Greer Garson (1904–1996) was of Scottish and Irish descent, perhaps obvious by her striking red hair, and she got her start on the London stage. She was signed to MGM studios in 1939 and made films in Hollywood there until 1954, and she became known for serious costume dramas. Garson eventually became a naturalized American citizen, marrying an American billionaire, and settling in Texas. She acted occasionally in TV until her death, but her finest work onscreen was in her first couple decades. As Greer Garson said of that time: “People are always asking me what it was like during the golden years of Hollywood. That was in the 1920s and ’30s — which wasn’t my period. My period, the ’40s and ’50s, is what I call the romantic years of Hollywood.” Let’s visit those romantic years!
Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Edna Gladney in Blossoms in the Dust (1941)
Marie Curie in Madame Curie (1943)
Susie Parkington in Mrs. Parkington (1944)
Mary Rafferty in The Valley of Decision (1945)
Irene Forsyte in That Forsyte Woman (1949)
Calpurnia in Julius Caesar (1953)
Dr. Julia Winslow Garth in Strange Lady in Town (1955)
Eleanor Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello (1960)
Frances B. Finch in The Virginian, “Lady at the Bar” (1970)
Queen Mary in Crown Matrimonial (1974)
Aunt Kathryn March in Little Women (1978)
What’s your favorite historical costume movie or TV role of Greer Garson’s?
Marlon Brando didn’t play Caesar; he played Mark Antony. He delivered the most OTT “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” funeral speech ever overacted.
Love you guys and your snark, but I’m pretty sure that’s Wendy Hiller in Crown Matrimonial. Otherwise, thanks for the info on GG.
Yup that is Wendy Hiller
Yas Queen!! It’s been way too long since I saw Garson’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s definitely time for a re-watch.
I am a moderate fan of Ms Garson’s work. One of my favourite is her Irene in That Forsyte Woman. Costumes have the feel of the period. And of course, her star turn as Eleanor Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello. And of course she rocked Lizzie in P&P. Although the 1830s costumes were not Regency wrapped, they rocked and I liked how they showed how Austen could work in later 19th century clothing.
Campobello, because she wasn’t afraid to let go of her glam image.
I would wear everything she’s shown wearing in this post. Especially that Blossoms in the Dust gown and the cover photo dress.
Because it doesn’t match our fantasies! Not that I really have a problem with it.
The director for the 2005 Pride and Prejudice set in more around the time the novel was written, at the end of the 18th century. That’s why you don’t see the Empire waist gowns in that one. Except in Caroline Bingley, I guess in an attempt to make it seem fashion-forward.
It’s a good point though, about why setting a period piece in modern times is okay but other historical times isn’t. I’ve always been put off by the time change, but I don’t know why. It’s something to think about!
Love love love Greer Garson! One of my favorite actresses ever.
What? No love for Mrs. Miniver?
Her period films are shown here. Mrs Miniver was about current events. Of course, it is all history now.
In 1939, she appeared in Goodbye Mr Chips. In a flashback to what seems to be Edwardian dsys…
That’s Wendy Hiller as Queen Mary – she looks nothing like Greer Garson!
Blossoms in the Dust! I’ve watched it when I was a child, or an early teenager, on Brazilian Television and didn’t know the name of the movie. Thank you very much!
I read a biography about her years ago and never liked her since…something about her insistence on paying roles meant for younger women…
Anyway, as Lizzie Bennett she was ridiculous imo…but then so was Norma Shearer as Juliet, good old Hollywood…
I keep hoping for Susan Hampshire in this space…
Hey What about Random Harvest (1942) it’s one of her finest performances and it’s set first in 1918 and Scandal at Scourie (1953) but that’s a film hard to know if it’s period or not and in that Crown Matrimonial picture I’m quite sure that’s Wendy Hiller
What about her The Little Foxes (1956)?! It’s nice to think about her as a villain for once
OH here I am late night distracting myself on my favorite fashion site
This post gives me so many ideas I want to share I would love to see you review Mrs. Parkington and Valley of Decision and Forsyte Woman and Marie Curie deserves her own WCW she got lots of Interesting representations here are some:
1943 of course
1953 monsieur et mme curie
1965 Italian miniseries
1977 Marie Curie British Miniseries
1990 Marie Curie Une Femme Honorable French-polish miniseries
1997 les palmes de m. Schultz
2011 polish documentary acted
2014 Marie Curie une femme sur le front
2016 the courage of knowledge
If you decide to do it I hope it helps
OK hate to be that boring but here are the missing GG:
Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939)
Random Harvest (1942) at least the first part
The Law and The Lady (1951) set during the turn of the century
Scandal At Scoutie (1953) ditto
The Little Foxes (1956) TV early 1900’s
The Valley Of Decision
That Forsyte Fool (inside the possibility but as if I remember correctly some of the frock flicks don’t like the original forsyte saga this one is really different then probably much more palatable)