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Erich von Stroheim
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 »
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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>
Greta Garbo initially formed a very close relationship with Freddie Bartholomew until the 11-year-old asked her for an autograph for his uncle one day. After that their relationship was strictly professional. For the rest of his life he was dismayed at suddenly losing her friendship. See more »
Shadows of equipment are visible in the scene where Karenin confronts Anna. See more »
I'm over sixty, and it took that long to get access to seeing all of Garbo's films. This begins quite well, but quickly devolves into an attempt at "epic" film-making, and we lose the intimacy Anna gains with Vronsky which she didn't find with her husband, although her cold, stifled marriage is successfully conveyed with a terrific Basil Rathbone as Karenin.
In the previous silent version that Garbo sizzled with John Gilbert (in the role of Vronsky) in the 1927 "Love," more attention is given to the lovemaking. This 1935 version is well directed by Clarence Brown, but transitional scenes feel truncated at the expense of large set pieces (a ball, the opera, etc.).
Garbo remains imposing however, not only as a physical presence, but also as a woman whose choices will never make her happy. I found myself watching her hands as much as that gorgeous face.
Vronsky is given short shrift here. Neither his revelry which attracts a stifled Anna, nor his restlessness are ever developed. He's here and gone and she's under the tracks before we have much time to care one way or the other. The final scene with a mourning Count makes no impression (on us the audience or seemingly Frederick March the actor).
As a relic of David O. Selznick's famous lavish detailed productions, it's memorable.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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