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With: Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew, Maureen O'Sullivan, May Robson, Basil Rathbone, Reginald Owen, Phoebe Foster, Reginald Denny, Gyles Isham, Joan Marsh, Ethel Griffies, Harry Beresford, Sarah Padden, Cora Sue Collins
Written by: S.N. Behrman, Clemence Dane, Salka Viertel, based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy
Directed by: Clarence Brown
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 93
Date: 08/30/1935

Anna Karenina (1935)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Tolstoy Story

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This lavish, MGM production surely excises some of the important details from Leo Tolstoy's novel, but makes up for it with the luminous presence of Greta Garbo and some gorgeous cinematography.

Garbo plays Anna, who meets Count Vronsky (Fredric March) on a trip to Moscow. She's there to see her cheating brother Stiva (Reginald Owen) and to help reconcile him with his wife. Unfortunately, the count has already fallen madly in love with Anna, and she with him, despite the fact that she has a husband and child waiting for her back in St. Petersburg.

Soon it becomes apparent that their love is too strong to ignore, and Anna leaves her snooty, upright husband Karenin (Basil Rathbone) to be with her new love. Sadly, Karenin will not grant a divorce, and will no longer allow Anna to see her son Sergei (Freddie Bartholomew). At the same time, the Count has jeopardized his military career to be with Anna.

It's all brilliantly, tragically romantic -- typical Garbo. Clarence Brown may not have been the world's greatest director, and to be sure, hardly any of the other actors seem to click into place here, but he sure knew what to do with his beautiful star.

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