Anna Karenina (1948 film)

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Anna Karenina
AnnaKarenina Leigh.jpeg
Original Spanish film poster
Directed by Julien Duvivier
Produced by Alexander Korda
Written by Julien Duvivier
Jean Anouilh
Guy Morgan
Leo Tolstoy (novel)
Starring Vivien Leigh
Ralph Richardson
Kieron Moore
Sally Ann Howes
Martita Hunt
Music by Constant Lambert
Cinematography Henri Alekan
Edited by Russell Lloyd
Distributed by British Lion Films & London Films (United Kingdom)
20th Century Fox (United States)
Release dates 22 January 1948 (1948-01-22)
Running time 139 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Italian
Budget £700,000[1][2]
Box office ₤149,414 (UK)[3]

Anna Karenina [p] (also known within the UK as Tolstoy's Anna Karenina) is a 1948 British film based on the 19th century novel, Anna Karenina, by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

The film was directed by Julien Duvivier, and starred Vivien Leigh in the title role. It was produced by Alexander Korda for his company, London Films, and distributed in the United States by 20th Century Fox. The screenplay was by Jean Anouilh, Julien Duvivier and Guy Morgan, music by Constant Lambert, decors by André Andrejew and deep focus cinematography by Henri Alekan.

Plot[edit]

Anna Karenina (Vivien Leigh) is married to Alexei Karenin (Ralph Richardson), a cold politician more interested in his career than in satisfying the emotional needs of his wife. Called back to Moscow by her brother Stefan Oblonsky (Hugh Dempster), a reprobate who has cheated on his trusting wife Dolly (Mary Kerridge) for the last time, Anna meets Countess Vronsky (Helen Haye) on the night train. They discuss their sons, with the Countess showing Anna a picture of her son, Count Vronsky (Kieron Moore).

Vronsky shows up at the train to meet his mother, and is instantly infatuated with Anna. He boldly makes his interest known to her, which Anna demurely pushes away – but not emphatically so. At a fancy ball, Vronsky continues to pursue the married Anna, much to the delight of the gossiping socialites. But poor Kitty Scherbatsky (Sally Ann Howes), who is smitten with Vronsky, is humiliated by his behavior and leaves the ball – much to the distress of Konstantin Levin (Niall MacGinnis), a suitor of Kitty's who was rejected by her in favor of Vronsky. However, after a change of heart, Kitty marries Levin.

Boldly following Anna back to St. Petersburg, Vronsky makes it known to society that he is the consort of Anna – a notion she does nothing to stop. Soon, society is whispering about the affair, and it's only a matter of time before Alexei learns of the relationship. More worried about his social and political position than his wife's passion, he orders her to break off with Vronsky or risk losing her son. She tries, but cannot tear herself away from Vronsky.

Leaving Alexei, Anna becomes pregnant with Vronsky's child. Almost dying in childbirth (the child is stillborn), Anna begs Alexei for forgiveness, which he coldly grants. Alexei, being magnanimous, allows Vronsky the notion that he may visit Anna if she calls for him. Embarrassed by the scandal, Vronsky tries to kill himself, but fails.

Anna tries again to live with Alexei, but cannot get Vronsky out of her head. She leaves Alexei for good, abandoning her child to live in Italy with Vronsky. But her doubts over Vronsky's feelings for her grow, and she eventually pushes him away. Realizing that she has lost everything, Anna walks the train tracks, and commits suicide by letting the train hit her.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Michael Redgrave was to play the male lead but elected to accept a Hollywood offer instead.[4]

Filming started on April 15, 1947.[5]

Reception[edit]

The film was picketed at some cinemas in the USA by members of the anti-British organisation, the Sons of Liberty.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE STARRY WAY.". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 21 February 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Karol Kulik, Alexander Korda: The Man Who Could Work Miracles, Virgin 1990 p 303
  3. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000
  4. ^ "BRITISH ACTOR WILL RETURN HOME.". Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 10 July 1947. p. 8. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "VIVIEN LEIGH FOB TOLSTOY FILM.". Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 11 April 1947. p. 6. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "FILM PICKETING.". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) (Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia). 23 August 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 

External links[edit]