TBT: Queen Christina


Loosely based on the life of Christina, Queen of Sweden from 1632 to 1654, the 1933 film Queen Christina is all about Garbo’s magnificent face. She’s at once brimming with emotion and power and at the same time blank as an ice wall, mysterious and cold. Her queenly figure sacrifices all for her country, even renouncing marriage and seemingly womanhood, but she clearly has been lovers with her lady in waiting and then the Spanish envoy, that later of which she abandons even Sweden for. But this isn’t really a love story, it’s a Garbo story. The film is about a woman navigating a strange world that doesn’t let her do what she wants and be who she wants to be, and she fights these restrictions while acknowledging them with grace and style. Oh such style. Because the exquisite costumes are by the one and only Adrian, making Garbo look even better than she possibly could.

Queen Christina (1933)

Dat collar!

Queen Christina (1933)

Those eyes!

Queen Christina (1933)

Christina lays a kiss on her lady in waiting, Ebba (Elizabeth Young).

Queen Christina (1933)

The queen stops off at a mountain inn, dressed as a man. Everyone totally buys it.

Queen Christina (1933)

Even the prostitute at the inn puts the moves on Christina-in-drag.

Queen Christina (1933)

Greta Garbo with John Gilbert as Antonio, the Spanish envoy.

Queen ChristinaQueen Christina (1933)

Christina & Antonio getting it on at the mountain inn.

Queen Christina (1933)

When the Spanish envoy finally arrives at court & sees who the queen really is (& she’s in a dress), oh boy!

Queen Christina (1933)

Shiny, shiny court clothes.

Queen Christina (1933)

The coronation gown from Queen Christina on display.

Queen Christina (1933)

Men want her. Women want to be her. Oh wait, women want her too. And men want to be her, if they have half a clue.

Queen Christina (1933)



About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

4 Responses

  1. MoHub

    I’ve been waiting forever for you to do this film. Thank you so much!

  2. Michael L. McQuown

    The real-life Christina was the remarkable daughter of a remarkable father. Gustav Adolph was a major commander in the 30 Years War and established the first national standing army. He was also the period’s most careless dresser, leaving clothes scattered all over the war zone. He was KIA at the battle of Lutzen. Christina became queen and brokered the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the war. Later, she abdicated, converted to Catholicism, and entered a convent.

  3. Suzie Day (@MissSuzieDay)

    I once read an interesting journal article, that theorised that before the 20th century, in Western culture gender was so strongly associated (read: women wear dresses, men don’t), that people who were cross dressing were far more likely to “pass”. People would look at the person, make a gender assumption based on their clothing, and not pay a great deal of attention to secondary sex characteristics such as body hair, Adams apples, torso:waist ratio etc.