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Stefan and Dolly Oblonsky have had a little spat and Stefan has asked his sister, Anna Karenina, to come down to Moscow to help mend the rift. Anna's companion on the train from St. Petersburg is Countess Vronsky who is met at the Moscow station by her son. Col. Vronsky looks very dashing in his uniform and it's love at first sight when he looks at Anna and their eyes meet. Back in St. Petersburg they keep running into each other at parties. Since she has a husband and small son, they must be very discreet if they are going to see each other alone. Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Anna Karenina" is not Vivian Leigh's best work, but it is not bad either. In this movie, she plays an adulteress who is driven to suicide by guilt, loneliness, and the belief that her lover is about to leave her.
The viewer meets Anna when she arrives at her brother's house just in time to patch things up between him and his wife. Anna's brother has been caught kissing his children's' governess and his wife is about to leave him. Anna changes her sister-in-law's mind by telling her that men secretly despise their mistresses, and respect the wives they cheat on.
On her way back to Moscow, Anna sits on the train next to an older lady, and the two women start talking about their sons. When they arrive at their destination, the older lady is met by her son, Count Vronsky (who later becomes Anna's lover) and Anna is met by her husband, Alexei (who greets her coldly)
Following a series of encounters, Count Vronsky and Anna become lovers. Alexei soon finds out, and threatens to divorce Anna and take their son, Sergei with him. Anna is torn by her love for Sergei, and following a near fatal illness, promises Alexei that she will give up her lover forever. However, her love for Count Vronsky soon proves stronger than her love for her son, and Anna gives up her son to be with Vronsky.
After Vronsky and Anna begin living together, respectable people stop wanting to socialize with Anna, and she becomes desperate. Isolated from her former friends, Anna starts obsessing that Vronsky is at the point of leaving her. When he goes away for a few days, she throws herself in front of a train.
Although Count Vronsky and Anna have no chemistry, at least in the movie, there is at least a suggestion of passion (Vronsky tries to commit suicide after Anna resolves to stay with her husband for her son's sake). One is led to believe,therefore, that Anna's fears of abandonment by Vronsky are unfounded. In fact, Vronsky wants to marry Anna, but cannot because Alexei refuses to grant Anna a divorce.
The ultimate tragedy of "Anna Karenina" is that the heroine is the victim of a double standard, in which she must suffer for cheating on a husband who, to quote "Amy" from "At First Sight", has the emotional content of a soap dish. She cannot divorce Alexei without his permission, and she cannot live with a man who is not her husband without being scandalized.
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