Film Screening: Queen Christina
In 1930, the Hays Code was enacted, but not fully enforced until 1934. Officially known as the Motion Picture Production Code, it was designed to eliminate content in cinema that depicted sexual or romantic relationships between white and black people, illegal drug use, promiscuity and infidelity, homosexuality, and a litany of supposed “immoral” acts. Before its enactment, Hollywood saw an era when films told stories of women in power, with strong female actors, such as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Bette Davis, dominating both the industry, the screen, and their male counterparts. Queen Christina was one of these films.
Based on the tale of the Swedish queen (played by Garbo), or the “lesbian troublemaker” that attempted to bring peace and cultural cachet to her country, Queen Christina depicts a sovereign ruler who defies social conventions. Raised like a boy so that she could successfully succeed her father’s place on the throne, Christina challenges royal expectations for producing an heir. She eventually falls in love with a Spanish prince she first meets while dressed as a man. Under the creative direction of Garbo (who was not-so-secretly bisexual), the film oozes with “same-sex innuendos, drag-upon-drag, and of course, the face that launched a thousand queer theory theses.”
For the duration of Hollywood Calling, the Photo Space will showcase some of the greatest films by the directors and actors included in the exhibition, that also coincide with Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), National Humor Month (April), Asian Pacific American Month (May), Pride (June), and a fun, Hollywood summer blockbuster for July.
In this arresting and iconic exhibition – curated by Vanity Fair’s creative development editor David Friend, and the magazine’s former director of photography Susan White – Vanity Fair: Hollywood Calling features photographic portraiture and multimedia installations that capture the magic and glamour of the film and television industry’s major players from the last four decades.Learn More