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 »
During the drinking game, while under the table, the officer who is in front of Vronsky disappears. See more »
You know, darling, men like Stiva aren't really conscience of deception at all. They put their wives and homes in one compartment and these other women in another. It's strange; but, I know it to be true.
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Despite all previous versions being intact the 2006 UK Warner DVD was cut by 7 secs by the BBFC to remove footage of horse-falls. See more »
For a film that tries to pack a 900 page novel into 95 minutes, Clarence Brown's rendition of Tolstoy's masterpiece is quite impressive. Naturally, there are aspects of the story that are forced aside- too little time is spent on the relationship between Kitty and Levin (who was a self-portrait of Tolstoy)- but Brown manages to portray the affair between Anna and Vronsky with plenty of depth and emotion.
Greta Garbo, one of the greatest actresses of the 30's, is stunning in the lead. Frederic March is a little flat as Vronsky, dressed in his military uniform in almost every scene, but manages to do well with the character nonetheless. Basil Rathbone's usual grimness suits Karenin perfectly. The production design is spectacular. Brown directs his cast so that they always stand out from the scenery, clearly visible amidst the decadence and imperial settings. The ballroom scenes, where characters dance gracefully while exchanging crucial dialogue, particularly impressed me.
A delight for Garbo fans, as well as anyone who likes costume pieces or literary adaptations.
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