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(USA 1984)



Gabo Talks is a 1984 film directed by Sidney Lumet. The movie stars Anne Bancroft as a terminally ill woman who asks her son, Gilbert, to help her fulfill her last wish: to meet Greta Garbo. As her son, played by Ron Silver, carries out his search for Garbo, he confronts his relationship with his wife and an interest in a struggling actress.

The movie was written by Larry Grusin and stars Bancroft, Silver, Carrie Fisher, Catherine Hicks and Steven Hill. Bancroft was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the film. Supporting roles include: Howard Da Silva and Dorothy Loudon, a down-on-his-luck paparazzo and his agent, Harvey Fierstein, a gay man that Gilbert meets on the Fire Island ferry, and Hermione Gingold, a nearly-senile actress who once worked with the elusive Garbo.

Rumor was that Garbo played herself in this film but actually it is b roadway songwriter Betty Comden.



Die Göttliche (GERMANY)






Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)



Directed by Sidney Lumet
Produced by Burtt Harris and Elliott Kastner
Screenplay by Larry Grusin



103 Minutes



Anne Bancroft - Estelle Rolfe
Ron Silver - Gilbert Rolfe
Carrie Fisher - Lisa Rolfe
Catherine Hicks - Jane Mortimer
Betty Comden – Greta Garbo





Estelle (Anne Bancroft) is a one-person protest army: she goes to jail over grocery prices, shames construction workers for catcalls to passing women, and won't cross a picket line for her son's wedding. She also loves Garbo films: when she learns she has a brain tumor and six months to live, she decides she must meet Garbo.

Her dutiful son Gilbert (Ron Silver), a Manhattan accountant named for Garbo's co-star, hires a paparazzo to show him Garbo's flat, stakes it out, gets a job delivering food there, seeks her on Fire Island, and tracks her to a Sixth Avenue flea market. As his obsession distances him from his wife, he's drawn to a struggling actress he meets at work. Can he find Garbo; if so, will she talk?






 Bancroft was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the film.

 The producers tried to get Garbo, to play herself in a short sequence of the film.

 Garbo's low, husky voice and Swedish accent was first heard on screen in Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie (1930), which was publicized with the slogan "Garbo Talks".



One of Garbo's closest friends, the art dealer Sam Green, said “I know she didn't see the movie, because I was the one who sent her a telegram saying, ‘There's a film called ‘Garbo Talks' in New York, and they'll be making a fuss. Don't come back until the run is over in two weeks.' And she didn't.”

But a few years later, Garbo told composer David Diamond she saw the movie on TV and liked it: “She loved Harvey Fierstein in it – but she wouldn't go to see him in ‘Torch Song Trilogy', “ Diamond recalled.



The movie was written by Larry Grusin and stars Anne Bancroft, Ron Silver, Carrie Fisher, Catherine Hicks and Steven Hill. Howard Da Silva, Dorothy Loudon, Harvey Fierstein and Hermione Gingold have supporting roles as, respecively, a down-on-his-luck paparazzo and his agent, a gay man that Gilbert meets on the Fire Island ferry, and a nearly-senile actress who once worked with the elusive Garbo.

Broadway songwriter Betty Comden plays Garbo, and her writing partner Adolph Green has a cameo. Comden was hired to play Garbo at the end of the film because the producers were sure that the real Garbo either could not be located or would flatly turn them down. They did try however, a known associate of Greta Garbo was located he was asked to ask the great actress if she would appear in the film but the associate never responded back. That is Comden we see in the film.



Betty Comden  (1919-2006) was an American Actress and songwriter (New York, New York) she played Greta in Garbo Talks! and did some Garbo look-a-like Pictures in the late 1960s.

Betty Comden



By Variety Stuff

Garbo Talks is a sweet and sour film clearly not for all tastes. Packed with New York in-jokes, not everyone will appreciate its aggressive charm. But beneath its cocky exterior, picture has a beat on some very human and universal truths. Estelle Rolfe (Anne Bancroft) is a certifiable eccentric who has worshipped Garbo from afar since childhood, until the star has become woven into the fabric of her imagination. Her identification with Garbo has become a way for her to glamorize her day-to-day life.

Estelle is no ordinary housewife. Divorced from her husband (Steven Hill), she is continually arrested for defending any and all causes and fighting the everyday indignities of life in NY. If not for Bancroft's spirited performance, Estelle would deteriorate into a caricature. .



Michael Sporn did the animatione piece in the title sequence for Garbo Talks.






Available on VHS and DVD.


IMDB – International Movie Database




A Man's Man
Garbo related Films & More
Garbo related Films and Documentaries - Introduction  


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