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Johnny Mack Brown
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This version of the Tolstoy classic lingers longer in Moscow during the weeks that follow the initial meeting of the starstruck lovers-to-be Vronsky and Anna Karenina. The story -- as it unfolds -- also focuses on Kitty, a young woman who is related to Anna's sister-in-law whose marital rift has brought Anna to Moscow. Until Anna shows up, Kitty had hopes of getting Vronsky, who is single and well connected, to propose to her. Ignored by Vronsky, Kitty turns her attention to another suitor, a man who seems to have a lot in common with Tolstoy. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
None But the Lonely Heart (Nur Wer die Sehnsucht Kennt)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ("Romance for Voice and Piano, Op. 6. No. 6)
Sergei's theme - played often in the score See more »
Superb MGM production but let down by less than perfect casting.
Watching this movie you will see MGM at the height of its movie-making powers. The physical production is impeccable, the sets are amazing, the production design fantastic. The photography and all technical aspects are superb with the costuming and makeup being the very best that money could buy. All these aspects combine to make a very enjoyable production but the fatal flaw in this much condensed version of Tolstoy's classic is the casting. Frederic March brings no passion to the role of Vronsky and no-one could ever believe for a minute that Anna would give up her child and position for him. In fact it is even hard to believe that she would leave her husband at all given the totally magnetic performance by Basil Rathbone as Karenin. His is the most memorable character portrayal in the film and he acts the part with superb skill. Vronsky is immediately attracted to Anna as he watches her alight from a train and Garbo's face is suddenly revealed through a cloud of steam. This was quite a magical effect in the cinema as her face gradually appeared and filled the huge movie screen, but on video and a TV screen the effect is much diminished and her face appears rather large, plain and mask like. Garbo is also referred to as 'pretty' several times during the movie when 'attractive' would have been a better word. Her acting skills are beyond doubt however and by the climax one is genuinely moved when she watches the train pull out of the station and decides that life will no longer be worth living. You can almost read her mind in this scene which is photographed and scored to maximum effect and leaves an indelible impression.
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