6.4/10
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Garbo Talks (1984)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 12 October 1984 (USA)
The son of a woman dying of a brain tumour tries to fulfil his mother's last wish: to meet Greta Garbo.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Larry Grusin
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Bancroft ... Estelle Rolfe
Ron Silver ... Gilbert Rolfe
Carrie Fisher ... Lisa Rolfe
Catherine Hicks ... Jane Mortimer
Steven Hill ... Walter Rolfe
Howard Da Silva ... Angelo Dokakis
Dorothy Loudon ... Sonya Apollinar
Harvey Fierstein ... Bernie Whitlock
Hermione Gingold ... Elizabeth Rennick
Richard B. Shull ... Shepard Plotkin
Michael Lombard ... Mr. Morganelli
Ed Crowley ... Mr. Goldhammer
Alice Spivak ... Claire Rolfe
Maurice Sterman Maurice Sterman ... Dr. Cohen
Antonia Rey ... Esmeralda
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Storyline

Estelle 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, 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? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you can catch a star...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Buscando a Greta See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$127,192, 14 October 1984

Gross USA:

$1,493,782

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,493,782
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

United Artists See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the stage play in the park that veteran Shakespearean actress Elizabeth Rennick (Hermione Gingold) was appearing as a nurse in was William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". See more »

Goofs

The construction worker (Mr. Electric Tongue!) has his pop can in his right hand and a sandwich in his left. In the next shot, they are each in the other hands. See more »

Quotes

Estelle Rolfe: Walter and I got a divorce. The world's a crazy place to live in, isn't it? He thought I was eccentric.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 2003 DVD issued by ILC Prime the usual MGM lion is there but with the words DIAMOND JUBILEE arced over it's head, with SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT across the bottom of the screen. See more »

Connections

References Mata Hari (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A gentle and touching exploration of loss and longing.
14 August 2002 | by budmasseySee all my reviews

This is not a film about Greta Garbo, and La Garbo isn't in the movie, not really. Moreover, from a writer's perspective, Greta Garbo could have been any quest that we seek with sincerity and purity of intention. But in this case it is Garbo, and her mystique permeates this film through her haunting absence, which lends Garbo Talks its beautiful sense of longing.

Anne Bancroft gives a tour de force performance as the dying mother who never stops championing her causes, and wishes only one thing; to meet Garbo before she dies. Ron Silver is her put upon son who sacrifices everything, including his marriage to a hilariously unsympathetic Carrie Fisher to give his mother her dying wish.

Hermione Gingold is utterly side splitting as one of the improbable steps in young Gilbert's search for the elusive Garbo. Harvey Fierstein is brilliant in his understated portrayal of a gay man Gilbert meets on the ferry to Fire Island, where he hopes to find Garbo at her retreat.

Garbo is played by the incomparable Betty Comden, seven time Tony Award winning composer who co-wrote such classics as Singin' in the Rain, Auntie Mame, Bells are Ringing, and the Barkley's of Broadway.

There is a scene, late in the movie, where Bancroft is delivering a soliloquy, which stands as one of my favorite moments in film. Sally Field should have given her Oscar that year to Bancroft. It is only then, in her emotional epiphany, that Ms. Bancroft reveals the delicate yet powerful theme of the film. It was never about Garbo. She was merely a symbol of the quest to find a unifying thread that gives meaning to a life remembered. The buildup may be tauntingly slow, but the payoff is astounding.

Why do I love this movie? It's about a feeling, a mood, a tone, owing in large part to Sidney Lumet's light yet masterful touch. The lyrical pace and the glorious ending are movie art, floating as gentle as a cloud above the din of its heavy handed contemporaries.


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