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Anna Christie (1923)

 -  Drama  -  25 November 1923 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 47 users  
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A troubled young woman comes to live with her estranged father on the New York waterfront. A tough sailor falls in love with her, sparking conflict between her father and her suitor. What ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

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(adaptation), (play)
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Title: Anna Christie (1923)

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Cast

Cast overview:
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William Russell ...
George F. Marion ...
Eugenie Besserer ...
Ralph Yearsley ...
Chester Conklin ...
Tommy
George Siegmann ...
Anna's Uncle
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Storyline

A troubled young woman comes to live with her estranged father on the New York waterfront. A tough sailor falls in love with her, sparking conflict between her father and her suitor. What neither knows is that she has a secret that could cause her to lose both of them. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Taglines:

"I Think I'll be Killin' you Now!"

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

25 November 1923 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Adapted from a 1921 Broadway play by Eugene O'Neill. George F. Marion appeared as Chris Christopherson in the original production. The original play opened on Nov. 2, 1921 at the Vanderbilt Theatre in New York and ran for 177 performances. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. See more »

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Version of Anna Christie (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A "lost" film, you say?
29 November 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

This silent version of Eugene O'Neill's drama 'Anna Christie', starring Blanche Sweet, is an excellent film in its own right, very faithful to the source material. It also proves a point I've often made about so-called 'lost' films: namely, that a diligent and intelligent search for a specific film can often lead to its recovery. 'Anna Christie' was 'lost' for several decades, but Blanche Sweet initiated an energetic search which led to the discovery of a well-preserved print (with Russian intertitles) in a Soviet archive. Happily, this film is now available with new English-language intertitles.

One serious flaw in O'Neill's play is the extremely crude dialogue spoken by Anna and her immigrant father Chris, written in a wretched "yumpin' yiminy!" Swedish dialect. Apparently the Russian translator made no attempt to preserve this in the Russian-version titles.

Eugene O'Neill did not like actors, probably because he spent so much of his childhood among barnstorming troupers (including his own father). Yet O'Neill actively assisted in the production of this film, and it succeeds as one of the most faithful examples of his vision that I've ever seen. The greatest flaws are the stagebound sets and some howlingly bad footage of Chris Christopherson's ship at the mercy of "dat ol' devil, sea": these shots are obviously images of a miniature boat, bobbing about in a water tank! As Anna's father, George F. Marion gives the worst performance in the film: surprisingly, he repeated this role in the remake starring Greta Garbo. In recent years, Garbo's English-language version of 'Anna Christie' has been subordinated to the German-language version she filmed shortly afterwards. (Same sets, different cast, much more explicit dialogue and racier costumes.) As good as Garbo is in the German version, this silent version is better still.

William Russell, as Anna's rough-hewn seaman lover, is slightly too mannered and slightly too prettified. He utterly failed to convince me that he had any emotional or sexual interest in Blanche Sweet's Anna. I have been reliably informed (by an old-time Hollywood veteran) that Russell's voice was inappropriate for talking films.

I have mixed feelings towards Blanche Sweet. When I see her name in print, I tend to visualise a cloying simpering ingenue in virginal roles, similar to Bessie Love or Lillian Gish. (I think it's Blanche Sweet's annoying name that causes me to perceive her this way.) Yet, when I watch one of her films, I almost always find her attractive and compelling. Beak-nosed, almost anorexically thin, with a nearly nonexistent bustline, Blanche Sweet is unlikely to attract modern film audiences. Yet I found her extremely sexy in 'The Sporting Venus', in which she played a glammed-up heiress in expensive gowns and a tiara. Here in 'Anna Christie', Ms Sweet wears dowdy clothes that are entirely appropriate for her portrayal of a waterfront prostitute. I really dislike films in which a leading actor or actress dresses much more expensively (and more extensively) than his or her screen character could plausibly dress in real life. Fortunately, Blanche Sweet does not indulge such vanities here. I'll rate this excellent film 8 points out of 10.


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