Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Anna Christie (1930)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Anna Christie (1930)

In director Clarence Brown's early talkie - an over-rated and stagy drama - noted as the film in which silent star Greta Garbo spoke her first line of dialogue: "Gimme a viskey..." :

  • 20 year-old alcoholic ex-prostitute Anna "Christie" Christofferson (or Gustafson) (24 year-old Greta Garbo, Oscar-nominated), a world-weary and ailing, man-hating Swedish-American, returned home to New York after a long absence (including being raised since the age of 5 on a Minnesota farm by abusive relatives and working in a St. Paul brothel for two years) to locate her estranged and embittered barge captain father Chris Christofferson (or Gustafson) (George F. Marion), the alcoholic skipper of a coal barge
  • in the famed, immortalized scene that was about sixteen minutes into the film, she made her grand entrance into a NY Battery waterfront saloon from a foggy street. The bar's waiter held open the door to the Ladies Entrance as Anna struggled in, lugging an old, weighty suitcase. She shuffled over to a wooden table across from where her father's gruff boozing companion Marthy Owens (Marie Dressler in a comeback role) sat, and dropped her suitcase onto the floor
  • after Anna took a seat in a chair, she crouched down and finally delivered her famous opening lines with a deep and husky, heavily-accented voice: "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby!"
  • she found a sympathetic ear from Marthy (who saw in Anna an earlier version of herself) and also fell in love with strong and brawny Scottish seaman Matt Burke (Charles Bickford), who initially had an idealized and romanticized view of her. Anna was forced to seek redemption and forgiveness after telling him and her father about her sordid past

Garbo's First Words as Anna Christie: "Gimme a whiskey"


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