"I'VE NO IDEA OF HER WHEREABOUTS. I SUSPECT SHE'S SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE…": DOCUMENT SIGNED BY GRETA GARBO RELATED TO HER FINAL FILM TWO-FACED WOMAN, WITH LATER LETTER SIGNED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THAT FILM, GEORGE CUKOR, TRYING TO GET IN CONTACT WITH HER
GARBO, Greta. Document signed. Contract addendum. WITH: CUKOR, George. Typed letter signed. Garbo document: Santa Monica, California: March 12, 1941; Cukor letter: No place, August 1, 1969. Two sheets (8-1/2 by 11 inches), printed and typed (in carbon) on rectos. Housed together in custom half morocco portfolio. $3500.
Original document signed by Greta Garbo in 1941 modifying an existing contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures regarding her final film, the disastrous failure Two-Faced Woman, directed by George Cukor. Offered together with a later letter from Cukor discussing Garbo, referring to her as "our girlfriend," hoping the recipient might be able to forward a release letter to her, so that she might permit footage from their 1936 movie Camille to be used in a biopic about Cukor.
The contract change proposed here is minor, altering a date that appears in the original contract from April 1, 1941 to April 15, 1941, but comes at a tremendously significant and fraught time for Garbo, her relationship with M-G-M, and her career. Though it does not name the film, this change almost certainly involves her contract to star in George Cukor's Two-Faced Woman, which came out late in 1941, an attempt to capitalize on Garbo's comic success in her most recent film, 1939's Ninotchka. In Two-Faced Woman she played a double role that featured her dancing the rumba, swimming, and skiing. Though the film performed reasonably well at the box office, it was a critical failure, and Garbo later referred to the film as "my grave" (Bainbridge, "The Great Garbo" in Life, 1955). Two-Faced Woman would indeed prove to be her last film, though she was only 36; she had made 28 feature films in only 16 years. Garbo hadn't planned on retiring, but the Second World War made finding roles difficult, and she was ambivalent about returning to work afterward. Cukor later said, "People often glibly say that the failure of Two-Faced Woman finished Garbo's career. That's a grotesque oversimplification. It certainly threw her, but I think that what really happened was that she just gave up. She didn't want to go on" (Paris, Garbo, 1994). In 1949, she was reportedly offered the role of fictional silent film star Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard; however, she ultimately turned down the role.
Two file holes punched at upper margin of Garbo document. Fine condition.