Silent films 1929 (Garbo)

 Nils Asther
3: Silent films with Garbo, 1929

In 1928, Nils Asther made two silent movies with Greta Garbo, released the following year. Talkies were already proving popular, but Garbo, with her heavy Swedish accent, was being kept away from them as long as possible. Asther, with a similar thick Swedish accent, and a similar problem, was a natural pairing and the MGM producers decided to star them in Wild Orchids and The Single Standard.

Both films were a commercial success, but marked the last wave of the silent screen.
Asther and Garbo had known each other since 1924 when they were students at the Dramatiska Teatern in Sweden. Around the time of this filming, Asther became a repeat visitor to Garbo's house, a rare enough occurrence for the solitary actress, and together they travelled and hiked in the hills. According to Asther's biography, he proposed three times to Garbo. After filming had finished in late 1928, he made her his final offer of marriage. Each time, however, Garbo turned him down.
In fact, Garbo never married. In 1930 Asther went on to marry Vivian Duncan, star of vaudeville, whom he had met on set of Topsy and Eva, before his films with Garbo.

Garbo's private life was a never-ending source of interest for the media for decades to come, since she lived as a virtual recluse and rarely gave interviews. Almost thirty years later Asther still had cause to complain to Fred Hift of Variety about the newspapers' persistence. "It's just ridiculous. I did play opposite Garbo, but I haven't heard from her in 20 years. Not even a Christmas card."

Wild Orchids, 1929

While on a cruise with her husband (Lewis Stone), Lillie (Greta Garbo) sees the half-Javanese Prince de Gace (Nils Asther) whipping his servant and is appalled. Lillie tries to avoid the Prince, but her husband throws them together during a tiger hunt.

lobby cards
movie cards
movie magazines
film stills



The Single Standard, 1929

Arden Stuart (Greta Garbo) observes that while men act freely, woman are condemned - the 'single standard'. She confides to her friend Tommy (Johnny Mack Brown) that she is determined to ignore old-fashioned rules. Then she meets Packy Cannon (Nils Asther), a boxer and artist who also believes in freedom. 

lobby cards
movie cards
movie magazines

caricature by Hirschfeld

 caricature of Greta Garbo's leading men, 1932
 Clockwise from top: Erich Von Stroheim, John Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Clark Gable, Ramon Novarro, Charles Bickford, Robert Montgomery, Conrad Nagel, Nils Asther, Lars Hanson, John Gilbert, Antonio Moreno, Ricardo Cortez.
stills and scenes from the film


More on the films of Nils Asther
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