cover image Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Rizzoli. Rizzoli International Publications, $29.95 (15pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0688-1

Sembach's introduction offers reverential musings and a superficial chronicling of events in Garbo's life already familiar to most readers. It's best to skip this section and go right to the pictures, taken by 12 photographers, including Cecil Beaton and Edward Steichen. Beginning with an eerily mature 15-year-old in 1920, these portraits show the progression of Garbo from soulful model to vamp, tragic heroine, comedienne and, finally, recluse. The last photos by George Hoyningen-Huene, showing her bedraggled and unkempt, contrast sharply with the cosmetic, composed shots of Garbo in her heyday. It is as though the star's ""decay'' is the highlighthardly a fitting note on which to end such a fine volume. (December)