WALKING WITH GARBO, Conversations and Recollections by Raymond Daum, edited and annotated by Vance Muse (Harper Collins, 222 p.) is a very interesting, informative and impressively illustrated book when it comes to Garbo's history - and surprisingly - much less so where it concerns Daum's personal conversation with the great star.
Daum, a film director working at the United Nations, met Garbo by accident at a 1963 New Year's Day party in New York. Because everyone else was too much in awe to talk to her, he struck up a conversation which led to a kind of walking friendship. Daum would periodically hear from Garbo, and the two would take long strolls in Manhattan over a period of some 20 years. Aware that he was talking to a living legend, Daum made notes of what Garbo said, and these comments are reproduced in the book.
Unfortunately, the Swedish legend discussed everything under the sun except what would interest most readers, i.e. her time in Hollywood, the people she worked with, her exaggerated need for privacy, and finally, her decision to quit Hollywood (her last picture was Two-Faced Woman in 1944).
The layout of Walking With Garbo is innovative, interweaving Daum's Garbo quotations with Muse's well-presented narrative about Hollywood in the 1930'sand 1940's. However, Muse's regular little colorful anecdotes and stories - printed in white type on black, presumably for the sake of contrast - are annoying because they are so difficult to...