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 »
During the drinking game, while under the table, the officer who is in front of Vronsky disappears. 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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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 »
"Anna Karenina" is based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy. I have not read Tolstoy's novel, but it is apparent from the thickness of the novel and the length of this film that this adaptation is heavily abridged. The story is simple; Anna Karenina is married to Karenin but has an affair with Vronsky.
The film features impressive sets and costumes. There are depictions of upper-class Russian rituals such as drinking games, dancing and a stage production. These are for the most part well-done, although the stage production seemed drawn out.
Greta Garbo as Anna, Fredric March as Vronsky and Basil Rathbone as Karenin lead the cast. It is an impressive roster, and all of them give solid performances, especially Rathbone and Garbo, but the characters they played were not exceptionally interesting. Freddie Bartholomew is notable as Sergei, Anna's astute young scientist of a child that has some touching scenes with Garbo.
This film is watchable and has a number of decent scenes, but never gains much momentum beyond a basic love story. Sadly I didn't form any strong attachments to the characters such that I was even indifferent to Anna's final fate at the end of the story. I'm not sure how other adaptations of the novel compare, but this one is somewhat flat despite having three accomplished performers in the lead parts.
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