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Russian exiles in Paris plot to collect ten million pounds from the Bank of England by grooming a destitute, suicidal girl to pose as heir to the Russian throne. While Bounin is coaching her he comes to believe she is really Anastasia. In the end the Empress must decide her claim. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the remains of the Romanov family were discovered at Ekaterinburg in 1991, only 9 of the 11 bodies were found. Only who was initially thought to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia and also her brother, Czarevich Alexei, still remained missing, further clouding the question of her fate. However, it was announced that the DNA and other forensic evidence from the remains determined that Anastasia was indeed among the 9 bodies that were unearthed from the pit in the forest outside of Ekaterinburg; and that the missing bodies were those of Alexei and one of his other sisters, the Grand Duchess Marie. After all examinations were completed, the remains of the nine individuals were transferred to St. Petersburg and ceremoniously interred at the Fortress Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The two remaining bodies were believed to be discovered in 2007 and are fairly certain to be those of the Czarevich Alexei and the Grand Duchess Marie. When all examinations are completed and the results are announced, those remains, too, will be transferred to St. Petersburg for burial with the other members of the family. See more »
Anatole Litvak's 1956 Anastasia was Ingrid Bergman's big comeback vehicle after being cast into the moral void for running off with Roberto Rossellini, but it's Helen Hayes' performance that really gives the film its heart and its best scenes. Now that the story of Anna Anderson's claim to the title and inheritance of Tsar Nicholas' daughter has been completely debunked by DNA tests it's more a bit of wish-fulfilment than a compelling mystery, and one that doesn't go out of its way to disguise its theatrical origins - despite the lavish CinemaScope lensing, it rarely strays outdoors unless it's absolutely necessary for a brief establishing shot. Yul Brynner and Akim Tamiroff do their party pieces (stern precision and comically nervous dishonesty) and Bergman fares much better doing imperious than impoverished in a classy production that goes down smoothly but doesn't linger long in the memory.
Fox's R1 DVD suffers from an atrocious remix in the opening reel where the music and effects track are amplified while the dialogue is reduced to a barely audible whisper even at full volume, a problem that doesn't affect the rest of the film but is irritating as hell while it lasts.
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