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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>
Anyone who thinks silent movies can't convey the realistic passion of love should see this pairing of Garbo and John Gilbert.
Their chemistry is palpable and the loss Garbo suffers in terms of her son is believable without plunging into bathos.
I was fortunate to see a version of this film on TCM that provided both endings -- the puerile have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too version for American audiences and the bleak, moralistic one that that was distributed for more adult viewers internationally.
It's shocking that Americans were believed to require such pabulum. But when you think about it we remain a childish, head-in-the-sand society in many ways. It's just rare to have the us-vs.-them contrast shoved in one's face like this...
The performances in this film are stellar. I'm ashamed to say -- and American enough to admit -- that I haven't read "Anna Karenina." Now at least I wish to.
I love when movies help to bring my own life into clearer focus. And this one has.
Vronsky: "To see you and not touch you...to love you and not have you...No, we'll never see each other again..."
This film brings out a terrible truth in life, as acted out by the cold and passionless Karenin. "You two will destroy each other."
He needn't have dirtied his hands or mussed his hair and he knew it. Powerful!
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