- Clarence Brown
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Monday, January 27, 2003
Gorgeous adaptation of the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy, with amazing cast and production design. While the novel truly deepens in the customs of 19th century Russia, as well as the society in general, the film centers in the relationship of the lovers only, which is a necessary sacrifice due to its short running time compared to the overlength of the novel. However, the movie works incredibly, with the few bits of Russian tradition in banquets and balls real pleasant, plus absorbing drama and romance. Anna’s dilemma is transmitted intact to the viewer, as is the dead-end feeling she faces. Garbo expresses joy and sadness inimitably as expected. If her husky voice and secure manners sort of oppose the fragility of Tolstoy’s character, that doesn’t mean she plays the role wrong: instead, she makes it her own, making of such a classic tale a vehicle for herself, which works just fine.
March, Bartholomew and especially Rathbone bring great support. Maureen O’Sullivan, adorable as always, plays Kitty, the woman who loved Vronsky; she’s so lovely, that it’s nearly impossible to believe that Vronsky actually ignores her for another woman. The other suitor she has, Levin (Gyles Isham), is a character Tolstoy allegedly based on himself.
One of Garbo’s gems, highly recommendable.
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