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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>
Aware that her co-star Fredric March was notorious for seducing his leading ladies, Greta Garbo reportedly wore garlic under her clothes and purposely had bad breath in order to stave off his advances. See more »
The way Vronsky holds his hat changes while talking with Anna in the garden. See more »
You say this knowing this I cannot do. There is no life for me without my child. To leave him would be infamous and base. I couldn't. And you know I couldn't.
Very well. I can assume, then, that you will never again jeopardize my honor.
Oh, your honor! Your selfishness! Your hypocrisy! Your egotism! You've never considered me as a human being. Your social position and... your reputation. These must be kept up at what cost to those who are around you? At what cost?
[Checking his pocket watch]
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This version of Anna Karenina has little resemblance with Tolstoi novel. In the first place, for it's simplicity. While Tolstoi novel is a complex portrait of Russian society in the end of the nineteenth century, the movie is a rather simple melodrama, in which the complex and dense characters of the novel, Levin, Kitty, Dolly and Stiva are mere extras. Anyway, I think that is impossible to make a film of 2 or 3 hours about Anna Karenina. Only on a mini format we can show the whole complexity of the plot and the emotional variations of the characters. Having that in mind, we can say that the film is very acceptable. It is not a master piece, but considering it's old age of 70 years, we can see it we some pleasure (I voted a 6). The director, Clarence Brown, begins the movie in the best way. The plan of the feast table, tracked by the camera, in which the table seems to be endless is excellent. Also, the ball is magnificent, showing all the luxury and lavishness in which the Russian high society lived those days. To all this magnificent MGM production is not minor the role of David O'Selznick. On the other hand, Greta Garbo does one more of her equal performances of alike characters. Can someone see any difference between Mata Hari, Queen Christine, Marguerite Gauthier or Anna Karenina? Only in the scenes with Freddie Bartholomew, in which she untie herself and smile, we can see that if she was allowed, she could have made other kind of characters, becoming a more versatile actress and getting a higher level on her actress career. The choice of Fredric March as Vronsky seems to me a enormous casting error. His Vronsky could nor enchant a woman and much lesser make her abandon house, husband, son and be a society pariah for the rest of her life. The performances of the supporting actors are very good, with an highlight for the young Freddie Bartholomew, for Basil Rathbone as Karenin and for May Robson as Vronsky's mother.
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