Nana is a 1934 American Pre-Code film, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, released through United Artists, starring Anna Sten. and directed by Dorothy Arzner and George Fitzmaurice. This version ...
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Nana is a 1934 American Pre-Code film, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, released through United Artists, starring Anna Sten. and directed by Dorothy Arzner and George Fitzmaurice. This version of Émile Zola's heroine was to be the vehicle for Sten's triumph as Samuel Goldwyn's trained, groomed and heavily promoted answer to Greta Garbo. Despite the big investment, the publicity help from William Randolph Hearst, and a record-breaking opening week at Radio City Music Hall, Sten was beautiful but disappointing. Goldwyn's tutoring of Sten is mentioned in Cole Porter's 1934 song "Anything Goes" from the musical of the same name: "If Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction / Instruct Anna Sten in diction / Then Anna shows / Anything goes."
In 1860s Paris, beautiful escort Anna Sten (as Nana) falls in love with handsome lieutenant Phillips Holmes (as George Muffat). When Mr. Holmes' colonel brother Lionel Atwill (as Andre) finds out Ms. Sten is the mistress of elderly Richard Bennett (as Gaston Greiner), he forbids little brother marry the beautiful Sten, then falls for her himself. This watered-down adaptation of Emile Zola's naughty novel "Nana" was producer Samuel Goldwyn's attempt to create a new Greta Garbo - with a Marlene Dietrich song imitation thrown in for good measure. Alas, lightning did not strike up much action in theater cashiers...
Her MGM contract up, the elusive Garbo had "retired" to Sweden for several months during 1932-1933, creating the gap filled by various attempts to find a "New Garbo". Sten, who had already proved herself an accomplished and versatile actress, comes across as unable to handle the lead role. A good supporting cast, fine photography from Gregg Toland, and capable direction by Dorothy Arzner failed to create anything approaching Garbo or Dietrich. Ironically, Garbo's own "Camille" (1936) would later cover much of the territory attempted in "Nana", with Jessie Ralph (as Zoe) uttering almost identical lines.
***** Nana (2/1/34) Dorothy Arzner ~ Anna Sten, Phillips Holmes, Lionel Atwill, Richard Bennett
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