England, too.” “And strawberries?” “Yes, very good strawberries.” “Do you have oranges?” “No. No oranges. But we have peaches.” “We have peaches in Sweden.” “Oh, I'm so glad!”
The catalog burbled inanely through nectarines, cabbages, gooseberries, artichokes, asparagus, Cranshaw melons, watermelons, and cantaloupes. The two beauties had agreed again that this was a very nice garden indeed when they arrived back at base. Vivien flatly refused to believe Larry's account. A show flirtation was not in her repertoire.
Source: Garbo book