If you asked what image from the 20th Century comes
closest to capturing the universal sense of female
mysteriousness, that ineffable female mysteriousness,
it might well be the famous production still from
of Greta Garbo as Queen Christina.
Greta Garbo is a great screen icon whose fame and mystique today rests mainly on a still image. The only film she made that can compare is Ninotchka.
Late in her career she realized it was the quality of the
directors she worked with that mattered, not the DPs.
But earlier she had insisted only on control of the
men who lit and shot her.
Looking at the above shot I can't help thinking of Graham Parker's
line, "The Mona Lisa's sister doesn't smile."