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In New York, the alcoholic skipper of a coal barge Chris Christofferson receives a letter from his estranged twenty year old daughter Anna "Christie" Christofferson telling that she will leave Minnesota to stay with him. Chris left Anna fifteen years ago to the countryside to be raised by relatives in a farm in St. Paul and he has never visited his daughter. Anna Christie arrives and she is a wounded woman with a hidden dishonorable past since she had worked for two years in a brothel to survive. She moves to the barge to live with her father and one night, Chris rescues the sailor Matt and two other fainted sailors from the sea. Soon Anna and Matt fall in love with each other and Anna has the best days of her life. But when Matt proposes to marry her, she is reluctant and also haunted by her past. Matt insists and Anna opens her heart to Matt and to her father disclosing the darks secrets of her past. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This early sound era adaptation of O'Neill's "Anna Christie" would be a decent movie worth seeing on its own, but it is Greta Garbo that makes it particularly worthwhile. The rest of the production is solid, and for the most part, its limitations are common to many other sound movies made in 1930. Garbo herself rises well above the level of the rest of the production, and Marie Dressler is also memorable and effective in her smaller role.
It's easy enough to see why a story like this was chosen for Garbo's first "talking" role. It provides a female central character who offers a ready-made opportunity for an actress like Garbo to demonstrate a good range of abilities, from strength to tenderness, from coarseness to elegance. She has good scenes with several of the other characters. Dressler's raucous performance works well, and she has some very good moments. George Marion is very believable as Garbo's father.
The story itself is an interesting one, with some worthwhile themes, though it does not necessarily lend itself that well to cinema. There are a few times when it might as well just be a filmed stage play, but then there are also a number of times when the camera picks up some good atmospheric details, such as the dockside setting or the New York skyline, that make a good complement to the emotional story.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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