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Georg Wilhelm Pabst
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>
Back in the day this silent version of Anna Karenina was all the rage because in that year that talkies made their debut, the film was part of the famous Greta Garbo/John Gilbert group that was passionately daring for its time. That scene where Gilbert after helping a lady in distress in the snowy Russian winter, when they get to shelter and she takes off the hoodie on her parka and Gilbert does a triple take at Garbo's beauty is still one of the best love at first sight scenes in the history of cinema.
The passionate sparks from Garbo and Gilbert still thrill many. But ninety years after Tolstoy's novel got the full MGM tratment we can get real critical over the happy ending the film got. There was a more realistic ending apparently filmed for foreign markets. But I can only critique what I see.
Still for me the best version of Anna Karenina was the one Vivien Leigh did in 1948 which was closest to Tolstoy's work. The sound remake that Garbo did with Fredric March as Count Vronsky is better than this one. The ending there is tragic, but there is a postscript softening of Vronsky's character.
Fans of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert should still like this. But Tolstoy purists will be disappointed.
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