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 <email@example.com>
In a letter dated January 7, 1935 from David O. Selznick to Greta Garbo, Selznick told Garbo that he preferred a George Cukor-directed Dark Victory to Anna Karenina as a starring vehicle for her, and urged her to agree with him. One week later, in a letter to MGM director J. Walter Ruben, Selznick stated that he would do Dark Victory if he succeeded in purchasing the rights to the play at a reasonable cost and if Philip Barry consented to write the screenplay. Selznick pointed to the box office disappointments of Queen Christina (1933) and The Painted Veil (1934) as evidence that Anna Karenina would be an unwise choice for Garbo, and noted that Fredric March, who was "fed up with doing costume pictures," made it known that he would do Anna Karenina only if required to by his studio. Despite Selznick's best efforts to convince Garbo to do Dark Victory, she insisted on doing Anna Karenina, a story she had already done as a silent movie entitled Love (1927). According to a biography of Garbo, she was determined to do Anna Karenina because she did not like what she had heard about Dark Victory, and because she "had immersed herself in Anna Karenina and it was now too late to make an abrupt turnabout." Furthermore, a clause in Garbo's contract gave her the option to refuse to make a film if she disliked the script. See more »
When Anna arrives in Dolly's room, they hold hands, which then changes in the next shot. See more »
Levin thinks we are parasitic idlers simply because we don't plow the fields.
An excellent statement of my position.
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Anna Karenina seems to have been tailor-made for Greta Garbo to play. Ms. Garbo was always cast in these types of role that demanded a great woman's presence. Leo Tolstoy's magnificent novel is adapted with the emphasis on Anna, because the massive book, it probably took a lot of skill to adapt it for the screen.
Clarence Brown, the director, was a man who was instrumental in guiding Ms. Garbo's American career in the movies. First, as a cinematographer, then as a director, Mr. Brown, obviously, got the respect and confidence of his star, as it's clearly shown in the film.
Technically, this was a film that was well crafted. In fact, after seventy years it still has a crisp look, as shown in the great DVD version of the film. The great cinematography by William Daniels shows why this genius behind the camera was one of the best in the business. The splendor of the sets and the art direction by Cedric Gibbons added a rich texture to what comes out on the screen.
As Anna, Ms. Garbo does excellent work. As a matter of fact, her style shows some restraint as she doesn't go into those large gestures to punctuate a situation on a scene. The only thing that detracts from the film is Frederic March's Vronsky. While he was one of the best actors of his time, in here he is not as effective as in the rest of his screen work. In fact, their romance could have played differently had another actor been cast as the man who conquers Anna's heart.
The other principal roles are well played by a wonderful company that MGM put together to support the star. Basil Rathbone is perfect as Karenin, the dark figure in the novel. Freddie Bartholomew, the child actor, has some lovely moments when he is seen playing opposite Ms. Garbo. In fact, those scenes show well Anna's tender side, something that is in sharp contrast with what she ends up doing, abandoning this lovely child. Reginald Owen, one of the best character actors of the era is seen as Stiva with great charm. Maureen O'Sullivan is Kitty.
"Anna Karenina" is a film that will live forever because the combination of Greta Garbo's appeal and the great director Clarence Brown that understood her so well.
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