While at a ski lodge, Larry Blake sees instructor Karin Borg and decides to sign up for private lessons. The next thing he knows, she is Mrs. Blake. When he announces that he is going back ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains a memo, dated November 6, 1935, from PCA Director Joseph I. Breen, who suggested that David O. Selznick alter the scene in which "Vronsky" returns to Moscow from Italy, to show that "Vronsky" is "definitely punished as a result of his sinful alliance with Anna." According to the memo, when Breen suggested that "Vronsky" be denied reinstatement in the Russian army and be banished from his native land, "Mr. Selznick agreed to this change." Breen also raised a number of objections to specific scenes that showed "Anna" and "Vronsky" carrying out an "adulterous" affair with impunity. In March 1935, Selznick wrote a letter to Breen, in which he sharply criticized new objections raised by the PCA to the script, claiming that Breen's "change of heart...will jeopardize a million dollar investment." Selznick went on to say that Breen's comments left M-G-M with no alternative but to make a "completely vitiated and emasculated adaptation of Tolstoi's famous classic." Following the film's release, the PCA received a letter from the Chicago Legion of Decency, which stated: "We are thoroughly disgusted to hear that you have passed Anna Karenina (1935) and Barbary Coast (1935) and shall boycott these and all others like them." See more »
Shadows of equipment are visible in the scene where Karenin confronts Anna. See more »
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 »
"Anna Karenina" is based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy. I have not read Tolstoy's novel, but it is apparent from the thickness of the novel and the length of this film that this adaptation is heavily abridged. The story is simple; Anna Karenina is married to Karenin but has an affair with Vronsky.
The film features impressive sets and costumes. There are depictions of upper-class Russian rituals such as drinking games, dancing and a stage production. These are for the most part well-done, although the stage production seemed drawn out.
Greta Garbo as Anna, Fredric March as Vronsky and Basil Rathbone as Karenin lead the cast. It is an impressive roster, and all of them give solid performances, especially Rathbone and Garbo, but the characters they played were not exceptionally interesting. Freddie Bartholomew is notable as Sergei, Anna's astute young scientist of a child that has some touching scenes with Garbo.
This film is watchable and has a number of decent scenes, but never gains much momentum beyond a basic love story. Sadly I didn't form any strong attachments to the characters such that I was even indifferent to Anna's final fate at the end of the story. I'm not sure how other adaptations of the novel compare, but this one is somewhat flat despite having three accomplished performers in the lead parts.
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