Queen Christina

Patricia White is associate professor and chair of the Program in Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore College. She is the author of Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability.

In 1933, MGM lured Garbo back from Sweden with $250,000 a picture and the green light for her pet project, Queen Christina. “Delving into historic Swedish castles, tumbling with antiquity and mellow in memories of bygone glory, Greta Garbo in person” researched the film, the Los Angeles Times reported. Like Garbo, the Swedish Queen Christina was infamous as a powerful, cross-dressing, girl-kissing woman. Small wonder that the Hays Office worried that a scene in which Garbo plants a full-mouthed kiss on costar Emma Young would be “construed as lesbianism.” John Gilbert plays the Spanish ambassador who, believing in Christina's boyish costume, convinces her to share a bed with him in a secluded country inn. In Queen Christina, Garbo explores the pains and pleasures of crossing between nations, genders, and sexualities, evoking, in her famous gaze beyond the horizon, “nostalgia for places one has never seen.”

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.