Queen Christina

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Queen Christina is a 1933 Hollywood film starring Greta Garbo as the eponymous queen of Sweden who ruled during the 17th century. Christina was very much a proto-feminist figure in many ways; not only was she an authoritative ruler, but she also dressed in men's clothes and had a generally androgynous manner. The movie plays into Garbo's ability to exploit those qualities while wrapping the whole thing in a conventional love story between Christina and her Spanish envoy John Gilbert, where she must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

Tropes used in Queen Christina include:
  • Bifauxnen: Garbo as Christina is one of the earliest film examples.
  • Downer Ending
  • Duel to the Death: Between Antonio and Magnus.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Not too much of a challenge in the days before the Hays Code; still, it's surprising to see Antonio's servant seeing him go into a room with what he thinks is another man but find them later huddled under the bed canopy. And ordering chocolate.
  • Hollywood History: Big time. While many of the story's elements were based on real history (Christina's propensity for men's clothing, her reluctance to marry, her courtiers' working against her to prolong the Thirty Years' War), the romance between Christina and Antonio was, if not entirely fabricated, at least loosely based on events that happened years later. And it was definitely not the reason for her abdication, which had much more to do with her conversion to Roman Catholicism.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Everyone but Garbo.
  • Royal We
  • Smug Snake: Count Magnus.
  • Take a Third Option: Christina is forced to choose whether to marry Antonio and arouse the outrage of her people or marry Prince Charles, in whom she has no interest. She chooses to abdicate.