Anna Karenina DVD
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Directed by Julien Duvivier
Produced in 1948
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Persistently undervalued alongside Greta Garbo's 1935 collaboration with Clarence Brown, Vivien Leigh and Julien Duviver's interpretation of Leo Tolstoy's harrowing study of passion and marital politics is long overdue re-evaluation.
Admittedly, the project did not run smoothly, with producer Alexander Korda hiring Guy Morgan to traditionalise an updated adaptation by French dramatist Jean Anouilh, while Laurence Olivier spurned the opportunity to play the dashing Count Vronsky. But while it's customary to decry inexperienced Irish actor Kieron Moore's bloodless display as the rake who lures Anna into adultery, the action takes on a very different aspect if one recognises that the core lies not in Anna's love for the socially ambitious wastrel or even for her young son Sergei (Patrick Skipworth), but in her bitter battles with her dour government minister husband (Ralph Richardson). Thus, instead of their vicious slanging matches seeming like a sideshow, they become the centrepiece of the story of a frustrated wife who takes a lover out of vengefulness rather than fervour. The shift in focus makes this an entirely different picture.
David Parkinson on 16th July 2012
Author of 193 reviews
Alexander Korda's screen adaptation of Tolstoy's tragic tale of a doomed love affair is here presented in an opulent interpretation in which tragedy, glamour and romance mix with high drama. Vivien Leigh takes the heroine's role.
Anna Karenina (Leigh) is asked to come to Moscow to help sort out her brother's marital problems. On the train from St. Petersburg she befriends the Countess Vronsky who is met at the station by her son Colonel Vronsky (Kieron Moore) for whom Anna immediately falls. After the two keep meeting at various parties, they start an affair - despite Anna being married with a son.
Length: 110 mins
Format: DVD B&W
Released: 3rd September 2012
Cat No: OPTD2392