Garbo Talks (1984): Lumet Directs Anne Bancroft and Ron Silver

One of Sidney Lumet’s weakest features, this comedy features Anne Bancroft as Estelle Rolfe, a domineering divorcee who resides in New York, close to her grown son Gilbert (Ron Silver) and his wife Lisa (Carrie Fisher).

Though Lisa yearns to move back to her California origins, Gilbert is too attached to his mother—he’s a mamma’s boy. As Estelle is dying, her dutiful son offers to honor her last request to meet the reclusive actress, the Divine Garbo.

The plot is slender, sort of a string of vignettes, set in encounters with such vivid characters as a gay Garbo fan (Harvey Fierstein), an elderly Shakespearean actress (Hermione Gingold), a “female Joe Papp” director (Denny Dillon), and an aging papparazzi (Howard Da Silva).

Garbo finally makes an appearance, materializing in the shape of the playwright-scribe-lyricist Betty Comden.

MPAA: PG-13.

Running time: 104 minutes.

Directed by Sidney Lumet

Released: October 12, 1984

Fox DVD