In Czarist Russia, Anna Karenina falls in love with the dashing military officer Count Vronsky and abandons her husband and child to become Vronsky's mistress. Tragedy ensues when Vronsky ... See full summary »
In Czarist Russia, Anna Karenina falls in love with the dashing military officer Count Vronsky and abandons her husband and child to become Vronsky's mistress. Tragedy ensues when Vronsky chooses his military career over Anna. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Those involved in the film remembered John Gilbert as having been the primary director on this film. Greta Garbo would refuse to continue filming unless he approved a scene. Only Edmund Goulding is credited as director in the final version. See more »
Let us drink to...LOVE...illuminated by Garbo and Gilbert
When lots of classic buffs discuss Garbo's portrayal of Anna Karenina, they most often refer to the sound version directed by Clarence Brown in 1935. And they are right since the sound version with Greta Garbo and Fredric March is the supreme adaptation of Tolstoy's novel during the silver screen's heyday. That is the movie, which despite its 75th birthday is still highly captivating, and thanks to Greta Garbo, the story of Tolstoy's heroine touches the depths of viewers' hearts. However, whilst developing the knowledge of Garbo's unique presence on screen and her outstanding yet short career, I was deeply touched by seeing the silent production LOVE directed by Edmund Goulding, the man who later directed one of Garbo's most popular movies, GRAND HOTEL. Although the movie LOVE has been quite ignored by many viewers, even by Greta Garbo fans, it is very much worth attention as a pleasant silent film.
The reason why I liked the movie does not lie in its source novel. As a matter of fact, there are a number of serious liberties taken when applied to content, plots and historical depiction. When you are looking for the Anna Karenina story, you had better see other versions for sure. The major reason why I like it lies in the presence of Garbo and Gilbert, two main characters into whose empty lives has swept a force that illumines them and changes everything. After their ultra popular FLESH AND THE DEVIL where the chemistry between the two was an absolute revelation and Garbo's magnetism on screen was the combination of thrill and joy, carnal desire and overwhelming beauty, here, Garbo plays again opposite Gilbert and she is truly in love with him as Anna is in love with Vronsky. And the handsome Captain Vronsky though careless, reckless once changes himself from within. Gilbert is no worse in the role of Vronsky than he is in his roles as Leo Von Harden, Nevs or Antonio. Their scenes can boast unforgettable chemistry and appear to be timelessly genuine. You watch a silent film where two people are really in love with each other...that says for itself. It must have been a smashing success. Garbo and Gilbert are really in LOVE!
That aspect is strongly combined with their scenes and moments that are hard to forget. For who can skip the luminous dance on Easter Night? Who can remain indifferent to their spiritual contact at the scenes galore, for instance the one of the military race? Who is ready to ignore the tension and wit at their first meeting? This combination of magical charm, chemistry, and wit leaves a lasting impression in the viewer and you simply consider LOVE one of those silent films that are pleasantly watched over and over again. This power of the main couple makes you forget the source novel and forgive some inaccuracies and liberties. You simply watch a film.
The supporting cast contribute to three people: Brandon Hurst as Karenin, George Fawcett as Grand Duke and Phillippe De Lacy as Serezha. Mr Hurst represents memorably the person who cannot stand any sensation and is a man of old morals, as he says: 'any gossip about my wife reflects upon me.' Mr Fawcett is the actor who portrays his role as memorably as he did portray Pastor Voss in FLESH AND THE DEVIL. Yet, in LOVE he is a different person, no longer raging about the sins of his sheep but an understanding general, who has a sense of humor, who understands delays and gets the gist of sacrifice rightly. Phillippe De Lacy is memorable as Anna's child and steals some of the best scenes with Garbo. It is important to state that those supporting cast also make LOVE a memorable silent.
Therefore, LOVE is another Garbo film I consider a must in my gallery, a pearl of old days when cinema conveyed humane message, when performances were unforgettable, when there were great stars that illumined screen, Garbo and Gilbert in LOVE in a bright story of Love that may face its darkness but is finally illuminated by the dawn of a new day...
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