BrianRxm Coins in Movies 94/131
Queen Christina (1933)
Greta Garbo as a Swedish queen and an excellent coin prop
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The 1933 MGM film "Queen Christina" is loosely based on the life of 17th century Swedish queen.
Swedish actress Greta Garbo plays the queen, who, in the film, falls in love with a Spanish
ambassador and later abdicates her throne to be with him.
 
Queen Christina was born in 1626 and became queen in 1632 at the death of her father, King Gustav Adolf.
The events in the film occur after 1648 when Sweden signed a peace treaty ending the Thirty Years War.
Christina is portrayed as a woman who likes to dress as a man and there are a number of ambigious
sexuality scenes.
She does not want to marry anyone but her male advisors want her to provide an heir to the throne.
 
Early in the film, Christina is out wearing men's clothing and riding a horse, when she helps rescue
the Spanish ambassador's coach from a snowdrift.
He thinks that she is a boy, and gives her a "tip" of a Swedish thaler, a dollar-sized coin.
The prop coin is shown and it has a profile of Greta Garbo on it.
This coin is not a generic prop coin but was made specifically for the film.
Queen Christina
1. Title
 
Christina is crowned queen in 1632 at the age of six, then the film moves to 1648.
The negotiations to end the Thirty Years War (1608-1648) have resulted in a peace treaty
to be signed for Sweden, a major participant.
Christina was highly educated and competent ruler and she is a hard worker.
 
Prince Charles is a successful Swedish general and one of her suitors.
Another suitor is Magnus, who also plots against her.
 
Queen Christina
2. Christina goes over papers
 
The men are Oxenstierna, an advisor, and Magnus, who wants to marry her.
 
Dogs were almost always present at medieval courts.
 
Queen Christina
3. The queen likes dogs
 
Tired of work, Christina and her valet Aage go out horseback riding.
She wears men's riding clothes, and the two encounter a coach stuck in a snowdrift.
 
Queen Christina
4. Riding to the rescue
 
Christina gives advice on getting the coach free of the snow.
The coach is carrying Don Antonio, a Spanish ambassador on his way to Stockholm to see the queen.
He thanks the "boy" who helped him and orders his assistent to give him a thaler.
 
Queen Christina
5. Give her a thaler
 
The thaler was a Swedish silver coin, sometimes called a riksthaler.
 
A close-up of the coin appears.
 
Queen Christina
6. The coin
 
This prop coin has Greta Garbo facing right surrounded by a nearly authentic Christina legend.
The real Queen Cristina had a much different appearance on coins and she usually faced forward.
 
The coin's legend is:
CHRISTINA DG SVECO GOT WAN Q DE RE ET PR HAE
which expands to the queen's Latin title:
Christina Dei Gratia Sueciae Gothorum Vandalorum que Designata Regina et Principissa Haereditaria
or:
"Christina, by the Grace of God, Designated Queen of Sweden, Goths, Vandals, and Hereditary Prince"
 
A similar prop coin without the Swedish legend appears in the 1945 MGM film "Yolanda and the Thief".
 
Christina and Aage head for an inn where she secures the best and last room available.
Don Antonio and his group arrive, and the "boy" and Antonio have dinner and decide to share the room.
 
Queen Christina
7. Sharing a room
 
They begin undressing and Antonio makes a pleasant discovery, that the boy is a very pretty girl.
They spend the night together, and are forced to stay several days due to a snow storm.
Antonio's assistant sometimes checks on him and wonders about the two in bed.
They soon fall in love, and Antonio explains about the warmth of Spain producing grapes.
Christina doesn't tell him who she is, but that she occasionally has to flee a controlling family.
 
Queen Christina
8. Love and grapes
 
Eventually travel is resumed and Christina and Antonio leave the inn separately.
 
In Stockholm, Christina resmues her position.
 
Queen Christina
9. Queen Christina on the throne
 
The Spanish ambassador arrives with his entourage and sees the queen.
 
Queen Christina
10. Don Antonio surprised
 
They meet privately and resume their affair.
 
Antonio's mission is to bring an official marriage proposal from Philip IV, the King of Spain,
whose painted picture he has also brought.
 
 
Queen Christina
11. Don Antonio's mission
 
Christina jokes about the King's looks (he was a Hapsburg with the prominent jaw).
 
Antonio asks Christina if she played a "royal trick" on him at the inn.
She replies that she really loves him.
 
Look, the coin you gave me for helping you.
I've slept with it in my hand each night.
 
The affair becomes public, and some subjects believe that she is going to marry the King of Spain
and are very unhappy at that. An angry group approaches the castle.
 
Queen Christina
12. The queen confronts the mob
 
The queen is able to calm the group down without discussing her marriage plans.
 
Her advisors pressure her to discharge the ambassador and send him back to Spain.
 
Queen Christina
13. Discharging the ambassador
 
Christina privately lets him know that she will see him again.
 
Queen Christina
14. The queen abdicates
 
Christina abdicates the throne and plans to sail to Spain with Antonio.
She is beloved and her subjects unhappy with her leaving.
 
Magnus and Antonio meet to fight a duel with swords.
 
Queen Christina
15. On the ship
 
Christina discovers that Antonio is dying of his injuries from the duel.
Alone, she sails away.
 
Queen Christina
16. Christina on the ship's prow
The Real Christina:
 
The real Queen Christina did not abdicate due to love.
She converted to Roman Catholic religion and could not rule the Protestant Lutheran Sweden.
 
She moved to Rome and took with her a coin collection of 15,000 coins.
She bought more coins from numismatists of the time.
She willed them to an Italian family who later sold them to the Pope for the Vatican's coin collection.
Christina would stamp a crowned 'C' on her coins, making them easy to identify.
Notes:
 
Cast:
Greta Garbo as Christina
John Gilbert as Antonio (Spanish ambassador)
Ian Keith as Magnus (Lord Treasurer)
C. Aubrey Smith as Aage (Christina's valet)
Reginald Owen as Charles (Prince Charles)
Lewis Stone as Oxenstierna (Chancellor)
Elizabeth Young as Ebba (Royal maid)
 
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Writers: H.M. Harwood, Salka Viertel, Margaret P. Levino, S.N. Behrman
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