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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've always been an ardent fan of Flesh and the Devil, but then I saw Love. This movie is absolutely beautiful, there's no other word to describe it. Whereas Flesh and the Devil seemed to be crass commercialism, Love is more subtle in many ways.
I gave this movie a 9 due to two rather melodramatic moments where Garbo wasn't exactly restraining herself. However, there are enough scenes where she conveys Anna's inner turmoil by the most fleeting and eloquent of expressions. The lighting in her scenes are breathtakingly beautiful, and I can only imagine how long it took to set it up just right! In so many of her scenes she is heartbreaking, especially when, exiled from her home, she sees a schoolboy and momentarily believes that he is her son and tries to embrace him. When he struggles and runs away, she does a wonderful job portraying Anna's rather unstable mind, which she does to great effect throughout the picture. In the beginning, however, when she first meets Vronsky, she seems to be in control of herself, and there is a wonderfully imperious stare in close-up, followed quickly by a close-up of Gilbert. As I watched her, I was astonished when I remembered that she was only 22 in this film.
Which brings us to Gilbert. For those who think of him as simply Valentino's successor as the Great Lover, being no more than a slab of meat for the delight of female audiences, need to watch this film. He is simply perfect, the model of natural acting -- there is not a hint of melodrama or the "ham" about him. He is completely in love with Anna, but there are none of the breast-heaving love scenes that are throughout Flesh and the Devil. He is jealous of anybody coming between him and Anna, but there are no widened eyes and arm waving. Simply jamming his hands in his pockets and an angry stare into the distance.
My only complaint with this film was the presentation on TCM. They used a live performance, and we get the "audience reaction" throughout the film. Which is fine at points, but for the most part, the reaction is totally wrong. Too many times there was laughter at what was, in 1927, a very dramatic moment. When Jack is too busy looking at Garbo to blow out the match and ends up burning his finger, that's funny. But when Anna says the profound line to the jealous Vronsky "There is no more or less in love -- I love you both infinitely" (referring to her son), the laughter was totally inappropriate. I hope this is not the avenue of any future TCM silent movies. Even though modern audiences are supposedly more "sophisticated," they aren't sophisticated enough to appreciate what "worked" 70-75 years ago. Even though these movies are old, there are still images and "lines" that are as ageless as Garbo's face.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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